Educating Fluent Speakers

Hello, my name is Mary and I am currently enrolled in an SLP undergraduate program. I really appreciate all your time and value everything I have learned from this website. Often when people are faced with diversity, they are unsure of how to handle themselves. My question is what would you want a person who does not know how to act around someone who stutters to know?

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Educating Fluent Speakers — 4 Comments

  1. I would want someone who is not sure how to act around someone who stutters is this: act and react just as you would to any other person you encounter and interact with.

    The worse thing for a person who stutters is having a communication partner who does everything they possibly can to ignore the fact that one of the two communication partners stutters.

    Respond to me with patience, respect and eye contact and I’ll do the same for you.


    It’s like the elephant in the room – the elephant gets bigger and bigger the more one tries to pretend that there is no elephant.

    The only

  2. Hi Mary

    Thank you for your question. I wish more people would ask me that. As that’s exactly what I want: for people who don’t understand and wonder what to do, to simply ask me. See, we PWS are all different. We all have a different stutter, a different background, different experiences and different needs.

    The main “rule” is to just act as you do with other people. Remain eye contact, don’t fill in my words, wait until I’m finished, and if you don’t understand, or if you wonder about my stutter, ask. For the sooner you ask, the sooner we can put it behind, you can listen to what I’m saying and I know you’re cool. Stuttering is nobody’s fault, and thus nothing to be ashamed of. So let’s get the elephant out of the room, talk about stuttering, and move on to a great conversation. 🙂

    But again, not all people think like me. So if you’re uncertain, ask. And as stuttering is one of the few disabilities that are affected by the listener’s reaction, it’s important to raise awareness, to advertise through f ex a wearing a button (I always wear my own quote ‘Sure I stutter, what are you good at’) or a seagreen ribbon, and to talk about stuttering. Because how will they know if we don’t tell them?

    I hope you, as an SLP graduate, will help us raising awareness and not only help us, but also to educate the world around us.

    Stay safe and keep talking

    Anita Blom

  3. What everyone should know is that stuttering can manifest in people in many different ways. To begin with it can be what I would call mild as far as the visible speech dysfluency is concerned and then move through a range of dysfluency levels right up to severe blocking with many and varied “secondaries” like hand moving, head shaking and foot stomping, all performed in a way that the person who stutters believes will help he/she get a blocked word or sound out. So on the assumption that a listener knows how to identify all the different types of stuttering the listener should realise that the person who stutters, no matter how “strange” or “humourous” they may appear, in their struggle to get the word out, one should never laugh or interrupt the speaker. One should just treat the person who stutters as you would treat any other speaker. Give the person who stutters the courtesy of good eye contact and try to resist the urge to predict that that person is going to say. Be empathetic and understanding. The person has a disability (do some degree) just like all of us. It is just that their disability is different and maybe more obvious than yours. Finally it is important to understand that many people who stutter can have a level of social phobia although most do not suffer from this affliction. If this is the case then the stuttering may manifest the person just not wanting to talk in a particular situation or on a particular day. It is also worth mentioning that also people who stutter may appear more fluent on some occasions than other occasions. As I said, stuttering manifests in many different ways and can vary in many different ways in one individual. Factors causing this are tiredness, intoxication, perceived consequences and perceived authority level of the listen to name just a few factors.

  4. They should not be afraid. The best is that the PWS share his/her stutter at the beginning. The fluent speaker should not be ashamed of asking questions on stuttering. If the PWS is not at ease, he/she will not answer

    I think, as my friends answered above, the hidden effects of stuttering are important to know. The iceberg can be a great metaphore of this

    More important, Stuttering can also be an ally and pride, and it is important to know when you do not know that much about stuttering

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