International Differences in attitudes

Hi everyone, 

Thank you all for participating. I was curious about how different countries view stuttering and how everyone’s culture impacts how they view their own stuttering. Self-help organizations in the United States are the probably the most influential forces of my own stuttering journey. How are other international self-help organizations similar? How do they differ? 

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International Differences in attitudes — 6 Comments

  1. Hello there,

    Thank you for the question. I agree that America probably has the best and most influential self-help support groups. My home country is China. There are some small scale self-help groups in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, however, most of the people who stutter in China have no support or speech services at all.

    From my living experiences in Europe, U.S and Asia, I would say there are much more support for the PWS in the US, then Europe, and Asia at last. It may have something to do the cultural differences. Stuttering and disabilities in general are more talked about and discussed in the U.S and Western Europe. When the general public is more aware of stuttering, more support is available for PWS.

    This is my experience. Hope it helps.

    Jia

  2. Thank you for the interesting question!

    I moved from the United States (Massachusetts) to Norway 20 years ago, to marry, so I have experienced a number of cultural contrasts.

    Personally I am really pleased with life in Norway, as a person who stutters.
    First of all, there is a strong feeling of equality in this land, where all people are regarded as equal to each other, and this equality extends to disorders and disabilities of all kinds. There is a strong sense of acceptance of differences among people.
    Secondly, there are hundreds of Norwegian dialects and a number of different languages widely spoken in Norway. Everyone tends to speak in a different way – and stuttering is just one more difference (and accepted difference) heard among the varieties of speaking.
    Thirdly, this is a really quiet country, and people in general don’t talk very much. So there is no stigma against people if they choose not to engage in much conversation if they don’t feel like it.
    I honestly can’t recall a single negative remark against me due to my stuttering, during my 20 years of living here.

    I’ve noticed there are definite cultural differences in Norway, compared to the U.S., for people who stutter.
    For example: Since restaurants in Norway tend to be quite expensive, people don’t eat out as often as they do in the U.S., so ordering food isn’t as frequent of a problem for Norwegians who stutter.
    Also I’ve noticed there aren’t many complaints of discrimination here against people who stutter.

    The national Norwegian organization for people who stutter (NIFS = Norsk Interesseforening for Stamming og Løpsk Tale = Norwegian Association for Stuttering and Cluttering) receives assistance from the State, and helps people who stutter throughout the country to attend its national conferences, with travel reimbursements. The organization also sometimes helps its members to attend international gatherings of people who stutter, such as the World Congress for People Who Stutter.

    – Paul Goldstein

  3. At the end of the day I don’t think things differ greatly around the world except in some third world countries where there is not much media education about what stuttering is. But even then the vast range of expressions of dysfluent speech and its associated psychological affliction is so diverse among individuals that it is hard to tell people what stuttering is. People who stutter have such varied experiences that they have self assessed as stuttering that the general public has trouble knowing what it is beyond the repeating of syllables and sounds. When a member of the public is presented with severe blocking, head and hand shaking, eye blinking and all that goes along with bad stuttering it is not surprising that many smile or laugh and even walk away. It is generally not that they are being rude it is just that in most cased they have never seen anything like chronic stuttering before and tend to think you are putting it on for a laugh. It is a very confusing phenomenon for people to deal with and people who stutter need to understand that, unfortunately. Internationally we need more public education but before that we need to have a lot more terminology around the disorder rather than just calling all the many and varying aberrations of the disorder just called “stuttering”. It is crazy and makes things very hard for people to understand. All the best.

  4. Hi Tim

    Living in Sweden, and being a member of the Swedish Stuttering Association, my experiences are similar to Paul’s. However, also being a member of the Dutch Stuttering Association, I notice differences in the constructions of both organisations. Both get money from the state. Stuttering awareness in the Netherlands, material, and support groups are taken care of by different organisations, while in Sweden it’s done by one and the same. Stuttering is accepted in both, and stuttering is a part of the disability act, but misconceptions amongst the public is still a problem. Regular speech therapy is covered. The British Stammering Association, Stamma, is leading in Europe and has great campaigns and projects. Yet there are other countries in Europe where stuttering is not considered being a problem at all, but resulting in no speech therapy available. There is a European education for SLPs and research is ongoing, although much more needed, while it’s not easy to get funding. In some countries being an SLP who stutters is not a problem, while in other countries, it is.

    Stay safe

    Anita

  5. Hello Tim,

    In france, we have a few self-help in which we can talk freely about our stuttering
    One year ago, I created the eloquence of stuttering, a 6-weeks program in which we teach people who stutter to accept their stutter and to communicate beyond fluency

    I will say in France, beyond speech therapy which is very important, being with other people who stutter and being able to speak and take risks while speaking is instrumental to feel better with our stutter

  6. As for France view, it has two sides. People will show some understanding and will accept it. However, it is the second side, when they need to work with people who stutter, there will always be some doubts and their abilities to do so.

    Mentality are evolving and we are working hard to do so within the Association Parole Bégaiement

    There is also this very nice video of my friend Martin Jandet on the difference in stuttering view in Senegal vs France
    https://youtu.be/Rch9HRrcVgY

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