What You Mightn’t Know About Stuttering

One in ten Americans and 1% of the world’s adult population stutter (or stammer if you’re in the UK). Around 80% of that population are men, tracks the UK Stammering Association, a non-profit group. Research indicates these figures remain consistent world-wide—across all cultures and in all social groups. And yet dangerous myths prevail about stuttering and this population. In this blog, I hope to debunk just a few of those ideas.

Myth 1: Those who stutter are nervous.

Not true. Stuttering is a neurological disorder interfering with our ability to produce speech, the UK Stammering Association asserts, and not a speech pattern. High-stakes situations like interviews, public speaking, or tense social interactions might exacerbate stuttering, but not become the cause.

Myth 2: Those who stutter were traumatized as children, come from marginal societies and don’t amount to much.

Not true either. CBS and other reputable news outlets alert us multiple famous, successful people stuttered as children (and adults) including actress Emily Blunt, fashion guru Tim Gunn, actor Bruce Willis and Tiger Woods. We also have the uplifting movie The King’s Speech to correct this idea. The US nonprofit, the National Stuttering Association, (NSA) nobly writes: The stuttering community has its share of scientists, writers, and college professors. People who stutter have achieved success in every profession imaginable.

Myth 3: Stuttering is constant and consistent.

Not so. Sometimes those with this condition stutter constantly and other times not at all. This New York Times essay (from the perspective of a woman who stutters) illustrates sometimes she can say her name with no stutter, other times, not. The NSA also notes: most stuttering happens from childhood, usually between ages two to five; however, 80% of preschool children who stutter develop out of the pattern. (Emily Blunt grew out of her pattern once she started speaking with accents, CBS reports.) Those who continue the pattern through to school and adolescence, typically continue through to adulthood.

More blogs on public speaking here.

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