Written By: Cassie Hicks, M.S., CCC-SLP
Stuttering is a disorder that is characterized by an increased number of disfluencies while speaking.
There are different types of disfluencies including whole (“I want want want to play”) and part-word (“I wa-wa-want to play”) repetitions, prolongations (“I waaaaaaant to play”), and blocks (“I —- want to play”).
People who stutter may also experience physical tension and have negative feelings regarding their speech and speaking to others. Treatment with an experienced clinician can help children overcome their stutter through a variety of fluency management techniques.
The following link explains some background information on stuttering from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering/
The following was written by a patient of Progressive Pediatric Therapy, Sebastian age 14, who stutters. He wished to share his story about how he, with the help of his speech-language pathologist, is working to overcome his stutter to become a more confident speaker.
“During February of 2020, President Joe Biden spoke at a town hall meeting about his stuttering. At the speech, Biden gave a lot of advice such as to never let stuttering define your personality and to stop interrupting people who stutter when they are struggling with a word. Joe Biden claims that he stood in front of a mirror as a child and practiced poetry while working on minimizing facial grimaces while speaking. At the end of the speech, Biden remarked: “You’re defined by your courage and redeemed by your loyalty.” I think this means that it is so courageous to confront your stutter and that you’ll be redeemed by the effort and commitment you make towards the work you do.”
“The fact that Joe Biden, the president of the U.S.A., has a speech problem with stuttering just goes to show that stuttering does not define the person who has it at all. Personally, I totally agree with Biden, I don’t see how a stutter in someone would define their entire personality. Stuttering is just one thing I do, along with many others like drawing, writing, and sleeping. Stuttering is just something we do and we can’t help it. Just like Joe Biden, I have taught myself to minimize my stuttering while talking to others.”
Sebastian says, “People who stutter often feel trapped in their own words and are not able to say what they want to say. My words of advice to other kids who stutter is this: If you feel lost or frustrated, keep going. You’ll get there eventually.”
“We can see from the President of the United States that something that could potentially hold you back, shouldn’t be able to. Many people with a stutter would have found other ways to make money or reach people, but Joe Biden continued his path to what he truly believes in. This should be the case for all people who stutter, and additionally for other people who may have another stumbling block to overcome. Don’t let your block get in the way of what you want for yourself.”