Misconceptions & Awareness

What misconceptions are there about people who stutter, and what do you think are some important ideas that society should be aware of regarding stuttering?

Thank you all for your time,

Emily Christopher 

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Misconceptions & Awareness — 6 Comments

  1. Hey Emily,

    Thank you for your question. I guess the biggest misconception of stuttering is that the people who stutter are nervous and don’t know what they want to say. I used to think I stuttered because I was nervous too. That was not true. The nervousness is more like a physiological and psychological response to stuttering, which was treated as a threat when it happens or before it happens. And we know exactly what we want say!

    I think society should be aware that stuttering is a long existing human condition and we need to create a more inclusive and understanding society to welcome all the differences.

    Hope this makes sense. Thank you Emily.


  2. Hi Emily – I have had a lot of experience with stuttering, as I have stuttered for more than 50 years now. When I first started stuttering, I was devastated because I thought it meant a life sentence of no friends, no family, no social life, and certainly no job. (Yes, even my 5 year old self visualized all of those negative thoughts.)

    I began trying so hard to hide any signals that I stutter. I was most successful not stuttering when I didn’t talk. So, I avoided as many speaking situations as possible. Because of my own self limiting beliefs, and the self stigma I had greatly internalized, I perpetuated the very misconceptions that later in life I would fight and advocate to change.

    There are so many false assumptions about stuttering, that need a village to turn them around. As Jai mentioned above, one of those assumptions is the people who stutter are nervous, or anxious or shy.

    Other false assumptions include lower intelligence and emotional instability.

    In order to change the world view of stuttering, it will take a massive effort by us, people who stutter, to educate the 99% of people who don’t stutter. And that is the conundrum, isn’t it? People who stutter have to be the ones who must speak out, without apology and shame, and let our voices be heard, so that stuttering can be normalized as just another difference, not a defect that needs to be identified, treated and cured.

    An important area to begin (and in my case continue) is to educate employers that people who stutter make great employees and we have extremely valuable skill set that employers would miss out on if they believe the false assumptions and don’t hire us.

    Imagine how the world would be if WE ALL were the same exact penguin suit every single day, and peacocks were not allowed to let loose their magnificent feathers. Human variation is what make our universe so bio-diverse. It would be terrible, and lonely and boring. Everything would be the same.

    I would not want to live in a world like that. Would you?


  3. Before being able to answer your question Emily I need to know what you are referring to when you say “stuttering” because that term can encompass a myriad of manifestations so which have little effect on the individual and some that control every aspect of their life. At the end of the day it depends on how the person reacts to their physical dysfluency and their associated psychological affliction. Having said that it is clear that having dysfluent speech does not effect the IQ or intelligence level of the afflicated person even if that person is the most disfluent person in the world but the unseen psychological affects of the dysflency and how the individual deals with it can greatly affect the way the person lives their life. So intelligence and other physical and mental abilities are generally not affected which the general public needs to understand but in many cases, especially where the dysfluency is “severe” the level of speaking avoidance and social phobia can affect the way that person functions in the world which may or may not be greater than the general public. With that said, the most severe stutterer may not let the issue hold them back in any way but the what appears to be a person with a mild stutter may in fact hold that person back in every aspect of their life. So it is very individualistic.

  4. Hi Emily
    When it comes to people around us, I’d say less intelligent, nervous, and should have educations and occupations where we don’t have to talk. But also that all PWS are miserable. That everyone hates it and wants to do anything to get rid of it. We get “advice” (take a deep breath, don’t be afraid, etc), “remedies” at huge costs, and both PWS and parents get a lot of guilt on their heads when they are ok with it, and just lead their lives no matter what. We are all individuals with different
    backgrounds and experiences, things that work for some don’t work for others, and situations that are tough for some are a piece of cake for PWS. Where all different, need different things and experience stuttering in a different way. So we need to communicate. PWS need to learn how to speak for themselves and people around us need to dare to ask questions.

    Stay safe and keep asking questions.


  5. Hi Emily,

    I think there is 2 aspects :
    – In today’s world, we see difference as something which is not welcome. People are always afraid when something is not “normal”. Stuttering is a different form of speech, which is can be even richer, but people are often blind to see the bright side. Even people who stutter, as many of us want to reach full fluency.
    -A lack of knowledge. People do not know what it really means to stutter, so many misconceptions can be believed (as it was said above) : People who stuter are stressed, or less intelligent

    I think the 2 challenges are acceptations others as they are and education

  6. That stuttering is so variable from person to person. There are two parts to the problem. One is the physical stuttering that people see and the other is the psychological side that you experience that others don’t see. People need to understand the depths of stuttering. Having said that, people don’t really care. It is the individual that stutters that is the one who needs to change. He/she needs to stop judging stuttering and wrong/ Learn to accept that one stutters. Learn techniques to stutter more fluently. Stop avoiding speaking situations. Then if stuttering still bothers the person then one should seek out a decent stuttering treatment course where one can learn a good and reliable fluency shaping technique, which is easier said than done.

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