|About the author Paul Brocklehurst. After completing his degree in Speech Therapy at De Montfort University, Leicester (England), Paul then went on to specialize in psycholinguistics and spent four years researching potential mechanisms behind stuttering at the University of Edinburgh, where he completed his MSc. and PhD. In recent years Paul has taught final year speech therapy students, published academic papers on stuttering, given presentations at major clinical conferences internationally, and run workshops and adult education courses for people who stutter. Paul is himself a stutterer, and has been an active member of the self-help movement for many years. He currently works as director of the Stammering Self-Empowerment Programme C.I.C. which maintains a free online course for people who stutter. In addition to his work with stuttering, Paul is a keen practitioner of mindfulness/ meditation. Originally trained in Zen, over the years he has helped set up and run a number of (non-aligned) meditation groups.|
The hidden strengths of people who stammer
Throughout my childhood and adolescence, if someone had asked me what impact stammering had had on me and the people around me, my response would have been entirely negative. I would have focussed on how much it interfered with my ability to communicate and to interact socially, how it was preventing me from fulfilling my potential, and also on how difficult and worrying it must have been for my parents and family.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve found myself increasingly able to contemplate the possibility that at least some of my earlier experiences of stammering may actually have been beneficial, both to me and also to the people around me.
Anyway, in 2014, motivated by my own experiences, I decided to conduct a small survey asking other people who stammer to describe any positive impacts that stammering has had on their lives and on the lives of others. My hope was that the survey might shed some light on a question that has been at the back of my mind for some time, which is… Is stammering associated with any positive attributes? And, do people who stammer have any special qualities or strengths?
This slideshow summarises the results.
Note that the presentation contains an essential audio components on each slide which will only play if the presentation is downloaded, or by accessing the complete presentation, which contains additional background information, at this link.
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