At just 9 years old, Saadiq Wicks started his foundation Lllet Me Finish. By age 13, he was on his way to becoming a published author. Now he’s working on a sequel to his book When Oliver Speaks while finishing his junior year of high school.

Saadiq has a passion for creativity and making music. He loves playing video games and collecting sneakers. He also has an interest in fashion and thinks about creating his own clothing line someday.

He has an older sister, Sydni who lives in Atlanta and has her own clothing company, which Saadiq sometimes models for. Saadiq’s family is very close, and his mom raised him and his sister to be entrepreneurs.

Do you remember when you first began to stutter?

No, I don’t remember when I first began to stutter. I don’t think I ever realized I stuttered. From what my mom says I was super quiet as a kid. I never really had to speak, so I never heard my own voice. Whenever I wanted or needed something my mom or my sister would just get it for me.

Does it run in your family? Who else stutters?

My mom stuttered when she was a kid and her uncle on her dad’s side of the family stuttered.

Did you seek treatment? Did it help?

Yes. I didn’t like it because it seemed too repetitive and the techniques didn’t work. I’m lucky enough that when I feel like I need to be in therapy I can call my friend Uri Schneider (he’s a speech therapist from Long Island) and skype with him.

Tell us about your experience with stuttering as a child.

I hear a lot of stories and have a lot of friends whose experiences with stuttering were horrible. I’m fortunate enough that I was bullied only once. That one-time turned out to be the biggest opportunity for me to make a change in the way people think about stuttering and I was able to raise awareness. I created my nonprofit Lllet Me Finish.

How is your stuttering today? What do you do to control or manage it, if anything?

My stuttering at times is a challenge. There are still times when I don’t feel like speaking because it’s so much work. But I just push through. When it gets really bad, because sometimes it does, I may have to ask my mom to talk for me. Like to order my food at a restaurant. Or I might have to let my mom finish my sentence. I don’t do anything to control it though. I don’t know if I can sometimes. It’s a free spirit.

What are the biggest challenges stuttering has presented to you?

Talking every day. Sometimes it’s exhausting. I almost wish everyone at some point could experience it, just so they know how it feels. Maybe it would help change the perception of people who stutter.

Based upon your experiences, what would you like to tell children who stutter?

I would tell children who stutter that their voice matters. That we (the world) look forward to hearing everything they want to say. And, they shouldn’t let their stutter prevent them from allowing the world or themselves to hear their own voice.

Posted Feb. 24, 2019

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