Minority Within A Minority (Old News)
Posted March 5, 2012on:
A SLP friend emailed me the following article that was printed last month in the ASHA Leader, the newsletter of the American Speech and Hearing Association. The article is entitled “Perspective: A Minority Within A Minority” and written by a professor and a doctoral student from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
I was excited to read the article, at first.
The article discusses the lack of research about women who stutter, and cites the only research done in the field was in the 1970’s and 1980’s, by just ONE researcher. Of course, a lot has changed in 30 years in the world that exists for women who stutter.
What has not changed is that we women who stutter continue to feel very underrepresented, isolated and misunderstood, both in the world in general and in the speech therapy world.
This article points to the woeful lack of resources and support for women who stutter, because, YES, there are gender differences. Ask any woman who stutters!
And there are even research studies starting to surface about brain differences between men and women who stutter. I participated in this brain study at the NIH in 2006. I blogged about this last January (here!)
The main reason I was not excited with this article was that the authors failed to specifically mention, and credit, what is out there in the grass-roots world of support for women who stutter.
The authors mention that electronic blogs and podcasts have become an acceptable source of support for women who stutter. I have been hosting the ONLY podcast for women who stutter since May 2010. It would have been nice if the authors cited this as a reference, instead of just allude to it.
As we know, training programs for SLPs often only require graduate students to take one course on fluency, and sometimes even that is not required. Generations of future SLPs have no idea that women who stutter feel unheard and hugely isolated. What about little girls who stutter? Where will they get the support and inspiration they need? And hope?
I believe we will continue to see a widening gap between the speech therapy field and organic, grassroots venues where women who stutter are given a voice.
More research is needed. I hope when the next professional article is written about women who stutter that the author (s) will talk to some of the women who stutter who are already telling our stories that need to be heard.
What do you think? I’d love to know!