How To Talk To A Person Who Stutters

ninagAbout the author: Nina G is a stand-up comedian, disability activist, author, and speaker. She brings her humor to help people confront and understand social justice issues such as disability, diversity, and equity.  When she isn’t performing at comedy clubs like the San Francisco Punchline or the Laugh Factory, she is playing colleges, presenting as a keynote speaker, and training professionals!  Nina is part of the comedy troupe The Comedians with Disabilities Act, which brings laughter and awareness to audiences across the country. She is the author of a children’s book Once Upon An Accommodation: A Book About Learning Disabilities that helps children and adults advocate for their rights as persons with disabilities.  Nina’s one person show, Going Beyond Inspirational, a comical exploration about growing up with Learning and Speech Disabilities, debuted in 2015.  Most recently she was part of the first ever comedy compilation of comedians with disabilities, Disabled Comedy Only.

This video presents basic, but humorous information about stuttering from stand up comedian Nina G.  Learn some of the Do’s and Don’ts or share with others to help educate them about how to respond to a person who stutters.  Video is closed captioned.

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Comments

How To Talk To A Person Who Stutters — 78 Comments

    • Thanks Mike! Couldn’t have done with without all work and leadership in our community!

  1. Hi, Nina. Your How to Talk to a Person Who Stutter Video is amazing. I really enjoyed listening to it, and will surely share it with my teen clients. The only question I have is about the easy-relaxed speech. In making fun of the technique, are you saying to listeners to not engage in it?
    I do find this technique very helpful for people who stutter; of course, a responsible approach needs to consider the cognitive/emotional components as well.

    Regarding the read aloud, I’m glad you brought that up, b/c the Ad Hoc on oral reading fluency disorder just completed a three-year project on this topic.
    See: http://isad.isastutter.org/isad-2015/papers-presented-by-2015/research-therapy-and-support/read-fast-and-dont-stutter/

    • Thank you so much Lourdes for checking out my video. If you are talking about the slow prolonged talking, I think that it has been helpful for me, but I see a different issue, which is why I use it as an example. The assumption of most people who are not familiar with stuttering is that people who do stutter should strive for fluency. I find that this is an assumpttion that I constantly face which is why I address it in presentations like this talk here. If I did focus on fluency I would have to talk that way, but that does not feel authentic to who I am and my natural ways of communicating. I think that speech techniques are wonderful but users of the techniques need to have them match to their natural ways of speaking. I have a learning disability in addition to stuttering so language processing is very deliberate for me. I focus primarily on what I am going to say and on communication so fluency takes the back seat. I always tell my audiences that my focus is to educate my listener (which is why I created these magnets and pins: http://www.zazzle.com/nina_g_comedian). I want them to wait and to suspend their fluency norms to accommodate the diversity of speech. I hope that answers your question. Please let me know if it does not.

      I look forward to reading your paper!

      • Nina, thanks for explaining your situation and point of view of the slow prolonged talking. I did show the your video to my High Schools students who stutter and they loved it, and more importantly they connected with every point you made. They were laughing and enjoying the post video discussion on the various issues. Thanks again.

  2. I think humor is one of the best ways to help people understand certain issues that might be uncomfortable to discuss through a serious conversation. Stuttering is definitely a topic that might make people feel uncomfortable, but discussing this through comedy might take away the “edge” that is causing the uneasiness. I love that your first “don’t” was “the face.” Being a graduate student in the SLP program we see clients who stutter all the time and academically we learn these “do’s” and “don’ts” in a much more serious way. However, when someone that I’m speaking to stutters, the first thing that passes through my mind is not to have a reaction that makes me appear impatient. Although having this thought and forcibly trying not to make any sort of “face” probably makes me feel more awkward than the person who stutters, I thought it was funny that this was your first “don’t.”

    In school we are taught to pseudostutter with our clients. I see the advantages of creating an environment in which the person who stutters doesn’t feel like an outcast, but can the act of pseudostuttering also be considered offensive to people who stutter? I was wondering what your perspective is on this.

    • Thanks for your comment Jaime! I think that the most important part about becoming comfortable with people with any kind of disabilities is exposure! Check out your local NSA groups or even better attend a conference. Your “face” will go away because you will just get comfortable. Exposure from peers is some of the best training you can get!

      Thank you for asking about the pseudostuttering. That is really interesting question. What the research says on Disability simulations for people with apparent physical disabilities, attitudes don’t change and in fact they intensify. That is when they are being done as disability awareness purposes. I know that it doesn’t necessarily have the same purpose in training SLPs. My concern would be that people feel bad for us as people who stutter and it could foster pity. I don’t want pity, I want access, inclusion and the freedom to talk the way I naturally. So I guess I don’t find the exercise offensive but the meaning behind it could be if it were to foster “of, the poor thing” kind of mentality. I hope that makes sense!! Thanks again for commenting!

  3. I really enjoyed this video and the different do’s and don’t you touched upon! I am a current graduate student studying Speech-Language Pathology so this was a really great resource for me to learn more about stuttering from an actual person who stutters. We learn a lot about it, but rarely get the opportunity to hear from a person who stutters in their opinion!
    Something I found particularly interesting and intriguing about your video is how you referred to your stutter as a disability. I think it is very commendable of you to admit loud and proud about having a disability. You are both hilarious and extremely courageous!
    Is it common in your experience with other people who stutter to label themselves as having a disability? I thought that PWS might refrain from putting the “disability” label on their stutter and rather try to explain and label it more as a “speech problem” or “speech impediment”?

    Thanks so much for sharing this video and I hope to hear back from you!
    Carly

    • Thank you so much for your comment Carly. I am sorry to hear that students being trained don’t always get to hear from the perspective of a person who stutters. It is vital that SLPs learn and interact directly from people with specch based disabilities. Research on attitude change indicates that there is positive results when people interact with peers who have disabilities. Hopefully this is a perspective that you can incorporate into your training or when you begin to train others.

      Regarding identifying as a person with a disability, and how other people who stutter identify, there is a great conversation about this topic in Pam Mertz’ “The Disability Questions” which is a paper listed. This is very controversial. Although I strongly identify, I am only one person. To me Disability identity is much like other cultural identities. Some people identify with their culture and describe that identity in different ways compared to someone who I might think is part of the same culture. People should have a choice in that identity and I think it is important for them to develop or not develop this identity. My advice to professionals working with people who stutter or have disbilities is to ask, “how do you identify?” Even for people in the stuttering community you have people who identify as stutterers and others who say they are a PERSON who stutters.

      For me personally, I also have a learning disability and my dad is hard of hearing as well as having a maternal grandmother who had a disability. I see Disability as a culture and a political identity. Some pretty amazing people have fought for my rights to stutter and not be discriminated against. These were people who used wheelchairs like Ed Roberts and Judy Heuman. I see myself as part of this family. I talk about this on my blog if you are interested in reading more. It is on WordPress under NinaGcomedian.

  4. Nina, thank you for your post! I loved this video! The first part about “the face” was really funny and also one of things I think is often overlooked as a typical “don’t.”

    It was really interesting that you mentioned how you were taught to speak slowly, but that you would much rather stutter! I am currently in graduate school for speech pathology and we’ve learned that slow, easy speech is an effective fluency-generating technique, but we’ve also related that strategy to speech naturalness. I think the question is “How slow is too slow?” It may be effective in decreasing disfluencies, but it may not result in desirable speech. It was great to hear a personal perspective of this topic and I can definitely understand why you would rather stutter.

    I also really appreciat your mentioning of pity in your previous comment. I have hearing loss in both ears and I wear hearing aids so I can definitely relate to this. My disability is a non-appearance disability so people do not treat me differently or make fun of me until I say, “What?” too many times or respond in a way that doesn’t make any sense (because I misheard what they said). I feel like I’m either judged as stupid or people feel bad for me and act overly nice to me. As you said, I do not want PITY. I just want to be UNDERSTOOD. It is really hard for people to find a balance between mistakenly being inconsiderate and being overly nice. I think the key to finding a balance, as you said, (with any disability) is exposure and education.

    • Thanks for the comment, especially disclosing your own disability. I wanted to share with you a story about being raised by a father who is hard of hearing and the impact that it had on me as a person who stutters: http://themighty.com/2015/06/the-moment-my-dad-taught-me-not-to-be-ashamed-of-my-disability/. I think you can share a lot with your future clients about yourself and how you have dealt with having a disability that some might say impacts communication.

      I think it is important that we remember that fluency techniques are just that–for fluency. Fluency is incredibly difficult to achieve which is why SLPs don’t always like to work with us PWS. I like that many newer therapies that have collaborated with the stuttering community look at communication as the main focus. For me personally, I try to communicate well and effectively. Part of that is educating my environment on how I want them to react to me. How slow is too slow depends on the individual and if they feel that intervention is a good fit for them.

      • Thank you! I loved this story too! I think bluntly telling someone how to treat you is a great way to address the elephant in the room and add humor! I can’t assume that people can read my mind to know how I want them to respond to my hearing loss. When I tell people I have hearing loss I’m going to try to make a joke by saying, “…So that just means you’ll have to yell at me every once and a while!”

  5. Nina – I respect your work and advocacy so much. It is so great to see you participating so heavily in this year’s conference. You’re truly making a difference. In reading another comment and your response, I have to agree that it is a real shame when future clinicians don’t get the opportunity to work with people who stutter to really learn from the “experts.” Your “tell it like it is” videos do so much to educate others who are in real need of educating. What would you say is the number one take away that you wish SLP students to learn from your video? – Pam

    • Thank you so much for the comment and question. I think the one thing that I would want an SLP, or anyone in the helping profession to know, is that the people you help should be seen as partners in the theraputic process. They need to be treated like peers and not pitied. The best way to untrain yourself around attitudes toward people who stutter and how to increase your comfort is to have interactions with these individuals as PEERS. This is why attending events like the NSA conference is so important.

      What do you think is one of the most important things you want SLPs to know Pam?

  6. Hi Nina,
    Your video was informative and refreshing! I also enjoyed watching the videos on your website. It was helpful to learn about the types of behaviors and words that can be harmful or hindering when communicating with a person who stutters. I love comedy, and I think it is a great way to change people’s attitudes toward neurodiversity and disabilities. What do you think are the best ways for a SLP student to gain exposure and advocate for PWS?

    • Thank you so much for asking about advocacy Meena. I see advocacy for an SLP in two general ways. One is advocating in the lives of the person who stutters (or whatever you are seeing them for). This might mean talking to a teacher who isn’t allowing for accommodations, a parent who needs education about stuttering or in an IEP. Then there are larger more political ways you can advocate or become more of an activist. This can be anything from the laws that impact children receiving special education services, images of people who stutter in the media, or helping communities to have a better understanding of stuttering. I don’t want to say—THIS IS HOW YOU SHOULD BE AN ADVOCATE.Everyone has their own style and interests and it should really come from your heart (unless it is part of your job as a SLP in the schools-then you have to!). I chose comedy and humor to be the way that I interact with activism. It fits me well. Everyone needs to find their own path and I would love to hear what people are doing to be allies :-).

  7. Hiya!
    The way you combine humour and important information in this video is brilliant!
    I am a trainee speech therapist and I loved watching this video because I think it is so important that everyone should be educated on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of speaking to people who stutter! I also found it really valuable reading one of your responding comments about advice for speech therapists by treating them as partners and peers, as that is definitely something that I want to portray when I hopefully become a qualified speech therapist. I want all my clients to feel comfortable!
    Thank you for this video!

  8. Hi Nina, I just want to thank you for your outlook on stuttering. This video allowed me to note some ways to keep in mind when talking to someone who stutters. I did a pseudostuttering project for my fluency class where we were encouraged to stutter in public and note reactions, needless to say I definitely got “The Face” look. I just wanted to say thank you for putting yourself out there and giving guidelines to people and how to react to make a potentially uncomfortable situation more comfortable.

    • Thank you so much for your comments Kayla. I can’t believe you saw THE FACE after just a short time being a PWS! Thanks for the work you do and will being doing with our community!

  9. Hi Nina,
    I am so glad I clicked on your video! As a graduate student studying to be an SLP, I’ve learned that one incredibly important aspect of an SLP’s job is gaining an understanding of how our client’s view their language or communication disability. As I was watching your video, you mentioned how the self acceptance piece is extremely important, and how “a lot of us choose to accept our disability.” I agree that self-acceptance is important and I want to be able to foster an environment of self-acceptance for my future clients. Do you have any ideas or advice on how an SLP could create that environment, and advocate for self-acceptance? I would love to hear your perspective. Could you put into words how you learned self-acceptance, and has your self-acceptance evolved over the years? Thank you so much for your time and your shared experience. Your video was very thought provoking!
    Sincerely,
    Heather

    • Hello Heather: Thank you for your comments. Under my other paper “Stuttering on my own terms” this same question came up. This is what I wrote there….
      “In terms of a helpful technique to accept my stuttering? Great question! The best technique an SLP or other helping professional can do to encourage self-acceptance is to accept that individual and help them find community. The technique for self-acceptance came when I was in high school and I saw am advertisement for the National Stuttering Project (now NSA). Through meeting my community I saw that fluency was not the goal I wanted but a freedom to live my life and not be constricted by the expectations of others and their ideas of normalcy.”

      Does that make sense? Please let me know if you have more questions!

      • Nina, thank you! Your reply does make sense. I just checked the NSA website and I think it’s fantastic that “If you stutter, you’re not alone” is right there on the home page, because that emphasizes exactly what you are saying about finding a community. And that really can be applied to any person, regardless of disability. I really appreciate your candidness, and I hope that in the future I can help PWS find their community using your words of guidance. One more quick question: you said you found self-acceptance in high school by seeing an ad for the NSA. Did you have access to other resources about stuttering to help with self-acceptance prior to that, like in elementary or middle school or through your speech therapists?
        Again, thank you for providing me with your perspective and experiences! I truly appreciate it. -Heather

  10. What a fantastic video Nina!
    I really enjoyed watching, very informative. I especially enjoyed the aspects you mentioned about asking a PWS about speaking/reading aloud within a work environment and how you explained people should feel comfortable in all environments.
    This video truly helps to raise awareness and highlights self-acceptance, which I believe could be significant message for other PWS, though it would be interesting to know how you got to that point?

    Thank you for a great watch.

    • Hi Sophie: Thanks for the question! Getting there wasn’t easy! Finding community was a big part of it along with some pretty good parenting from my parents who saw disability as normal (because it was for them). Check out the comments here and on “Stuttering on my own terms” for more on all that. Thanks for checking out my paper!

  11. Hello! Thank you for your comment. Great minds think alike because you and Heather above asked the same question. Please see my comment ^^^^ above. And let me know if you have any other questions!

  12. I enjoyed watching your video. As a speech and language therapy student I found myself really taking on board the advice you were giving.

    Alice

  13. Great advice from this video, and it is wonderful that you share it in a humorous and relatable way. I have a friend who stutters and would agree with everything you have said. I have learned a lot from him in how to engage with people who stutter, so I think it is great that many more people will understand this topic from this video.

    • Thanks Megan! Please feel free to share the video, it lives on Youtube. I appreciate your comment.

  14. Nina,

    Thanks for the video Nina. It was a good reminder to me of how important it is to educate others about how to interact with people who stutter or have any other disability. As a future school SLP I’d like to teach the children in the school how to better interact with people that are different than them. If we can teach them while they’re young, then maybe adults who have disabilities will see less of “the face.”

    • YES! Teaching them early would so help with the face! As well as getting jobs, dates, friends, etc!! Just like with multicultural education, the more we can address all diversity in the classroom we will be able make better citizens and a more accessible world for everyone. Thanks for the comments and the work you do!

  15. I loved watching your video! Just a question for you…your self-acceptance is very obvious but what kind of advice or suggestions would you give to someone who is having more difficulty with their own self-acceptance?

    Thanks! Sarah

    • I think all of our self-acceptance is as bumpy as our speech at times, I know mine is :-). The biggest thing for me as been being around other people who stutter. If I don’t accept them as my friends, professionals, possible partners then how will I accept myself. Luckily there is a community of people who reflect my experience and who I have access to.

  16. As a graduate student of speech-language pathology, I enjoyed your presentation very much! It answered many questions I have regarding how to interact with PWS. Thank you!
    In general, your presentation seemed to be directed to interacting with the adult population of PWS but most of your ideas could definitely be applied to working with children who stutter. Do you have any additional recommendations of do’s or don’ts from your personal experiences that would be helpful when working with young children?

    • That is a great question Cheryl! I think it would be really cool to ask kids what they think the differences are. I think a lot of the same things apply but there may be some additional considerations for teachers, couches and parents. My video was more interpersonal, but creating a culture of acceptance for all kids in a family, classroom or team are vital. I think adults need to model the behaviors they expect from the children they mentor. If you aren’t patient and interrupt the child who stutters, then how are kids suppose to be patient. I personally think the issues around bullying come from the adults not embracing the child who is bullied. As an educator I have totally backed students who are being bullied and said suggested in not so many words, “this student is MINE, you mess with him you mess with me.” This is a great topic. I think I might write on this! Look for it (probably a long time from now, LOL) on http://www.facebook.com/ninagcomedian. Thanks!

  17. Hi Nina,
    Thank you for sharing your do’s and don’ts! Because only 1% of adults stutter, I feel as though tips to make communication most effective are not given often. It is really great to be able learn from someone who has first-hand experience with stuttering. I found it interesting that all three of the “don’ts” could simply be a person’s failed attempt to relate/connect. For instance, so often people try to show empathy with their face, give helpful advice, or make light of a potentially awkward situation with jokes, but like you said, this is often counter-productive. It is important to remember that these are not effective communication strategies, because in many cases, I don’t think these people are trying to be rude, they just simply don’t know any better.

    I also think it is interesting that you preface a lot of conversations, especially formal interviews, by telling your conversational partner that you will stutter. Do most PWS tend to do this? I can see how it would make communication better overall, but I wonder if most people think ignoring it is a better strategy.

    Thanks again Nina!

  18. I am a graduate student studying to be an SLP. I thought this video was great! This could be a helpful resource for a client to show family members or friends who may be doing some of the things listed and be a way to bring up the topic indirectly. This would allow for family and friends to have somewhat of an understanding of how their reactions to stuttering can impact the person. Do you have any suggestions on other ways to show loved ones the impact that their reactions to stuttering can have?

    Thanks,
    Maddie

  19. Hi Nina! I am so glad I stopped to watch this video! As a graduate student in speech pathology, this video gave me some great perspective. First of all, I picked up on your comment about slow rate of speech and how you did not seem to be a huge fan of it. I read in a comment that you stated you could use that technique all of the time to have fluent speech, but that fluent speech was not your goal. I think that is something very important for SLPs to remember. As molded by our profession, SLPs have the mindset that we have to strive to “perfectly fix” every client’s disorder. However, not all of our clients want to be “perfectly fixed”. SLPs must realize and remember to ask their client what their goal of therapy is, and your comments really helped me to realize that! This is a great video to use to help family, friends, and others learn what to do and what not to do when talking to a PWS. It is a good resource to keep in mind! Once again, I really enjoyed the video!

  20. Hi Nina,

    Thanks for posting your video! I am so glad I watched it. It was very informative on the do’s and don’ts for communicating with people who stutter. You are an amazing public speaker, by the way! I wish I had your confidence and ability to public speak! I like how you mentioned “the look” in your video because I think it is a reaction many people have when they meet someone who stutters. I think this is a reflection on the lack of awareness in our society. People don’t know how to react so they usually come off as rude because they’ve never had an experience with someone who stutters. I also like how you refer to a stutter as a non-apparent disability. As a society, we need to, as you said, wait patiently and make certain communication accommodations for people who stutter.

    I hope more people watch this video and I hope our society becomes more aware and more accepting of stuttering.

    Thanks!
    Melissa

  21. Hi Nina,

    I really enjoyed watching your video! I think that using humor can be very valuable. It allows for a unique perspective and opens up minds! I especially appreciated your comments about the non-apparent nature of stuttering. I worked as an intern for the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance and spoke with one of the clients there about Traumatic Brain Injury being an “invisible” disability. He shared with me how hard the non-apparent nature of TBI made it for those around him (including his family) to empathize, understand, and interact with him. It makes total sense that the same idea can be directly applied to stuttering. Thank you for your insights.

    • Thank you for sharing Olivia. I also have learning disabilities and I see so many parallels. These commonalities will hopefully bring us together 🙂

  22. Hi Nina,

    I’m so glad I watched your video. As a future speech-language pathologist and the sister of someone with a severe stutter, I really respect the advice you gave and the way you lightened it up with humor. Since stuttering is so rare, many people do not have any experience communicating with people who stutter, which is why I think these “don’ts” happen! If more people were educated on stuttering, they would know how to react more appropriately, making the interaction more comfortable on both sides. This video could definitely be a first step in educating the friends and family of people who stutter, as well as the general public. Thank you for making and sharing this video!

    • Thank you! So glad that someone with personal experience with stuttering is going into the field 🙂

  23. Nina,

    Thank you for your video! I love that you use comedy to educate those about different disabilities because, as you know, talking about PWS and individuals with varying disabilities can often be heavy topics. I think you would be a great resource for young adolescents who may not have a role model or have someone that they can relate to. I consider myself someone who uses comedic relief in stressful or uncomfortable situations. Whether or not this makes the situation better, I am not 100% sure, but I would be willing to bet that it makes my conversational partner feel more at ease when I do!

    I loved that you said you would rather just stutter and be yourself than use certain strategies (like using a monotone voice to become more fluent). That is a great example of how much someone is willing to sacrifice in order to attain fluency. When you were younger and educated about different strategies, what was your opinion on them and did you actually implement any of them to your daily life outside of therapy? As a future speech-language pathologist, I am curious as to how often certain strategies that sound unnatural are actually generalized to other settings.

    ~Chelsea McKinnis

    • Thanks for the question Chelsea. When I was a kid I was so focused on fluency that I didn’t care what the strategy was. I really thought my only option was to be fluid and it wasn’t until I discovered the national stuttering project, later renamed the national stuttering association, did I realize that fluency wasn’t necessarily a goal. Instead Communication, self acceptance, and community came to the foreground.

  24. Nina,

    I really enjoyed watching your video. I picked your video post because I was interested in hearing the do’s and dont’s in a more light hearted manner. During your presentation you mentioned that you tell interviewers up front that you stutter and I I was wondering if you have always been as open to people such as employers, friends, family, peers, and teachers about your stuttering? Or if this openness has come after much time and self-acceptance.

  25. Hi Nina,

    Thanks for posting your video! I loved watching it! I like how you brought up creating a comfortable environment. It makes sense that in the work environment, a person should ask a PWS if they would feel comfortable reading aloud because often times, a PWS probably wouldn’t feel comfortable. This would allow the PWS to feel comfortable and possibly not be as shy to talk in front of others since the people around them were understanding. I am glad you brought this up because we should all be encouraged to make others feel comfortable no matter what environment we are in.

    I am a first year graduate and am taking a Fluency Disorders course this semester. I was asked to complete a pseudostuttering assignment. I pseudostuttered at a gas station, and when I began to pseudostutter, the cashier’s jaw dropped. This is probably “the face” expression you mentioned. To her, I probably looked like a “normal” person with no disability. Stuttering is definitely a non apparent disability, and I definitely surprised her. I agree with you that people need to not make “the face”. I think we need to spread more awareness on stuttering so people aren’t shocked when they hear a person stutter. I will say though that I did pseudostutter with two other people in the community, and they did not make “the face” or try to give me advice. Instead, they were very friendly and acted as if my speech was no different from theirs. This was encouraging for me since I was very nervous to pseudostutter in public.

    I love that you added humor with your example of being in a job interview. You accepted your stuttering and told the people in your interview that you do stutter and will have to wait patiently for your great answers. This is a great way to have people who stutter accept their fluency disorder and own it in an interview!

    Thanks again for sharing!
    Heidi

    • thanks for sharing your experience Heidi! That is how prevalent the FACE is, even someone after one day gets it!

  26. Hi Nina!
    I really enjoyed watching your video! I think humor is one of the best ways to get a message across to as many people as possible. You pointed out some good things to be aware of when listening to a PWS. For instance, not making “the face.” I think there has been a time when all of us have made “the face,” with no intention of offending anyone, but it is something we all need to be aware of and try not to do. I also think that you give great advice about not attempting to give advice about things to do to avoid stuttering because the PWS has most likely heard it before and is more knowledgeable about stuttering than the person they are talking to. Your humor is fantastic! Keep spreading your message!
    Kate

  27. I love your attitude and your willingness to just be yourself, disabilities and all. I have not been around many people who stutter, but as a speech-language pathology graduate student, I anticipate that changing very soon. I was particularly interested to hear how you feel about the strategy of significantly slowing your speech to help decrease stuttering. Are there any strategies you learned that you found useful?

    • For me finding the NSA was the biggest step toward becoming an effective communicator.

  28. Hi Nina,

    Thank you for posting this video. It is very informative and is great for advocacy. I am a graduate student going into Speech Language Pathology and it is great to re-fresh some of the do’s and don’ts of interacting with PWS. I just read an article for this conference called “The Disability Question” in which the author discussed how she doesn’t identify herself as being disabled as a PWS, but other people have referred to her as being disabled. I am curious what you’re take on this topic is. In your video you referred to stuttering as a disability. I noticed in another comment you referenced an article about accepting your disability. Do you think that a PWS who refers to stuttering as a disability is different from becoming accepting of stuttering in general? Is it easier for advocacy purposes to use the term “disability”? I appreciate your insight.

  29. Nina,
    I really liked the idea of listing the does and don’ts. Most people do not know how to react and end up committing some of those don’ts just because they are uncomfortable. Humor is a great way to get stuttering education to people and maybe start a chain of many more people committing the do’s.

  30. Hello Nina,

    Loved your video!!! I think humor and honesty together are so powerful, especially in combating misconceptions about fluency disorders. I wish everyone could see your video, in fact I am going to share it on my Facebook.

    I was wondering what you typically do when you encounter a situation where someone clearly does one of the “don’t” things that you mentioned? Do you use humor?

    • Thanks for sharing it! Check out http://www.ninagcomedian.com for more social media. I try to not let the don’t go by me–especially when they are rude. Sometimes though you just get overwhelemed and don’t say anything. Luckily I have comedy as an outlet 🙂

  31. You are so much fun to listen to, comedy and public speaking is very obviously your gift! I so appreciate your advocacy in educating others how to react to stuttering. I so wish it would come naturally for humans to react with understanding and patience, and to listen to what is being communicated without focusing on disfluencies, but unfortunately it is not natural for most. I loved your comment about “the face.” Your video is a reminder that people need to be aware of their body language reactions as well as their verbal reactions. You are doing great and inspiring work!

  32. Hi Nina,

    I really enjoyed watching your video! I am currently a graduate student studying Speech-Language Pathology and am taking a fluency class. While many of the things you brought up in your video may seem obvious to people like me or my classmates who are familiar with stuttering, it’s easy to forget that many people are in the dark when it comes to stuttering and have never even spoken to a person who stutters. I can see how a person such as this would be uncomfortable when they first speak to a person who stutters, and may do one of the “don’ts” that you talk about in your video, and this is a big reason why education is so important. I love that you used humor to convey some very important points – I feel as though this would help listeners to be more comfortable in a conversation with someone who stutters.
    Thanks so much for sharing your video!

    Sarah

  33. Nina,
    I especially appreciate that you give do’s and don’ts, maybe that seems basic, but in instructing I find that often we tend to focus on one or the other. Funny enough, on your first do, which was “be patient!” I have so many personal don’ts to help with that! I had the chance to participate in a fluency clinic this summer and before the clinic our mentor, Dr. Dan Hudock, shared helpful tips just as you have. I particularly remember “don’t finish people’s sentences” which for me correlates highly to being patient. Knowing this could be a source of frustration I began to become more aware of it personally and found myself constantly being impatient and finishing people’s sentences. I am still working on that skill! During our clinic we paired mental health counseling along with speech therapy and my mental health counterparts say that there is a term for this called the “rescue syndrome” -where we develop our “ph.d’s” and endless wells of useless wisdom, jump in and finish sentences to “help” and a lot of times achieve the opposite. Anyway, I think your message is applicable to everyone. We all need to be more patient and understanding and overall I think your message helps to prepare us. I’ve heard it said, “if you are prepared you shall not fear!” and sometimes it can be frightening to know how to appropriately interact/react when talking to a person who stutters, so thanks for the preparation!

  34. Nina,

    Thank you for such as honest and informative video. I am curious to know the extent of your experience with intervention of fluency disorders as a child, if any, and what aspects of it you felt were most helpful. Obviously, things evolve over time including the ways in which we as professionals approach stuttering. If you have kept up with the evolution of treatment of fluency disorders, what are your thoughts about the techniques used today? For example, the use fluency shaping vs stuttering modification techniques or a combination of both?

  35. Hi, Thanks for your video. I am a graduate SLP student working on my practicum with a couple of elementary children who stutter. I am trying to get as much information and resources under me so I can know how I can best help my clients. I liked how confident you seemed and that you mentioned you would rather stutter than talk slowly like a robot. This suggestion and others were great suggestions that I will take into consideration during therapy. There is a student that completely shut downs when his stuttering is even discussed. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

  36. Thank you for sharing this! I am a Speech & Language Therapy student and have just finished my first ever week on placement where I witnessed someone stammering in real life for the first time. I find it fascinating so thank you for this fun video with great advice built in!

  37. Hi Nina,
    Thank you for a great video. I think you made great points about things to do and not to do, while making light of them as well.
    I really liked your response to an earlier comment when you said, “The best technique an SLP or other helping professional can do to encourage self-acceptance is to accept the individual and help them find community.” I think this is so important, and you’re a great example to others in that you were able to find the NSA and relate to others, rather than feel isolated.