|About the Author: Bruce Imhoff is a PWS from Australia and has been involved with organisations for PWS since about 2006, both locally, nationally and internationally. Bruce is currently serving as Vice Chair of the International Stuttering Association. Bruce also works with the International Stuttering Awareness Day Online Conference team, delivering the conference since 2013. He works in the local health department managing a software application used in public health.|
WARNING – ADULT LANGUAGE
I’m getting a little sick and tired of people assuming and telling me what I should do, no, WHAT I MUST DO, AS A PWS.
People think they know what’s best for me because I sometimes (inexplicably) cannot express myself clearly. They think they know better.
Did you forget your name?
Do you want the sandwich, the sausage, the spaghetti, the SHIRAZ, THE F’ING SAUCE???
Then the professionals tell me what I need to do. Breathe like this, talk really slowly, soft onsets, no hard contacts, continuous airflow, wear this belt around your chest. Some of it, helpful, sure, but are you going to talk like that in public? No. AND YOU EXPECT ME TO?
Clinical evidence of successful treatment doesn’t always translate to practical methods in the real world. Not to say I don’t trust clinicians, I have a strong belief in evidence-based treatment, but-tal-king-like-this-in-pub-lic-sounds-like-you’re-a-lit-tle-slow.
Then friends, even friends who stutter, ALWAYS with the helpful advice.
- Slow down
- Don’t let them talk for you
- Take as much time as you need, but don’t let them guess what you’re trying to say
- Try this drug, this hypnotherapy, this thing you stick in your ear that repeats your speech back at you
Nobody has given me the cure for stuttering, but neither has anyone listened to what I want.
What. I. Need.
WHAT WORKS FOR ME.
What I NEED to do to get THROUGH LIFE and SURVIVE EVERY DAY OF THIS EXISTENCE, knowing that if I have a MAJOR BLOCK then I totally SHUT DOWN…
Do you need a glass of water?
Are you ok?
Did you fall asleep?
Can I pray for your stutter?
Here, let me rub you on the back, maybe that will help, oh you poor dear.
WTF? Get away from me!
Everyone thinks they are just trying to be helpful, that they think they know what’s best, except for those who have a nervous inappropriate reaction, or the very few who are just scumbags whose only response to disability is ridicule.
What, did I miss the cure? AGAIN?!
Did you suddenly become imbued with the knowledge that has eluded the speech and language pathology profession SINCE ITS INCEPTION?
All people are different. That also applies to people who stutter. It’s impossible to presume that one thing that works for one person who stutters will work for all other people who stutter.
What do I want?
I just want what works for me, not some helpful words, thoughts or ‘what’s worked for this other guy’ or ‘what worked for me’ or ‘I know this guy who stutters and he always gets over it by sucking on a lemon’.
No, I don’t want your ‘helpful advice’, but I do want your understanding that I’m different to everyone else and that stuff that works for that other guy doesn’t necessarily work for me.
How about you ask me what works for me for a change, and stop telling me what worked for you or those other people (or you really don’t know and you’re just making shit up, in which case, just STFU).
A PWS. Speaking my mind.
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