Posted by Stewart Burnett

Journalist, stutterer, rockhounder, painter.

4 Comments

  1. lynneburnett2014 December 7, 2016 at 10:11 am

    VERY helpful! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Wonderful advice! What do you say to parents and teachers who want speech therapists to cure stuttering?

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Thank you!

      In my opinion, you can’t “cure” stuttering. However, there is what I define as a cure, and that is making it not a problem in your life anymore.

      I think chasing the cure (in terms of actual perfect fluency and no stuttering) is a painful, depressing experience for stutterers and keeps them controlled by stuttering. They begin to feel life is futile when they can’t achieve fluency no matter how hard they try. Because they are always chasing something that is not themselves, they are never happy with themselves. The cure is in the mindset, which can be a hard message to get across to young stutterers who want the “real” thing.

      Curing stuttering is like curing someone with a big scar across their face, or something like that. Maybe you can put makeup on (speaking techniques) but you can’t get rid of the scar (ignoring of course massive plastic surgery for purpose of this comparison). Everyone has problems they are embarrassed about. Many of those problems cannot be literally cured. But they overcome them by accepting them and making them not a problem.

      I am definitely no expert in speech therapy. Sometimes I worry that certain approaches lead stutterers down the path of chasing the cure in vain hope. So long as they are doing this, they will not come to accept the way they are, because they are chasing something different. I am sure there are many philosophies about speech therapy and different ways it is done.

      So to finally answer your question, I’d say the goal should be to have stutterers accept their stutter as a unique and great part of themselves and see it in a positive light. Ways of getting through certain sounds can definitely be part of that. But if teachers or parents are hoping for the physical cure, they might as well hope their child changes skin colour. Some people do outgrow stuttering and it can fluctuate a lot over time (unlike skin colour of course) but that kind of change is not in control of the stutterer. The goal should be acceptance and positive self-image. A good sign in a stuttering child would be that he is not afraid to speak even if he stutters, not that he does not stutter when he speaks.

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  3. Reblogged this on CHCCS Speech-Language Pathologists and commented:
    See Stewart’s poignant thoughts on a “cure” for stuttering.

    Like

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