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About Stuttering & Resources

What Stuttering Is

Stuttering is a lifelong communication difference characterized by involuntary interruptions in the forward flow of speech. that approximately 1 percent of the population experiences.  The most telling characteristic for the speaker is a feeling of sudden loss of control.  It can be physically taxing and for some, even painful. Stuttering usually begins in the preschool years but not always. Stuttering is ancient. It has been recorded in history for thousands of years, and it occurs in all languages and cultures.  The causes of stuttering have not yet been isolated but years of brain imaging studies indicate differences in brain function and structure of people who stutter. Years of research have isolated genes involved in the cause of stuttering, suggesting there is a genetic component, and we know the tendency to stutter can be inherited. On the surface, stuttering is a communication difference but below the surface, it can produce entrenched feelings of embarrassment, shame, isolation, anger, anxiety, and even depression.  Although people can sometimes learn methods to become more fluent through the use of "tools," it is impossible to use tools all of the time and the use of tools is effortful and exhausting for many-as can the act of stuttering itself. Using tools is a personal choice, however, if using tools, fluency, and avoidance of stuttering becomes the focus, increased negative feelings will occur when fluency is not obtained. There is no "cure" for stuttering. However, working on a level of acceptance, confidence, and empowerment so that stuttering does not control every single aspect of their lives, is a powerful tool for many. The most important and powerful tool however, is for individuals to find what they need as an individual, for their own individual journeys-physically and emotionally.

 

What Stuttering Is Not

Stuttering is not a psychological disorder; people who stutter do not stutter because they are nervous. Stuttering is not a disorder of impaired intellectual ability.  People who stutter are just as smart as people who don’t.  Most people who stutter will have some challenges with talking throughout their lives.  This has not stopped individuals who stutter from becoming teachers and attorneys and doctors and actors and so many other professions. You can be whatever you want to be. You can do whatever you want to do. 

Tips For Interacting With People Who Stutter By People Who Stutter:

 

Be patient and kind. 

If I get stuck, just ignore it. 

Be a good listener. What I have to say is important.

Don't tell me to "slow down" "just breathe" "think about what you want to say before you say it" or "just relax."

 

Please don't try and guess my thoughts. Let me say what I want to say and don't finish my sentences.

Don't mimic me or make a joke about my stuttering. No, I did not forget my name. 

Seeking More Information?

Here are links to other wonderful support networks:

National Stuttering Association

FRIENDS

Stuttering Foundation of America

The Stuttering Association for the Young 

World Stuttering Network

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