Make Room For The Stuttering

My Covert Career – Episode 34

Posted on: November 12, 2010

Episode 34 features Patrice Nolan, who hails from Bennington, Vermont. Patrice and I have been good friends since meeting at a NSA conference several years ago. We realized we only lived about an hour from each other, and have visited each other many times over the last several years.

Patrice has been a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in the Vermont and Massachusetts schools for 33 years. She is also a certified teacher for the hearing impaired. Throughout her career as a SLP, she has kept her stuttering hidden. Until attending her first NSA conference, Patrice didn’t even realize what covert stuttering was, despite being in the speech field.

Join us as we discuss what Patrice refers to as her covert career and how she has managed to pull that off as a SLP. She shares honestly about how much energy she has spent on avoidance and rehearsal, her main techniques to appear fluent. We discuss how listening can be compromised when constantly rehearsing what she is going to say.

Patrice also shares about her first therapy experiences as an adult, which she refers to as “The Other Side of the Table.” And we discuss a TV program that Patrice loved as a kid. It may have been the first weekly television program that featured a regular character who stuttered, depicted positively.

This was a great conversation with a friend, who realized that it was not as hard as she thought to share her story. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions or just let Patrice know what a great job she did.

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

4 Responses to "My Covert Career – Episode 34"

Hello Patrice and Pam,

I just wanted to say hi and that I enjoyed the wonderful show! Patrice, I met you at the national stuttering conference (I do not know if you remember me). I just wanted to say hi and hopefully I will see you at the NSA conference next year.

Thanks, Pam and Patrice,

A wonderful show. Such honesty, Patrice. I am so happy at the courage you have shown and the progress that you have made. I do hope that you can come to the Weekend Workshop (First weekend in April). Nice job interviewing, Pam. Hope that you can come, too.
Best to you both.
Sister Char

I don’t know if you are yet accepting comments on your earlier episodes such as this one, but I think you have a great collection of podcasts featuring people who stutter who are SLP’s and this one was particularly very interesting!

Although you did ask this question to Patrice Nolan, I can’t help ask the same again. How can anyone be covert about their own stuttering being a Speech Pathologist for so many years!! WOW! Ms. Nolan did mention that she was not exposed to the idea of covert stuttering until she attended her first NSA meeting but such a thing really strikes me as astounding. I could also relate to her when she spoke about avoidance and rehearsal. Many a times before, and even now, I find myself rehearsing what I would say just so that I can sound fluent.

Very interesting and thought-provoking episode!


I don’t close comments on any of the episodes. So feel free to comment on anything at any time. I do however have moderation enabled, so I have to approve all comments. This is a necessity to keep out the spam and the occasional unacceptable comments – not in opinion, but in use of language. I won’t allow that on my site. So when you are posting, because we have such a time difference, it may take a while for it to show up.
Patrice is a good friend of mine. I couldn’t wait to have her as a guest on here, because I had such a hard time understanding how a SLP could stutter and try to hide it. It seemed like such a conflict given the profession. But given her answers, one can further understand the levels of shame involved in stuttering that make it so difficult to work with. It was good that we are friends, as she allowed me to put her on the spot like that. That had to be hard to be confronted with such a question, from a friend, on a forum that would be public, but also, I guess, upon self-reflection as well.
Glad you liked this. There is so much we can learn from each other.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. 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 2022.
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