Helping our World Understand Stuttering Through Art – A Poem (Taro Alexander, Scott Palasik)

About the Authors:

Taro Alexander is a father, husband, and a person who stutters.  Taro is the Founder & President of SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young.
Scott Palasik is a father, a husband, a musician and a novelist. He is also a person who stutters and works as a professor at the University of Akron in Speech – Language Pathology and has been a licensed Speech Language Pathologist for over 15 years. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and supervises graduate students in clinical education along with presenting on Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). He dares to dream of a day when he completely understands his own stuttering, so he can explain what it means to other people who stutter and to those who do not stutter in order to provide at least a little more comprehension about this unique way to communicate.

Our motivation for writing a poem

As two artists, and two fathers, we wanted to see what would happen if we wrote a poem in collaboration. We both have created and continue to create art through acting, poems, novels, and music to express our deepest emotions. So we decided to see if we can write a poem together without knowing where it was going or what the next line would be.  That being said, we agreed on some simple parameters:

  1. That we would not set up a lot of rules for ourselves,
  2. Stick to the feeling of this year’s theme, “A World that Understands Stuttering”,
  3. Alternate lines written to see where the creative juices poured out…

That was it! The poem below is what evolved from this collaboration and we are proud to share it with you all to read it for the 20th Anniversary of the ISAD Online Conference.

We would love to hear your poems in the comments below. Let’s keep the art going.

With compassion and kindness,

Scott and Taro

 

The Poem

Where do we begin? Is a question we ask. How will I ever fit in? How will I ever belong if I talk like this?
Will I be happy? What will the world see me as?
Right now, they see me as a freak, I know they do, at least I know that’s how it feels.
.
So when the world saw me different (I felt), I needed to find an outlet.
A place to cry, to express, to listen.
A place of my own, where I can be.
And show the world all of me.
A place where others understand my pain, my story.
 .
They say a journey starts with just one step.
But sometimes that first step is a mountain covered in snow, impossible to climb!
Where walking is more than just keeping your balance.
And as you struggle to stay on your feet, a caring hand is just what you need.
.
That caring hand has come in many forms over the years.
Friends, family, the stuttering community.
Along with my own desire to be the person I hope for.
I hope to live each day with more courage than fear.
I hope to speak up, say what I want, and let my stuttering shine.
.
It took years for me to start to understand my stuttering.
And more years still to come.
When it comes to my stuttering, do I sometimes still feel anger, frustration, and sadness?
You bet.
Do I also feel grateful, proud, and even joy?
Yes, I do.
.
A question still looms, even today, “Does the world understand me?”
Will the world ever understand my pauses, my repetitions, my breaks in speech, this thing that makes me different?
Will the world ever get that I long to share, long to express myself, long to enjoy the act of speaking, even though I’m different?
Will the world understand why I cry?  Why I rejoice?  Why I remain silent?  Why I take on the challenges I do?  Why I avoid?  Why I seek community?
.
I’ve found that the world’s understanding starts with me.
The more I understand and accept my stuttering, the more the world does the same.
The more I talk about stuttering, and observe others, the more I learn about stuttering for myself.
.
The more I step out of my comfort zone and take chances, the more the world opens up for me and the possibilities continue to soar.
.
As I have grown to learn about stuttering, my support system deserves my praise.
My wife and kids love me, stuttering and all. If the people I love the most in the world love me, stuttering and all, then I can love and accept myself, stuttering and all!
.

Thank you again! Keep the art going,

Scott and Taro

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Comments

Helping our World Understand Stuttering Through Art – A Poem (Taro Alexander, Scott Palasik) — 32 Comments

  1. Beautiful! Thank you, Taro and Scott! The line that strikes me the most is, “The more I step out of my comfort zone and take chances, the more the world opens up for me and the possibilities continue to soar.” Taro, I don’t know you personally, but I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Scott through Camp Shout Out, and I’m thankful I have enjoyed so much growth and understanding because you have been willing to live with more courage than fear!

    • Ana Paula, HI! It is so good to hear from you! Taro and I loved to create this and as two creative minds and brothers in art and stuttering, we had to try it out.
      Thanks for your kind and loving words. Keep moving, keep caring, and if you have a poem to share, feel free to leave it it here!
      Much love and compassion,
      Scott (and Taro)

  2. This poem is beautiful and incredibly powerful. My favorite stanza is, “I’ve found that the world’s understanding starts with me. The more I understand and accept my stuttering, the more the world does the same. The more I talk about stuttering, and observe others, the more I learn about stuttering for myself.” It is so striking to me because I feel that you could replace the word “stuttering” with anything and it really applies to anyone. As a person who does not stutter, I was deeply touched by this poem. Although I am a fluent speaker, I have my own insecurities and often feel misunderstood. Thank you for providing this poem to help others understand the world of a person who stutters. We are all just humans, trying to understand and be understood by other humans.

    • Lindsay, Hi! It is so lovely to meet you and, thank you for sharing your thoughts here. You know, you bring up a powerful point (well several). One, we all have challenges and insecurities, which is makes us all share the concept of human suffering. Your observation that you could put in any challenge into the poem and it work is a very astute one and brilliant. I like that idea.
      Feel free to leave a poem below. One thing that Taro and I wanted to encourage is to keep the creative juices flowing from anyone and everyone!
      Thanks again!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this work of art! I am a graduate student in speech-language pathology and this really touched me. I hope it will help me to better understand my future clients who stutter.
    I particularly enjoyed the lines that mentioned “Do I also feel grateful, proud, and even joy? Yes, I do”. I realize that the journey to understanding and accepting your stutter is ongoing, but I was curious if you had some sort of ‘ah-ha’ moment when you first were able to appreciate your stutter? What prompted this change in thought for you?
    Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful and emotional piece!

    • Brenna,
      HI! It is so lovely to meet you. I apologize for my delay but I was not around this past weekend (since last Thursday,so I’m catching up).
      Thank you for writing and sharing! You ask a great question about “ah ha” moments. For me I have had several turning points, and not just one. I could go on and on about turning points and the “process” of appreciation. I guess my first moment I can remember is when I was in my junior college student union. I was just starting to emerge from over a year of suicidal thoughts and darkness. I was sitting in the student union and saw a blind faculty member walking with a group of his students. They were joking, laughing, and socializing. I saw how they looked up to him, how they genuinely cared for him. And he was blind. In that moment, something stirred in me that I might be able to use what I learned from stuttering and teach or help someone, ANYONE! That was maybe my first moment of appreciation or approaching appreciation. Great question, Brenna!
      Can I ask a question, what do you appreciation about your life?
      Thanks for writing!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

      • Scott,
        I appreciate your reply, and please don’t worry about the delay, I completely understand and am grateful you have shared so much of your personal story!
        I love how you were able to learn to appreciate your stutter from the lessons of others who were overcoming obstacles. That is a very inspiring view that everyone should learn from. I wonder if the blind faculty member you saw learned a similar lesson from someone he realized was facing their challenges head-on.

        I’m not sure if I can claim to have a major life-altering challenge that I have come to appreciate. However, I have always had terrible vision. I’m not sure exactly what was ‘wrong’ with my eyes, but I think the left optic nerve wasn’t working properly or something. In any case, I’ve worn glasses since I was 18 months old and had eye surgery at a young age as well. Despite this, my left eye will turn in if I’m tired and/or not wearing my lenses. In my teens I wanted to wear contacts in an effort to look a bit more like everyone else. The contacts took me a while to put in every morning (especially because they irritated my eyes so badly). I recall feeling like it was really unfair that I had to put in all of this extra effort in order to see like everyone else did when they woke up in the morning. Around the time I started college, I decided that the contacts weren’t worth the hassle. I wanted to be comfortable AND see well (it was also hard to care what I looked like in classes where other people showed up in their PJ’s). So I’ve come to accept my glasses and I don’t really even think about my weird eye turning and stuff anymore. It’s just a part of me.
        Thank you for challenging me to take a look at what I need to be appreciative of in my own life. So many inspiring people are gathered at this conference, I’m really glad to be a part of it!

        • Brenna,
          Hi! I so appreciate you sharing your story and I’m glad you are a part of this conference. A conferences is only as good as the participants. With you, this conference would not exist.

          Again, thank for sharing your experience regarding your vision and how you felt about and how those thoughts have evolved over time. As you might not see this as a “major life altering challenge”, it is a challenge. All challenges can carry the same process. Human suffering is human suffering, and is relative to each individual with different stimuli, however the process of suffering is the same. Human suffering creates negative thoughts that might lead to behaviors that are not workable or not inline with we are at the core (values) and what might matter to us in big picture. For you it might your eyes, for others it might be height or weight, or weak ankles that cause a limp. And for people who stutter it might be stuttering. I say “might” here because human suffering is not always focused on just ONE challenge. I just talked to a student who has multiple things happening to them that is contributing to her suffering. And, our challenges can evolve, eb and flow, with each minute, day, week, month and year.

          Thank you so much for sharing! Keep the conversation and art going!!!
          With compassion and kindness,
          Scott

  4. Taro & Scott,

    My name is Tori and I am a graduate student in Speech Language Pathology at Appalachian State University. I was really touched by your poetry, such an emotional and well written portrayal of your journey to acceptance. I have always found that poetry and art have a way of communicating that goes beyond words on a page.

    At one point you write “It took years for me to start to understand my stuttering. And more years still to come.” We spend a lot of time looking at etiology, what’s the cause where did it come from. Maybe because we inherently have a fear of the unknown. In your opinion do you think that the journey toward accepting and embracing your stuttering would be easier if there was an explanation or cause to out your finger on?

    • Tori,
      HI! It is so nice to meet you! You much know Dr. Kline down there. What a love area Boone NC is.

      Thanks for writing and asking questions. The process of acceptance is something we all can talk more about. It is not just liking something, it is a movement of eb and flow, a dance, of positive, neutral and negative thoughts about a certain topic, in this case stuttering. At least that is how I see it now, which is why we say, “and more to come” because the process may be as continuous as our values are. To you question (which is great, and I won’t speak for Taro), maybe as a younger adult I might have moved through the levels and process of stuttering more if I knew an cause, however, now, that is tough. Here is why, looking in retrospect there is much it has taught me, and still does. If I took that, any of that away, I possible would not be here writing you. So for me I want to live in the present moment, looking back to learn and looking ahead to grow. Further, with more research we might find those answers and help others even more and they might have changed pathways in life. For me (and this is just my perspective from where I stand in life), knowing a cause is great for moving forward and helping people, and, is not needed for me to live a happy and valuable life.

      Thanks for the great and thought provoking question. Let me ask you a question, if you will permit me, How can getting to a cause of stuttering help people who stutter?

      Thanks!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

      • Scott,

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply, I am currently a student of Dr. Klein’s what a small world it can be.

        Your question is difficult to answer as I am not a PWS and therefore can never full understand what it might be like. From what I understand there are a lot of feeling and attitudes that create this negative association some people have with stuttering. I can imagine that it may be harder to accept something if there is still a hope there will be a cure. Where there is no answer there leaves a lot of room for speculation. For example, the debate about what causes autism. Autism, like stuttering, is something we can’t entirely explain and it has left room for erroneous assumptions that have been detrimental. These explanations have blamed refrigerator parents and vaccines which have created this blaming of the parents and also a fear reaction in parents who want to “spare” their children a ASD diagnosis. This all to say that sometimes the unknown is more scary than the answer its self simply because it is unknown.

        • Tori,

          HI! Thanks for the response. You bring up a great perspective that “Sometimes the unknown is more scary than the answer.” Very true. And your association with stuttering and autism both being mysteries is a good as well. Mysteries fascinate us as humans. They drive us to seek answers. Look at all of books, and movies all based on mystery of some sort. However, real life rarely ends like books and movie where we get the answer and we can move on. So, for PWS, not knowing is challenging because the concept of “Chasing the fluency gods” that has been said severely times (Judy Kuster uses this often) is a real behavior perhaps because they feel that since there is no cure of cause, that someday there might be and fluency will be possible. Perhaps it might also come down to something more basic like we all want to fit in. And for some people who stutter, perhaps they feel they don’t “fit in.” As much we celebrate differences, we still just want to be like other people. This is not a bad thing, it is just human nature. We want to be cared for and by others, which is why we are a social species.
          Thanks for your dialogue! Feel free to keep chatting! I appreciate a good conversation!
          With compassion and kindness,
          Scott

  5. Thank you very much for sharing this…every movement needs art to express how many of us feel. Back in the early days of NSP/NSA late 70’s One PWS shared someone in his class left him with “Every time you utter …You stutter…and look like Porky Pig.”
    My journey has not stopped. Last year I posted on my desk–maybe the next step for me in embracing my stuttering: “I stutter. And Proud.” Maybe having a bit of pride.

    always guys and thanks agin
    Michael

    • Micheal,
      It is so lovely to hear from you and thanks for the encouragement and support. I really like your “I stutter. And Proud.” It can mean so many different things to anybody. When I read that, I feel that my pride can wax and wane, it can be filled with joy and sadness, and it can be a struggle or smooth ride. And, at the end of the day “I AM… me. No matter who that is.”

      You keep being you, and moving how you wish to move toward the person you truly want! For that person is whole and made up of may beautiful parts!

      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  6. My name is Meredith Towey. I am a graduate student studying speech-language pathology. I really enjoyed your poem that captured how many people must feel while they stutter. I am a firm believer that creative expression is important to the soul. I was wondering how both of you began to write poetry. Do you have any advice for how I can I encourage my future clients to express themselves creatively?

    Best,
    Meredith Towey

    • Meredith,

      Hi! It is so lovely to meet you! I will let Taro answer for himself too!

      For me I started to write poetry as a segway into being a lead singer in bands at age 12. I felt since I was singing lead, and writing music with my cousin (who played guitar) I needed to write the lyrics. This has sense translated into a life time of writing music, playing in bands (still), writing screenplays and now novels. A life of art! That is how I love to live!

      To your question, I have used all kinds of art in my therapy. Music, painting, clay, writing short scripts to act out. Anything that a client loves, can be art. Lately I’ve started to “Zentangle”. This is a form of mindfulness, present moment art. It is fun and we are practicing the process of contact with the present moment as a way to get closer to where we life… Which is right now!

      Can I ask a question. What do you do for art? Can you share some here?

      Have a great day!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  7. I love how you describe going to a place of (what appears like) isolation BUT for the purpose of expressing yourself to others “And show the world all of me.” I am currently at master’s student and I’m picturing a good way to gain understanding of how stuttering impacts a young client of mine through an art project.

    The way the poem flows despite having alternating authors for each line, may attest to the common experiences of PWS despite the variety within the population. You both seem to really travel along the same path with similar feelings and experiences without straying from one another. How impactful!
    What a positive and encouraging note to end on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and hearts in this piece!

    • Dear Bnaugle (I’m sorry I did not have your name for a proper greeting),
      Thank you so much for your kind and insightful words. You bring up a great point about “common experiences” and maybe doing a poem in the a similar method as we did above WITH a client or group of clients (this also includes you as the clinician) might be a great art exercise. Imagine the conversation you all would have about what to write, how to say it, and what it might mean! All conversations that encourage enjoyment of speaking and connecting with each other. Isn’t that our ultimate goal, to have clients enjoy verbal communication?

      Can I ask? What art projects are you thinking about? How might you incorporate the above method of creating a poem into therapy and maybe change it? We enjoy brainstorming!

      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

      • Hi Scott

        I’m Brittany, I didn’t think about leaving comments when I was making my username! Well, I’ve been working with young children so far (preschool to early elementary) so the art project I was picturing was just to draw a picture and color with them. Probably with the prompt of ‘how do you feel when you stutter?’ That is, if the child is aware of their stutter. Through your piece I was reminded of how emotion can come out through art and this can be an easier way to broach the subject. In fact using paint might be effective for depicting frustration, i.e. splatter.

        I love the idea of writing a poem with an older student.I think I would want to involve close friends and family members in the poem creation. Perhaps have them alternate lines or even have sections that flowed together. If I were to write a poem with my client, I imagine it could be a good way to build rapport with them. I love that your response helped me think more deeply about incorporating art into therapy – what a lovely idea for everyone involved!

        • Brittany,
          HI! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and thoughts. I love the metaphor of paint “splatter” connected with depicting frustration. I did that! I wonder how else we can tie art to stuttering.
          I’m a musician so I like to bring in music (playing, singing, or writing lyrics) into therapy. It allows a client to connect expression of one’s self in a unique way.
          Keep being you, Brittany!
          With compassion and kindness,
          Scott

  8. Scott and Taro,

    Thank you so much for writing this beautiful piece! This line really stuck with me-
    It took years for me to start to understand my stuttering.
    And more years still to come.
    When it comes to my stuttering, do I sometimes still feel anger, frustration, and sadness?
    You bet.
    Do I also feel grateful, proud, and even joy?
    Yes, I do.

    I think this part really highlights how those who stutter may still feel as they grow in their relationship to stuttering. Feelings of anger and frustration over one’s stutter do not just go away as they age. Feelings like “grateful, proud, joy” over ones stutter take time to develop, and it’s perfectly ok to still feel those negative feelings-in fact, it means we’re human! I really appreciate the honesty and vulnerability as this piece. It empowers people, yet it also conveys the idea that it’s ok to not have a perfect relationship with stuttering. Wonderful.

    • Dear Armill3 (sorry, I did not have your name but only your log in above, sorry),
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. You bring up a valuable point that feelings of anger and frustration just don’t go away, and that understanding and acceptance is a process of time and work. For us as people who stutter to expect others to understand stuttering, we can understand our own speech first, and then try to compassionately understand other people who stutter, for stuttering effects each person differently.

      Let me ask, if you could summarize your journey with something that challenges you, what might you say? If you could talk to yourself and give yourself a pep talk to support yours in order to move toward your values, what might you tell yourself? These are just questions we can ask ourselves about any personal challenge in order to see if we can find workable thoughts and behaviors that are more US!

      Thank you again for sharing! We appreciate your feelings and thoughts.
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  9. Scott and Taro,

    I really liked how you chose to address the theme of the conference this year. Your writing is beautiful and I feel both of your emotions in your words. I’m a fan of art, and as a fluent person, I like to write poetry when I feel stressed. As a graduate student, the stress feelings are quite frequent, but I find it kind of liberating when feeling stressed means, I get to write poetry. Haiku poems are my favorite to write. I like how methodic and un-methodic they can be at the same time. I realized that I’ve never written poems, or any type of art for that matter about stuttering, so I thought I’d give it a try.

    Blink block stop repeat
    And he will have no defeat
    hope be forever

    After writing this one I was amazed at my connection to each word. All of the sudden it felt as if there was so much importance behind each word and line. I began to see a similarity in thinking within a PWS. Some people who stutter likely have a much deeper attachment to each sound and word they successfully produce. I wasn’t expecting to make a connection like this, but I’m glad I did. I’m sure that even in your writing you drew connections and discovered new feelings and outlooks about stuttering as both of you are a PWS. Would you mind sharing how writing this art changed or contributed to your own new/different views about your stuttering?

    • Dear Samantha,
      HI! Thank you so much for writing. More importantly, thank you for sharing your poetry. You bring up a great point about how the words you wrote can mean so much to so many. I’m so glad you felt more with your words and made connections you might not have before.

      You asked a great question about how this poem may have changed or contributed to any new/different views about our stuttering. That is a great question! Thank you for asking. I guess as I was contributed to this poem with Taro I felt that I was able to express some thoughts that I new really said before out loud, but was able to see them with the aid of Taro’s creative energy and simultaneous guidance. I guess something else I discovered was that the more I’m able to understand my stuttering, and the more I listen to others who stutter, the better I can understand the concept of human suffering, which might help me understand anyone I meet. It also show me (in a very visual way) what matters to me and that I truly want to live life by those things more than not. Stuttering is just one part of me, and I respect that. There is so much more I want to focus on than stuttering. Which I think is okay to say, at least for me.

      Thanks for writing and sharing. Have a wonderful night!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

      PS. What school are you at?

  10. Scott and Taro,
    Thank you for sharing this amazing work of art. I can truly feel your emotions through the poem and it’s amazing how much you can convey in a few lines. Have you shared this with the people who stutter on your caseload? I feel as though this would be extremely relatable. Well done.
    I was wondering what other art forms you find to be beneficial for a person who stutters. I realize that any art form would work in therapy, but some may find expressing their feelings in art difficult. Have you ran into this problem in therapy and, if so, what did you do?
    Thanks!
    Michelle

  11. Michelle,

    HI! Thank you so much for reaching out to us. Can I ask, where are you writing from and what is your experience with PWS? We all have a story, and I believe all experiences with people matter. They help to create a framework that connects with other mental experiences that thus influence how we respond and interact with the world.

    Which leads me to art. Art is another way we can help anyone interact and react with the world and their thoughts. Some of the challenges with bringing in art is not knowing the exact skills on client might have and what art they might tend to gravitate too. Have a client draw or paint a picture of “What is stuttering to them?” might be something interesting and fun to do, and you as a therapist (or parent or teacher) and draw what something that challenges you looks like. That is fun, and yet it can be complex. So, this is where we as therapist can help a client with brainstorming visuals that might represent emotions. David Shapiro talks about drawing stuttering in his text book, just in case you want to see more of this. You can use clay. Have a client create a form and talk about the class, the texture, what they want to make. The point to art may not be to always connect it to “stuttering” in a deep way. However, the act of creating can stimulate conversation, speaking, verbal exchanges of ideas with smiles and laughter thus practicing the action of speaking.

    Another challenge might be if you think, “I’m not that creative.” Well, this is your time to step out of a comfort zone and do something new. We are asking clients to do a lot of new things, we can take a sip of our own medicine and model what this looks like too! There are many websites with art ideas (and not just on therapy sites but any art idea, like pintrest is full of art ideas). It could be holiday themed, anything.

    Anyway, I don’t know if any of answered your question or not. I suppose I would try to connect therapy with what the clients likes and be as creative as you can to help them create something they might connect with.

    Keep asking questions. Keep yearning to learn, grow, and evolve!
    With compassion and kindness,
    Scott

    • Scott,
      Thank you for the response! I am a second year graduate student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I am currently in a Fluency class and my professor is a PWS and an SLP as well. I am currently working with the preschool population and have only briefly seen two children who stutter, so I am very interested in learning more about stuttering!
      You definitely answered my questions! I totally agree with having the client represent emotions, through whatever mode that they choose. The preschool children LOVE clay so I could see that technique working with the little ones!
      Thank you again for your response, I appreciate your insight!
      Best,
      Michelle

      • Michelle,

        Yay! Boone NC at Appalachian State! Tell Dr. Klien I said hi! He is a great guy. We haven’t talked in a while, I hope I will see him at ASHA this year.

        Good luck in the rest of your studies! Graduate school is a special place where learning is so intense and you can build such great friendships for life!

        You are correct! Preschool children LOVE clay. How can you not?

        Have a lovely day!
        With compassion and kindness,
        Scott

  12. This was amazing! I believe poetry is a great way to express feelings and this poem really captured the depth of oneself and learning to accept you for you. This poem could apply to anyone and their insecurities, so to hear it come from a person who stutters makes it even more powerful. This was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing!

    • Dear Tbates13 (sorry I did not know your name to do a proper greeting),
      Hi! Thank you so much for your kind words. You are absolutely right, the poem could apply to anyone and their insecurities. I guess that is one purpose of creating art; to make it so that anyone could take, learn, or apply it to whatever fits them.

      Can I ask, where are you from? What is your connect with stuttering? And, what arts do you gravitate to? (there are so many forms of creativeness, SO MANY!!).

      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  13. Scott and Taro,
    This is an incredibly beautiful poem. I was very interested to read that you wrote this by alternating every-other line with each other. I think that it blends together so seamlessly to combine two similar, yet unique, perspectives into one unified voice of expression. I specifically like the part at the end, “The more I step out of my comfort zone and take chances, the more the world opens up for me and the possibilities continue to soar” because it takes your personal struggles and demonstrates a universal understanding that everyone can identify with. As someone who is interested in slam poetry, I noticed that it flows almost like a spoken word poem to me. Have you ever read this in public? I think it would be awesome if you did, so that you could share your stories with even more people. Overall, this was a really inspiring and beautifully written poem.
    Thanks,
    Jacki

  14. Dear Scott and Taro,

    What a beautiful and powerful poem! I find it absolutely incredible that you two alternated lines while writing this. If I had not known this before I read the poem I never would have guessed that it had two authors. It flowed together so wonderfully! My favorite lines of the poem came near the end:

    “I’ve found that the world’s understanding starts with me.
    The more I understand and accept my stuttering, the more the world does the same.
    The more I talk about stuttering, and observe others, the more I learn about stuttering for myself.”

    I found these lines to be incredibly powerful. Though I am not a person who stutters, I find it incredibly hard to understand and accept myself for who I am. Knowing yourself for who you truly are, without rose colored glasses, is very difficult and humbling at times. I believe this is a very powerful point by saying that the more you understand and accept your stuttering, the more the world will do the same. It seems like a major issue in the world is the lack of awareness of what stuttering is. Before I became a Speech-Language Pathology student, I had never heard of stuttering before and I had never met a person who stuttered. I believe that by writing a honest and powerful poem like this, is an amazing way to reach out to those who are unaware of stuttering and to give them a glimpse into what life is like for a person who stutters.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderfully honest poem. I think it a great way to begin to spread awareness of stuttering for others, and also a way for the two of you to explore what stuttering means to you.

    Thank you,
    Sarah

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