Make Room For The Stuttering

Getting A Handle on Stuttering

Posted on: June 29, 2010

Somebody asked me yesterday for advice to help somebody get a handle on his or her stuttering. I took that to mean whats the best way to work towards acceptance.

I was flattered to be asked. I am not a speech professional and I am only four years into my own journey with stuttering acceptance.

I found myself emailing off a response right away, with no hesitation. I suggested that a person who stutters should be encouraged to talk about stuttering when ever possible, to whoever will listen. Ask the stutterer questions about her stuttering, things like, “how do you stutter? What does it feel like? What kind of emotions come up with stuttering?”

The more a person talks about stuttering, the more comfortable he or she will feel. It is the basic premise of desensitization. The person should also be encouraged to advertise that they stutter, as much as possible. 

It may feel awkward at first. If you are like me, someone who had been covert for a long time, it will indeed feel awkward. And weird. And scary. I hated it when I first tried doing it – I felt more self-conscious advertising I stutter than actually stuttering.

Encourage the person to advertise or disclose in baby steps – maybe to one person or in one situation a day. Each time it is done, it gets easier. The easier it gets talking about stuttering, the less anxious she will feel about stuttering. Less anxiety about stuttering may then translate into easier, more relaxed stuttering.

As I wrote this email out, offering my advice as a person who stutters to someone looking for a way to help someone else to accept stuttering, I realized why I was able to respond so fast. Because it is exactly how I have become more comfortable with my own stuttering in the last four years. I talk about it whenever I can, to both help myself and raise awareness for others.

Oh, and if you can’t tell, I also write about stuttering too. A lot. It helps. Thanks Ruth, for the inspiration to write about this today.

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1 Response to "Getting A Handle on Stuttering"

I like the way you write, Pamela Mertz. As long as there are loving, accepting people like you in the world, things will be a lot brighter for those who stutter. I never did verbally advertise that I stuttered. I simply stuttered. I don’t know how other people can be covert about stuttering actually, mine stuck out like a sore thumb and I knew it stuck out like a sore thumb. I also feel like no one wants to hear an explanation from me. I feel like if I advertise my stuttering and announce “I stutter”, the response would be something like “No kidding, Gomer, I had no idea.” Is anyone else as mixed up as I am?

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2017.