Hello friends and family. This week is a special week for me and more than 70 million people(people who stutter) of the world. It’s National Stuttering Awareness Week.
Started in 1988, and observed every 2nd week of May, National Stuttering Awareness Week is a way to enlighten people about stuttering, and give encouragement to those who do struggle with their speech. (National Stuttering Awareness Week (NSAW).
As you may or may not know, there are many famous individuals who do or have stuttered, such Marilyn Monroe(actress, singer); Ed Sheeran(singer); King George VI(politician); and Joe Biden(politician). It just goes to you, you’re not alone in you struggle. It is possible to live with and overcome disfluency. I have to keep believing that myself.
In honor of National Stuttering Awareness Week, I decided to make a short video of myself giving advice to stutterers and non-stutterers. I’ll be honest with you, I hate seeing myself talk on video. It took me several takes of recording before I was satisfied with something to share. Call me a perfectionist. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. To view this video, click here . Also, my apologies for the video be sideways.
Written below, is my advice which I shared with you all in September 2016. Fittingly it was my first blog post. To view the original post, click here .
1. Do not interrupt. At times when I’m speaking, especially within groups, I feel like an ant trying to be heard in a room full of grasshoppers. We stutterers want to say something too. Just give us a chance. My mother, bless her heart, has an unintentional habit of cutting across my words thinking that I’m finished. I have to inform her that I’m not quite done.
2. Do not guess. Unless you can read minds or are good at reading lips I would not recommend guessing. Not only could you be wrong, but you’re being rude. Unless the other person gives you an indication to finish the sentence, try to refrain from doing so.
3. Let a stutterer do what makes them feel comfortable. My methods for getting through a stutter are easy onset, taking a breath, tapping, and talking in my natural vocal range(baritone). My least favorite and last resort is singing what I want to say. To a good many, I am considered a decent singer. Personally, I’ve heard better voices than mine. Singing has and shall forever be one of my passions. As I use my God-given gift people are intrigued that I don’t stutter as I sing. However, I do not want to sing everything I want to say. I love musicals, but life is not like Grease; Wicked; Hairspray; or Phantom of the Opera. Unless you are going to sing with me to make me feel less silly, I suggest you stop asking me to make your life a musical. If I sang everything it would become a chore rather than a pleasure. Who wants to do chores all day?
4. Do not force. I have a friend who I recently took to a drive thru at a fast food place. If I ever go to a fast food place I usually order inside and type my order on my phone just in case I struggle. I was already upset with this friend for backseat driving, asking me to go outside my comfort zone was nearly pushing it. Interesting friend. Those few minutes of trying to get out my words to the person on the other line were the worse. Five minutes after my friend finally did the speaking herself, she explained she was just trying to help. Unless you are a parent speaking to your child or are somebody’s boss, you have no right to tell somebody what they will or will not do. If a stutterer feels forced into a speaking situation disfluency will surely happen.
5. Be patient. Refrain from saying phrases like “Spit it out” or “Hurry up”. Not everyone can talk as fast as auctioneers or rappers. Some, but not all stutterers tend to take their time when they speak to reduce their stutter. The benefit of being around someone who talks at a steady pace is that you can catch everything they are saying.
6. Treat them right. Just because someone isn’t quite as good at something as you are does not give you the right to belittle them or make them feel inferior. One of the worse things you can do to anyone is to take advantage of them, especially when that person is nothing but genuine to you. As a person who stutters, and a person in general, I hope to be treated well by those who I treat well.
I hope you all took something from this. To non-stutterers, I encourage you not to be afraid to speak to people such as me. To my fellow stutterers, I encourage you not to be afraid to speak to others. Every voice matters. You matter!
Thank you for reading, and God Bless. 😊😊😊
“National Stuttering Awareness Week (NSAW).” Welcome to National Stuttering Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2017.