Make Room For The Stuttering

Didn’t Have To Be Fluent – Episode 29

Posted on: October 8, 2010

Episode 29 features Suzana Jelčić Jakšić who hails from Zagreb, Croatia. Suzana has been a speech therapist for over 20 years, and currently works in a children’s hospital.

Suzana shares an important turning point in her life – both as a person who stutters and professionally as a therapist. She attended a workshop for specialists in stuttering and realized that she “didn’t have to be fluent”. That other therapists who stuttered were talking and expressing themselves.

She felt free to speak and to stutter if it happened. From then, she began accepting invitations to speak publicly. She felt comfortable to educate others about her specialty – stuttering.

Ten years ago, Suzana created and founded the Croatian Stuttering Association. She served as the Chair of the association up until last Spring. She is currently on the Board of the International Stuttering Association.

Listen in as we discuss Suzana’s early memories of stuttering, her parent’s reactions and early therapy experiences. We also discuss how stuttering is perceived in Croatia and important people in Croatia who stutter and have served as role models.

Suzana also mentions  Marilyn Monroe and about the difference between her female and male clients. She believes that women seem to be able to deal with stuttering easier than men!

Credit for the podcast safe music clip “Echoed” goes to ccMixter.

As always, feel free to leave comments and let Suzana know what a great job she did by sharing her story!

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9 Responses to "Didn’t Have To Be Fluent – Episode 29"

Suzana, Why do you feel women can cope easier then men?

Because, particularly in our culture, there is still less social pressure on women to take the lead. Men often find they have to get involved in social situations, whereas it is acceptable for women to ask for help, let other people do things, like talking.

I feel the more I care about my stutter, the more I try not to stutter the worse it gets. I have learned to close off my emotions so I don’t stutter. I think women for the most part are more emotional then men and I mean that is a possitive way. Therefor I think it would be harder on women to deal with stuttering than men.

My question is the same as Craig’s, Suzanna, because I always thought the opposite because my husband stutters and seems to be dealing with it much better than me.

See my answer to the question above. In addition, I remember a colleague from Jordan telling me that in his opinion, in his country when men get married, they have to take more responsibility and this forces them to overcome their stuttering, especially avoidances.

I really liked that motto from professor Cvetko Brajovic, that a cured stutterer is one who could help another one. Is he still active?
I’m very familiar with the nostrils thing… Even if I start off a fluent sentence, something on my face gives me away. I feel my look freezes for a moment, and yes, the nostrils thing.
I wanted to ask you Suzana, did you ever have psychosomatic problems alongside stuttering, and if you did, how did you overcome them? I mean the heatwaves, the redness, the red spots, the sweating and things like that. In my case, even if my speech starts off well, after a while into the conversation I start getting these symptoms and thus the speech deteriorates as well.
I found the interview very interesting, many things were said and Pam, you ask great questions.

Thank you, Marija.
Prof. Brajović passed away in early 1980’s, but his method is still applied in a modified way at the Institute for psychophysiological and speech disorders in Belgrade.
I also experience some concomitant behaviors when I talk publicly, such as increased heart rate, sweating, heatwaves and I don’t seem to be able to show any facial expression, like smiling.

Suzana,
I can relate to your response about concomitant behaviors. I often feel my heart pounding, but I always, always have difficulty with smiling when speaking publicly. In fact, I am in Toastmasters and that is often one of the pieces of feedback I get, that I should try to smile more when speaking.

I never thought it could possibly be related to my stuttering. In fact,I never heard anyone before this acknowledge not being able to smile as an undesired behavior while stuttering.

As I think back, I can remember feeling tense and looking tense – I have had a couple of my Toastmaster speeches recorded and I remember seeing that I keep a straight face. Hmmm . . . . definitely food for thought here.

Thanks for sharing that!

~Pam

it forces them to overcome their stuttering, especially avoidances.

That may be true but sometimes to overcome one thing you have to give up another. Sorry, but for me it’s not that cut and dried and that is why stuttering is so hard to treat. When a person is forced to to anything for any reason trauma usually results. I never got married because my stuttering forced me underground. Learning how to accept and comply with an idea is different than just doing it to survive in the work force because you have to. You can make a person show up to work on time by telling them they will loose there job if they don’t. You can’t do that with a person who stutters because it not a choice they can make. If your late to work you made that choice. We don’t choose when or when not to stutter. It just happens. How can you be forced to do something you have no control over?

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