Take A Walk on The Stutter Side

Daniele_RossiAbout the author:  Daniele Rossi produces the Stuttering is cool podcast and comic book of the same name featuring the adventures of a fox who stutters. Daniele has been stuttering and drawing cartoons since the age of four and has recently grown to fully embrace his speech and enjoying its many benefits along with taking its accompanying misadventures in stride. In 2011, Daniele co-founded Stutter Social, an online organization using Google Hangouts to facilitate group video chats for people who stutter worldwide. Daniele enjoys strength training, watching cartoons from the 1940s, and getting the most out of Canada’s short summers as possible. Daniele lives in Toronto, Canada.


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Take A Walk on The Stutter Side — 51 Comments

  1. Daniele……Your cartoons are terrific. I just have never had the time to look your stuff up, but now that I see this, I need to get your book. Thanks so much for all you do in this community. 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed reading your comic. I like your animation and you are able to portray a great message through your comic. I feel that your cartoon can be used to educate and capture the attention of both adults and kids alike.

    • Thank you for your comment, Michelle. Indeed my aim with my comics is to educate, encourage, and also support. Stuttering is quite the beast to tackle so it’s good to have some allies.

  3. Great representation of the everyday disfluencies that the “typical” speaker experiences! I could feel the emotion in the the way you presented the argument.

    • Thanks Lauren! It’s the emotions and my experiences with stuttering is where my comic ideas come from. This comic in particular, though not autobiographical, comes from a number of conversations in my past (back when I worried about my speech A LOT) where well-meaning people just couldn’t understand why. If only I had thought back then to suggest they give voluntary stuttering a try! 🙂

  4. As a clinician, this comic will help me to always keep my clients feelings in mind and recognize the importance of them. I think it is too easy for people who do not stutter to overlook feelings attached to stuttering. This comic could be used with parents or significant others of a person who stutters so they may increase their awareness of their loved ones feelings. Keep drawing, Daniele, you’re an inspiration!

    • thank you for your kinds words, hbroc683! You’re right, it was my hope with this comic to give those who don’t stutter some encouragement to give voluntary stuttering a try 🙂

  5. Hi Daniele, this is brilliant! Amazing that a short comic can portray so much depth and touch on so many different issues. I especially liked that you included the phrases ‘you’re using your stuttering as an excuse’ and ‘slow down and breathe’. The idea that anyone would say these things to a person who stutters seems so absurd but it happens so frequently! Thank you for sharing your work.

    • Thanks, Madison! The excuse one always got on my nerves. But it’s also a little autobiographical. I confess, I have used my stuttering as an excuse in the past so adding that was therapeutic and a reminder for myself. One weird thing I get is after I’m asked to explain stuttering (I include its neurological origins, etc.), I then get a response like “stop making it a big deal!” even though I’ve never made it a big deal in my conversations. Weird how others interpret things.

  6. Daniele,

    I really liked this comic. It teaches about stuttering in a very creative way. No matter how much we (those who don’t stutter) read about stuttering, we will never understand unless we try it! Unfortunately, even then we can’t experience the effects fully because we can stop at any point. But at least trying increases awareness of the inner emotions that those who stutter may be experiencing and teaches those who don’t stutter to look past the stuttering surface features and at the actual person in front of them. Keep up the creativity!

    • Thank you, dkour881. I’m glad that you understand. If you’re ever up for giving voluntary stuttering a try, I’d love to know how it goes!

      • I actually had an assignment this year in grad school where I had to try voluntary stuttering. It was definitely an interesting assignment to complete. Even though I knew I could stop stuttering at any point, I would always feel nervous and unsettled before I approached someone to talk to them. I didn’t know what their reaction was going to be. I didn’t receive any “outright” adverse reactions as I only had to try it three times, but I did experience the uncomfortable body language and “Is this for real?” facial expressions of those who didn’t know what to think or do.

  7. Daniele,
    This comic is fantatic! It really highlights need for further education and provides an significant insight into the emotions. I myself as a person who doesn’t stammer, experienced a feeling of frustration that the character could not fully convey his message, a fantastic way to increase awareness for all ages.

    • Thank you, sophimarie. What I found interesting is how much patience I personally need to write out Franky Banky’s stuttering! Even as someone who stutters and asks for others to give me the time I need to speak, I need to do the same for my own cartoon character 🙂

      There are more comics at http://stutteringiscool.com/frankybanky!

  8. Daniele,

    Thank you for sharing this illustration! I thought it did a great job at showing some important aspects about stuttering and how other people perceive stuttering. I love that you also touched on the fact that there is more going on underneath the surface than just the stutter, with the iceberg analogy. I am an aspiring SLP and am in my first year of grad school. I am learning that there is much more that we should be aware of than just the overt behaviors of PWS and your comic does a great job at illustrating that. Thank you!

    • Thanks, MarySue! I really liked how I threw in the iceberg analogy without truly explaining it 🙂 I always enjoy inside jokes in comics.

  9. Great comic! Shows very well the emotions I would imagine people who stutter have during frustrating times, as well as how a person who doesn’t stutter should consider the feelings of the other person when he/she is stuttering, well done!

    • Thank you, meganthomas819! I’m happy that I was able to convey what goes on in our minds 🙂

  10. Daniele,

    I really enjoy your comics and appreciate being able to learn about stuttering in a non-textbook format! I am curious though, how do you toe the line between humor/hyperbolizing and reality? As a future speech pathologist I want to make sure that I am not trivializing feelings or situations, but I do think that addressing fluency in a more lighthearted manner could help to reduce the demands on the speaker.


    • Thank you, Jeanna! And you’re right, comics are a great educational tool! In fact, my book, Stuttering is Cool, is a text book in a few universities in the United States!

      To answer your great, great question, it’s that age-old reason “because he stutters, then it’s ok” but most importantly it’s also because I’m telling the jokes with love, I’m not putting stuttering or stutters down, and I’m spreading a little awareness.

      Even with these things in mind, I still have to be careful not to cross any lines (but there will always be someone who may get offended no matter what I do. It happens to all the comic strip artists including Bill Watterson of Calvin & Hobbes and Charles M. Schulz of Peanuts).

      Before I work on a comic, I run it by a couple of friends to ask if anything unintentionally comes across as offensive or unclear.

  11. Hi Daniele, I’m a communicative disorders graduate student and I am currently taking a class and clinic in Fluency and Stuttering. I enjoyed your cartoon and was wondering where can I access more for my classmates and our clients?
    Thank you!

  12. Hello! I am a first year grad student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Communicative Sciences and Disorders program. I loved your comic! It made me reflect on the fact that people who stutter are the only people that truly understand how it feels to stutter. I thought it was a fun way to put things into perspective. I will remember this comic while I am working with people who stutter in the future, and it will always remind me to practice empathy and understanding.

    • I’m glad to hear you enjoyed my comic, laurahill5809! Awareness is still needed even though it’s 2015 which is why I had a lot of fun drawing a couple having a fight 😉 I thought it was the perfect way to show misunderstandings.

  13. I thoroughly enjoyed your comic! It’s interesting to see such great insight on stuttering presented in such a creative way. I thought you did an impeccable job depicting how difficult it may be for people who don’t stutter to understand the feelings and emotions a person who does stutter may go through on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your amazing work!

    • Thank you for your kind compliments on my comic, kmentek. I enjoyed creating it very much.

  14. Daniele,

    Your comic illustration is such a refreshing form of expression. You managed to capture the true nature of anxiety and frustration of a PWS through the way you illustrated the letters with bolding,font size, and style. I truly began to feel the anxiety of that person just by reading. I find it interesting…that when we are faced with talking to a person who stutters sometimes we want to help – and instinctively go to the common phrase “Just slow down and breathe.” Through my Graduate courses we always talk about evenness, gentless, and naturalness to aid in fluency of speech. We know this helps, and want to express to the person who is stuttering to do these things. My question for you is, what do you say to a PWS in the moment that they are stuttering without pulling out that oh-so-common phrase and drawing attention to the disfluency/causing more anxiety? I feel like the comment from Franky “Don’t tell me to slow down!” would be such a true statement to hear from someone who is dealing with so much frustration and anger in that moment.


    • Thanks Megan! Writing in the large fonts was a lot of fun. I, too, have to sometimes fight the urge to tell a fellow PWS to slow down or breathe. But I know better since I am a PWS as well. I simply let the other person have the time he or she needs to get their words out. Any impatience I may feel is my own problem. Not theirs. Allowing my fellow PWS the time they need to speak is not only a form of respect but, for me, a form of an instant bond with someone who shares and understands the same experiences as I do. It’s a beautiful moment in time to share together even if one of us may not think stuttering may be something beautiful.

  15. Daniele,

    I just wanted to take a moment to commend you for your creation. I think using a comic as a vehicle to shed light on a very serious situation is ingenious. Your comic captures so much of what stuttering can be like for a person who stutters and it does so in a quick, short, and creative way. It is very refreshing to see the stereotyped experiences of PWS reflected and illustrated in a unique and visual way. I think your comic can be very helpful in educating the public about what it is like to deal with stuttering on a daily basis. Your illustrations are informative, accurate, and versatile in that they can be used to educate and inform both children and adults. I love the way you embed the comic with tips about what not to do when speaking to a person who stutters. Great job of capturing the nature of stuttering and the emotional impact it has for both the speaker and the listener.


    • Thank you, Danette, for your wonderful comments. It was a lot of fun to mix humour, awareness, and tips all into one package (even if my drawing skills need further polishing!). More to come!

  16. Daniele,

    Thank you for sharing this amazing cartoon! As a future SLP, I could see myself presenting this cartoon to school-aged children about stuttering. I think the cartoon would provide comic relief while also reflecting the annoyances about how poorly people can sometimes communicate with those who stutter.

    Thank You!
    Erin Maloney

    • Thanks Erin! Seeing the humour in things can help tremendously. After all, life is too short to take so seriously.

  17. Daniele,

    I absolutely love this comic! I loved how you changed the word bubbles to reflect the rising tension. A great example of how art can raise awareness!

    • It was really fun to draw that way, cdstern! If I did it in colour, I’m sure Id’ have had a lot more fun drawing reds and oranges and yellows to depict explosions 🙂

  18. Daniele,

    Thank you for sharing your comic. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really like the message it sends without it being threatening or placing blame. I also like that the female initiated a fake stutter. That was a great idea. For one of my graduate classes we were assigned to fake stutter and report back on it. I think it’s a great learning tool for people who don’t stutter to “walk a mile in their shoes”.
    Great work, Megan

    • Thanks, Megan077! I’ve heard of that assignment in universities and think it’s a great idea. And the students do need courage to complete it!

  19. This is a great comic! Though the pictures are fun and engaging, I could feel the emotion behind it. As a future SLP, I am learning the importance of educating others, especially children in the schools, about what it’s like to stutter and how to react to a PWS. A comic like this could go really far with children and reach them in a way that lecturing could not. I think something so creative like this could reach people in a more impactful way! More of these would be great!

    • Thank you, Krysta. Comics are indeed an engaging medium for explaining concepts and emotions. It was my intention to show how it feels after many, many times of well-meaning fluents just not understanding.

  20. Daniele,
    Thank you for sharing your cartoons. I am going to use your cartoons with a fluency group that I work with. I feel like they would really love and relate to your cartoons. This will facilitate conversation about stuttering along with open dialogue about how they feel or relate to situations in your cartoons. I am currently an SLP student, but work in a school setting. I have not had a lot of experience with fluency, but the more I learn the more I want to become involved.
    Thank you,

    • Thanks, Dorene, for sharing my comics with your fluency group! There are more over at stutteringiscool.com and gum.co/frankybanky. And even more to come!

  21. I really enjoyed your cartoon! I think it provides a great mixture of humor, awareness, and understanding of stuttering!

  22. Daniele,

    You have such a natural way of mixing humor with reality and acceptance all at once…and for all ages. Your work is so important. Thank you!

    Annie B

    • Thanks Annie! It’s a gift from watching way too many Looney Tunes cartoons and newspaper comic strips 🙂

  23. I think it’s easy for non stammerers to assume they understand the feelings of people who stammer. I think this comic is a great, educational expression of the day to day grievances experienced by those who stammer. As a Speech and Language Therapy student, I found the creative way in which you are raising awareness, refreshing; the humour and content would certainly appeal to people of any age. Thank you, I would love to see more of your work!


  24. This cartoon is fantastic. In my graduate program we’ve been asked to pseudo-stutter in a public situation around unfamiliar people and I haven’t yet done it. I have an idea of what to expect but even as a student in speech-language pathology I still sometimes can’t wrap my head around the idea of not being able to just “relax” despite knowing full well that it has nothing to do with that.

    I think a lot of people are guilty of these kinds of uninformed judgements. Parents of children with autism are often judged when their child has a meltdown as if its their fault. People with depression are told to stop worrying. And much like stuttering, anxiety are often told that they just need to relax. It will be interesting to experience what it is like when some likely uninformed and possibly unsympathetic person gawks at me while I work my way through some communicative effort.

  25. Hi Daniele-

    Great job! I appreciated that your cartoon is both humorous and right on target in how well you convey the experience of stuttering, and the point of view of a significant other as well.