We Need to Talk About Stuttering

We Need to Talk About Stuttering

Stuttering explained by someone who stutters.

Here’s something to think about: About 1 percent of the adult population stutters. That’s about 3 million Americans, and over 60 million people who stutter across the world. In addition, 5% of people have stuttered at some point in their lives. Chances are that you, or someone you know, work with, or have passed on the street stutters. So, what exactly is stuttering?

“I remember once I was talking to one of my friends in 5th grade on our way to the computer lab. We were talking and I said, “What is your m-----iddle name?” My friend looked at me and said, “Faith.” I left that conversation feeling confused. What was that? That had not happened before. Why was it so hard to say that word? Why did my face scrunch up like that? What does she think of me now?”

According to The Stuttering Foundation, stuttering (or stammering) “is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables.” People who stutter may also exhibit physical tension secondary behaviors (such as facial or bodily movements) in moments of stuttering. Speakers can also experience negative reactions and decreased communication with other people as a result of stuttering. The underlying causes of stuttering appear to be related to a complex relationship between genetics and the neurological system. Stuttering is three to four more times as common in males versus females, and about 60% of people who stutter have a relative who stutters. While many young children (under the age of 7) may stop stuttering, it can be a lifelong condition for those who stutter into the school-age years and beyond. As such, early intervention is important.

“I continued to have moments where my neck would tense up and I couldn’t say what I wanted to say, or I would say “d-d-d-d-dog” for “dog.” Eventually I was enrolled in speech therapy for stuttering when I was in middle and high school. The physical symptoms were improving, but I was still struggling with how I felt about the way I talked. I didn’t let it stop me from talking in class and interacting with other people, but I often left the conversations feeling defeated and shameful. It also didn’t help when other people were making hurtful comments about it.”

Stuttering is more than what you can see or hear. Some have likened stuttering to an iceberg, or perhaps a tree and its roots, where only some parts of the objects are tangible and easily perceptible. Living as a person who stutters also comes with thoughts and feelings about one’s stuttering. These thoughts and feelings can affect how and if a person chooses to interact with others and also how they feel about themselves and their capabilities. Remembering this is important, because stuttering affects those who stutter on a much deeper level than is often apparent in passing interactions.

“It was not until college when I was in class learning from other speech-language pathologists that I really began to think of stuttering as it was, rather than a controlling burden. Over the course of 4 years, I began to apply what I learned about stuttering to my own life. Now, I realize that stuttering is not as bad as what I once thought. It is just different. The way I talk is just a little different, and it is okay. Other people’s opinions are just opinions. They do not affect my life, unless my mindset allows them to. Don’t let stuttering affect lasting decisions. It’s not that powerful, unless you allow it to be.”

Personal experiences provided by Jenny Gibbs

Co-Authored by Logan Payton, Samantha Graffius, Maddison Childers

For more information on stuttering, visit the following, or contact Craig Coleman, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-F at craig.coleman@marshall.edu:

The Stuttering Foundation: https://www.stutteringhelp.org/

National Stuttering Association: http://westutter.org/

The Stuttering Academy: www.stutteringacademy.com

Stuttering U. Summer Program at Marshall University: www.stutteringu.com

Cover Image Credit: SI Parent

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?

I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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Gambling Is Fun For The Adrenaline Rush It Gives You, But Be Careful Not To Become Addicted

Last week, I had the pleasure of feeding $500 into the greedy slot machines on the Vegas Strip. I now see why gambling is a sin.


Last week, I had the pleasure of feeding $500 into the greedy slot machines on the Vegas Strip. I now see why gambling is a sin.

Surprisingly, my dignity is still intact and let me tell you why. Even though all my money quenched the thirst of the desperate machines, it was all in good fun. I can't deny that my days in Vegas were beyond amazing, so I don't regret my gambling defeat. But best of all, I got to see the insane nature of serious gamblers which was truly a breathtaking experience. Literally breathtaking... if you inhaled long enough you would be lungs deep in cigarette smoke.

The locals there genuinely believed that they would be paying next month's rent by gambling. My favorite experience had to be at the hotel which we stayed at, the Mirage. It was around midnight when we spotted a half dressed, drunk man in the lobby waiting for help because he lost everything he had in his wallet. Which, unfortunately, was thousands.

But hey, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And sadly, for many, the only thing that stayed was their money. Myself included.

I do praise the confidence of gamblers, since I too fell into the trap of thinking I was a millionaire after one slot spin. But luckily I had nothing to lose. My family collectively lost about $500, and fortunately, only $50 was mine. Meanwhile, we have people pouring a thousand dollars into those machines hoping for a nonexistent miracle. When in reality the slots are "rigged" to always eat up your money and sanity.

All losses aside, I now understand why people stay on the floor even after they go bankrupt. Gambling is all about the addictive adrenaline that rushes through you when you use those money hungry slot machines. Regardless of the ample losses I took on vacation, it was definitely worth the experience. Gambling on the Vegas Strip was one of the most insane experiences I've ever had, and I am glad I contributed to the Mirage's funds.

Till next time, Vegas... when I'm actually legal.

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