Make Room For The Stuttering

Procrastination and Stuttering

Posted on: October 19, 2011

My good friend Nina G, who is an amazing role model for “differently-abled” people, including people who stutter, found this blog post called Procrastination: Do You Stutter or Stammer? The author tries to correlate procrastination to stuttering or stammering.

The name of the blog is Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, and focuses on re-framing negative self-talk into ways to make positive changes in our lives.

Good stuff! Everybody has negative self-talk that can consume us if we let it. It’s always good to find ways to re-think things so we don’t get and stay “stuck.”

Except when we find the use of the words stuttering or stammering to imply something negative, that needs to be fixed or changed.

Here’s the comment I wrote on Mike Reeves-McMillan’s post. Figured I’d put it here, in case they don’t publish it!

What about those of us who really stutter? It’s not quite so simple unfortunately. I am a fast talker and a fast thinker – and I stutter. Have since I began talking. And I am an amazing communicator. I don’t procrastinate more than the average person, I don’t “stop” and “start” with my speech. I just happen to stutter sometimes, as do 1% of the adult population here in the United States (about 3 million of us) and 1% in the UK as well, and worldwide in fact. That’s a lot of people!

We are not intellectually or emotionally impaired, nor are we nervous, anxious, shy or withdrawn. What we are is this: fed up with people who casually use the words “stuttering” or “stammering” to convey a negative connotation. Sports teams get off to “stuttering starts.” A nervous teenager on his first date “stammers” hello. Employees on interviews should take care not to “stutter or stammer” their way through the first question, or risk making an indelible negative first impression.

I am all for people such as yourself selling books to help people manage their time better or figure out what obstacles exist that result in procrastination, which afflicts all of us at some point in our life.

For those of us who stutter (as it is routinely referred to here in the U.S.) or stammer (as it is routinely referred to in Europe), it is not a routine fix. Many of us struggle every day against negative social consequences, educational and vocational discrimination and exclusion. I stutter and I am very successful! I stutter and am actively involved in Toastmasters! I stutter and help people every day! I stutter and work with youth and young adults! I stutter and live and work and play in the same world as everyone else! And it’s OK!

What do you think about the use of the word “stuttering” or “stammering” when relating it to something that can be perceived as negative?

Let me know what you think!

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12 Responses to "Procrastination and Stuttering"

I don’t think my post will be published there either but this is what i wrote there –
“This is crazy. How can you associate procrastination with stuttering. Stuttering is a disability which effects 1% of the entire world population whose biological roots have been discovered. One can project himself as a non-stutterer which means hide his stutter by using few speech management techniques and approach-avoidance techniques but can never cure his stutter completely. I’ve been through that road.
I’m an Indian person who stutters since roughly 4-5 years of age. And excuse me for saying this but i don’t agree with your analogy which you’ve drawn here at all, i find it very naive.

My comment was published, along with several others from people who stutter who shared my opinion. 🙂 Nice to see that the moderator chose the high road and allowed dissenting perspectives.
He has not replied to any of the comments about stuttering specifically, like he did to several of the earlier comments that praised his post.
Maybe he will, or maybe he won’t. But in any case, nice to see that he has the grace to publish comments from those of us who disagree.
Freedom of speech, and opinion, at work!

Yes :). I didn’t expect him to approve my comment coz it was kind of strong but he published it anyway. And i see that he has also allowed other harsh comments as well. It goes to show that, how ignorant fluent people are about stuttering. Looks like he believes what he’s writing out there, well that’s his perspective but that needs to be changed.

Pam, you need to be a writer! Honestly, you express your thoughts so well, no matter what the subject is. Just imagine! Pamela M. on the bestseller list. You always rock it, you rock star! Great response to this man’s statements.

I just read the blog post you have linked to Pam. Interesting stuff. It’s always fun reading/listening to non-stuttering people talk about stuttering! The fear and worry of stuttering can cause serious procrastination though.

Agreed – but the way you put that clearly spells that out. The author did not make that clear – he implied that stuttering IS procrastination. I too agree it’s interesting to see how fluent people view something that we can struggle with mightily and they don’t even know we are struggling with it. Thanks for the comment!

First of all, I am so jealous of Pam’s eloquency in the face of ignorance and clear thinking! She is awesome! Inspired by this I posted the following…

I appreciate the dialogue on this post. As a person who stutters I think that it is important to consider one person’s experience as exactly that. I have not seen research to support the claims of the presenter you have seen. In fact the techniques you talk abut to “cure” stuttering are used by people to hide their stuttering and hide their voice. A real analogy would be how to hide your procrastination because that is what these techniques do for stuttering.

It is problematic when someone appropriates examples from another culture, and yes stuttering is a culture! You risk this level of criticism. But it is also an opportunity to understand those of us who have been marginalized in a deeper way.

Thanks Nina! At least someone thinks I am eloquent! 🙂
Great follow-up comment!

This is what I posted on Mike’s site:
“Mike,
I am a person who has stuttered since 4 years old. I stuttered severely from age 4 to about 25 years old.I have since changed my mindset about my stuttering, completely on my own. I have since been speaking about 90% fluent (my definition of fluent is speaking with little fear of my stuttering) and the 10% is the way I used to stutter. However I have learned that this 10% is not that bad because I know it will only last a short time, usually no more than a day.
OK, now that you know my history, let’s discuss this article. I am very grateful that you as a non-stutter took such a strong interest in people who do. This is a rare thing to see, the only people I know of are the ones that have a close relationship with a person who stutters. So, thank you.
You may not have gotten all of the details right with the comparisons, but I understand why, because you don’t understand the extreme nature of how stuttering, which I named mine “The Monster”, has a strong deep hold on us and influence every aspect of our lives, not just the act of speaking.
Most of the time these tips that you suggest; relax, slow down, change it up and listen differently will only work for a short period time or they become “crutches” for people who stutter. What I did instead was take a look at the deeper root of my stuttering and changed my mindset on how I view and react to “The Monster” and this allowed me to have less fear at a deeper level.
If any person would like to explore this concept with me, then look my article “Mindset Map for the Positive Stutterer” at my site http://www.bryanscottherr.com/mindset-map-for-the-positive-stutterer/.
I would like to thank you again for not being afraid to put a different perspective on stuttering.

Sincere Thanks,
Bryan Scott Herr”

Bryan,
Thanks for checking in and leaving your comment here. I really appreciate that – it gives people a chance see how many perspectives there are, as well as what approaches people take to manage their stuttering.
I agree that many “techniques” can become crutches for people who stutter to really avoid talking. I know some people who stutter who rely almost entirely on text just to avoid possible ridicule.
And I like that you chose a name for your stuttering. Me too – when I first starting being open about stuttering, I named mine, “Rainn”, as is “Rain, Rain go away . . . . . ”
Hope you check in again!
~Pam

[…] and how my post was hurtful and insensitive. One of the stutterers who blogs also picked it up and posted about it, and the pingback from that post was the first thing I saw when I checked my email that […]

[…] I posted a piece about procrastination and stuttering. The topic had been discussed on Facebook after another blogger wrote about procrastination, using […]

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