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

Popular Right Now

I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.

It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I've Recovered From An Eating Disorder and Exercise Addiction... Now What?

I am ready to be simultaneously healthy and fit, rather than hurting my body while trying to be fit.

While recovering from an eating disorder and exercise addiction, I purposefully didn’t force myself to work out much or put a huge emphasis on working out.

As I continued to recover, I also did my best to not deprive myself or restrict any certain foods, which I have an extensive history of doing. Exercise and eating healthy are two of my biggest passions and two things I have been surrounded by my entire life. My parents are marathon runners and we were "that family" that wasn't allowed to eat candy or junk food.

However, recovery meant letting go of the suffocating hold that I had on these two passions.

My recovery has primarily been in the last 6 months, even though the issues I struggled with started in 9th grade. I turned my focus to body-acceptance, forgiveness, and healing — and away from negative self-talk and hatred for my struggles.

I hated what was happening, but didn't control being pulled back towards it.

For me personally, recovery has been a journey I've primarily taken on my own. It has taken A TON of hard work. It has required training, not unlike physical body training.

This kind of training has been mental and physical — training the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs in my mind and training my physical responses and actions. From harmful, life-consuming actions to beneficial, life-giving actions. Recovery is more than worth it.

It has been difficult, to say the least, but so necessary, eye-opening, and freeing, as anyone with these types of struggles knows.

You have to fill your mind with truth, find support (even if it's very small), re-train your mind, and be fully invested in your recovery — in order for it to happen.

For internal struggles like eating disorders and addictions, there is no perfect formula or set of steps to follow. There's no pill you can take or encouragement someone can give you. Everyone's story is different and recovery comes with a lot of ups and downs.

I've come to a point in recovery where my body and mind are ready and begging to dive back into better eating and consistent working out (with a better, healthy mindset of course.) I'm really curious as to if anyone else with similar struggles is at this point or has been here. I am excited about health and fitness, and excited to be able to enjoy these things that I love. But there's still a sense of fear in the back of my head.

It’s hard for me because uhhh... Where do I start!?

What do I do?! The last time I was fully invested in fitness was years ago.

I went from feeling like a fitness and PRO to feeling like a complete newbie.

I am ready to be simultaneously healthy and fit, rather than hurting my body while trying to be fit. One of my MAIN goals for this summer is to get back into a clean eating lifestyle (that allows me to feel my best!!) and to find a consistent fitness routine that I will be excited about and will stick to.

Crossfit workouts used to be my PRIDE and JOY, and I desire to find a place or activity that allows me to LOVE fitness again.

I've found confidence, peace, and joy without restriction, obsession, and deprivation... and I'm ecstatic to be able to incorporate balanced, safe health/fitness back into my life.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap / Nirzar Pangarkar

Related Content

Facebook Comments