Should we expose our stutter ?

Hello all,

a great debate is to disclose or to hide our stutter?

For my personal story, it is when I dared to stutter that my life changed. I dared to participate to a debate competition, I dared to be a commercial on my campus for Bloomberg, I dared to organise a speech competition for people who stutter. All those steps changed my life, because I realised that many of the fears we had where mostly created by ourselves.

By taking risks, I finally accepted my stutter.

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Should we expose our stutter ? — 3 Comments

  1. Yes absolutely correct. If people who stutter want to really begin to make progress it starts when you decide to tell people about it. The more you try to hide your stuttering and judge it as wrong the more it will wrap its vines around every part of your being. Although stuttering has neurological roots I believe it is a thinking problem that manifests itself as a speaking problem. You are your own worse critic so start to change the way you think about your stuttering and you will change your experience of stuttering. Stop being judgmental of others and you will start to become less judgmental of yourself. What you are doing when you are disfluent is not as bad as you think from the listeners perspective. Sure you are losing control of your speech for a moment but it is not that big a deal. Don’t confuse being so anxious that you your vocal chords lock up for a moment, with chronic stuttering. Maybe you are aren’t a stutterer. Maybe you are just “a person who expresses speaking anxiety through locked vocal chords-erer”. If you really want to help yourself look into doing a course or reading a book on acceptance commitment therapy and maybe an online course on cognitive behaviour therapy. Also try some emotional freedom technique. Yes controlling YOUR fears around the experience of losing control over your speech is the answer. Trying to change the way you speak using speech therapy is not really the best way to go unless you have a chronic stutter and then you will need a stuttering specialist and a lot of hard work and dedication to have any chance of achieving a goal of fluency.

  2. My views on this question have evolved in different directions over the years. During my childhood and teenage years, I found it very uncomfortable to mention my stuttering in any way, and avoided the subject whenever possible.

    I experienced a number of different fluency shaping programs between the ages of 21 and 30, resulting in varying degrees of success. In a few of these programs, I reached the point where I was fluent in about a third of my situations, and had improved speech in another third of my situations. (Periods of this partial fluency lasted for a number of months.)
    Through one fluency shaping program, I reached the point of being fluent in all situations after three months of daily intensive practice. This consistent fluency lasted for quite a few months.

    During these fluency periods, I became very comfortable in mentioning my stuttering disorder since I was so fluent! I frequently told people that I was speaking fluently due to specific techniques or methods that I had learned in a particular fluency program. It felt great to me to reveal that I had a stuttering disorder – not only because I felt a sense of pride in speaking so well, but also because I felt I wasn’t “hiding” my stuttering by using those techniques or methods.

    But all of these fluency periods were only temporary, and sooner or later they fell apart. It was especially frustrating to return to stuttering, when I experienced severe disfluency with people I had previously talked about my fluency successes with.
    I ordinarily wouldn’t mention my stuttering again with these people unless I re-experienced fluency (following a refresher program).

    Eventually, after about a quarter-century of trying – unsuccessfully – to transform myself into a permanent consistently fluent speaker, by attending
    fluency program after program, and afterwards refresher after refresher (with intensive practice on my own), I decided to change my basic approach.

    Now, tired of all these fluency efforts with just limited success, I simply accepted myself as I was (and am) – a person who happens to stutter. I learned to accept this fact calmly and peacefully – and life became happier for me and much less stressful.

    With this new approach, I also again revised my thinking regarding talking about stuttering with others. In the past I had talked about my stuttering often if I happened to experience fluency success, and seldom mentioned it if I was having difficulty (unless another person brought up the subject).
    Now I adopted a new middle-of-the-road practice between these two extremes.

    This is now my current practice, that I decided to adopt about 20 years ago:
    Realizing that most people who don’t stutter don’t have a great deal of interest in discussing the subject of stuttering (generally most people aren’t that interested in talking about someone else’s disorder), I no longer routinely mention my stuttering in conversations. However, I do mention my stuttering if I find a natural context for it in a conversation, in a positive sense – for example, if I’ve recently attended or soon plan to attend a local, national. or international gathering of people who stutter. In this way I don’t avoid the subject entirely, but I don’t bring up the subject if there is no natural positive context in which to do it.

    – Paul Goldstein

  3. Hi Mounah

    Yes, we should absolutely disclose. For as long as we keep on hiding, the world will keep on thinking stuttering is something that needs to be hidden, something wrong, something that needs to go away. There’s nothing wrong with us, other than that we talk in a different way. It’s not something we chose. So nothing to be ashamed of. It just is. And if we speak up, we pave the way for those coming after us, those who haven’t found the stuttering community yet, those who don’t have, or have lost, their voices. Those who want to be in more control over their speech can seek help, those who are fine just the way they are should be able to stutter on. It’s our choice, not others. And if we accept, others will do so as well.

    Kudos Mounah! 🙂

    Stay safe and keep paving the way


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