How can having a stutter effect the daily life of a person who stutters (PWS)?

Hello my name is Marisa Morodomi. I am currently a graduating senior at California State University Fullerton. I am currently in a fluency disorders class where we are focusing on the topic of stuttering at the moment. I’ve seen a live meeting of the National Stuttering Awareness Day where guest speakers were able to tell their stories about their journey as a person who stutters (PWS). Watching this meeting really educated me about navigating through life as a person who stutters. Ranging from family, work, or school I am curious to know what the biggest daily struggles are for a person who stutters?¬†

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How can having a stutter effect the daily life of a person who stutters (PWS)? — 3 Comments

  1. Dear Marisa,
    I can see that this question has been tagged to Professionals as well as PWS and I’m sure you’ll get the best response from someone who can share their first hand experiences with stuttering!
    As you correctly put it yourself, each of the speakers you heard has a unique journey… No one journey was like the other. That itself answers your question. We can broadly outline areas like worklife, social life, etc. that stuttering might impact. But far more important than this LIST is to be a good LISTener… To hear each PWS carefully, for the unique challenges they face in their lives. Challenges in communication might range from saying one’s name, to saying the first “hello” over the phone, to waiting for your turn in the class roll call to say “yes ma’am”. The “biggest” challenge for one PWS might be a relatively easy task for another. The only common rule for managing stuttering is that “Individual experiences are unique”.

  2. Hi Marisa!
    As Dr. Pallavi Kelkar already has underlined, there is a variety of challenges which may be addressed in therapy, and that ‘no one journey is like the other’. I am also following Pallavi when she states that each person is unique in this sense.

    Pallavi’s response above is very much mirroring the findings in my own studies. The data showed that multiple and individual factors were influcening the persons’ goals for therapy. The findings indicated that the persons’ wishes and goals were mainly anchored in the persons’ wish of better coping in daily life settings, particularly in social and professional settings. On a group level, the persons’ perspectives on their speaking ability, improving emotional functioning, as well as improving social activity and participation, were identified as central factors.

  3. Marisa,
    This is another great question- thanks so much for asking. I am a person who stutters and an SLP, but I did not begin to stutter until the age of 37 (I am now 38) because of a brain injury. With that being said, my stuttering journey is different from other individuals who have stuttered since childhood, but I still do have a stuttering journey and can share what my struggles with stuttering can be at times. As my colleagues Dr. Kelkar and Hilda have expressed, stuttering is a very individualized experience, so this is a question that you will get a variety of answers to from each person who stutters or clinician that has had people who stutter answer this question differently. I have served people who stutter that say that they become frustrated when they cannot say what the want to say (like ordering food at a restaurant, for example). I have had other people say they stutter loudly and proudly and nothing about their lived stuttering experience would be considered a “struggle”.

    As for me, I have a chronic medical condition. I have lung disease and severe asthma, and my lung capacity/function is low. So, when I began to stutter right after my brain injury, my stuttering was much more prominent than it is now. I had a lot of blocks, sound prolongations and sound repetitions in my speech initially, but as my brain and cognitive status rehabilitated, my stuttering also recruited some and I now stutter only when I am very fatigued, when I am unwell, or when my brain is very anxious or overstimulated. Going back to the stuttering behaviors, however, at first- I was blocking frequently. I attempted to use some kind of strategies to get through what I was saying, but my difficulty was not the stuttering itself or avoidance of communication as I didn’t mind being a person who stutters. My brother is a person who stutters and has been since he was six years old (stuttering runs in my family), and I am a speech-language pathologist because of him. Most of my close friends are people who stutter, and stuttering is a part of my daily life, so I was ok with stuttering, but stuttering was physically painful for me. When I blocked, I was out of air and breath support about 2 second into the block- so any kind of strategy to try with my speaking was out of the question. I couldn’t really control the block I found, nor the duration of how long the block was going to last. My diaphragm muscle is almost paralyzed now from lung disease, and only move about an inch with a take a breath in- so blocks were extremely hard. So I avoided speaking. Not because of embarrassment or shame but again, because of the physical pain that stuttering caused due to my lung condition. When I did speak- I did find little ways to get through some stuttering moments, for example, I could spell some words to get through it. Never in my time in this field have I taught anyone to spell a word as a skill to help them, but it’s something that worked for me (which further proves that stuttering is truly an individualized experience).

    So again, this answer for this question will be different for everyone, but personally that was my most difficult aspect with stuttering. Now, I stutter far less overtly than I did initially following my brain injury, but there are times I find myself becoming a little frustrated during times of stuttering and I have to stop myself from doing that. It’s perfectly ok to stutter and I find myself getting in a hurry to speak when I absolutely shouldn’t be.
    I hope that this helped, and take care!
    Thanks,
    Steff