Good evening, everyone.
My name is Rebecca, and I’m a licensed speech-language pathologist.
I’d like to have a conversation about stuttering.
Before I do, please set down any inclination to make jokes about this population.
Now that we’ve taken care of that, here it goes.
People who stutter are not cognitively impaired.
Their disability is not caused by nervousness.
They do not have dementia.
They do not have low IQs.
They are not something to “fix.”
People who stutter do not need you to slow down your rate of speech for them to understand you.
Stuttering is not a psychological disorder.
A person who stutters is not dumb.
They are not incompetent.
They are teachers.
They are therapists.
They are the next President of the United States.
So what is stuttering?
Stuttering is a fluency disorder characterized by difficulty with the flow of speech.
It often begins between the ages of two and six.
It is common for young children to go through a period of dysfluencies lasting less than six months.
Family history, gender, and age at which stuttering begins are predictors of lifelong stuttering.
Stuttering often runs in families.
Boys are more likely to stutter than girls.
People who begin to stutter after the age of three and a half are more likely to stutter throughout their lives.
There are different types of stuttering:
>> Part-word repetitions: “I w-w-w-want an apple.”
>> One-syllable word repetitions: “Go-go-go home.”
>> Prolonged sounds: “Ssssssssarah is my friend.”
>> Blocks or stops: “I want a (pause) dog.”
You may also notice secondary behaviors in people who stutter as they attempt to get through their disfluencies, such as eye blinking and head nodding.
If you or someone you know is struggling with stuttering, please consider seeking support from a speech-language pathologist.
If you notice someone making jokes or teasing an individual who stutters about their stuttering, please stand up for them.
Stuttering is a complex disorder that may be affected by attitudes and feelings.
Please support this population by waiting for them to finish their sentence, not making jokes, and not questioning their intelligence.
It is a serious disorder that affects roughly one percent of individuals.
Hold this population with care and support them as they attempt to have a voice in a society that continues to perpetuate a misconception.
It takes guts to be a person who stutters and engage in this world.
It also takes guts to be a person who stutters and run for President of the United States.
No matter your political beliefs, be kind.
Compassion for this population is long overdue.
Additionally, please consider watching “The King’s Speech.”
Check out this clip: