Make Room For The Stuttering

Do People Think Of You?

Posted on: April 11, 2012

Many of us in the stuttering community were happy to see stuttering realistically portrayed on the television show “What Would You Do?”  On the April 6, 2012 show, there was a segment about a teenage girl who stutters trying to simply order in a local ice cream shop.

Actors were hired to make fun of her, mimic and bully her while she was speaking. The premise was to see if ordinary, unsuspecting people would stand up and confront the bullies. You can see what happened here.

This was one of the most realistic portrayals of stuttering in the media I have ever seen. Why? Because the young girl actually stutters. She wasn’t acting. And the bullying she faced, along with rude remarks and general impatience, are faced by people who stutter every day.

It was refreshing to see ordinary people come to her defense, and confronting the people bullying the person who stutters.

My question today: how many friends of yours came up to you and said they saw the show and thought of you? Does that happen?

I had at least 5 people mention to me they had seen the show, and asked if I had. They said they thought of me while watching it.

Is it because I stutter that people I know automatically think of me when they see this stuff? Apparently yes!

At work yesterday, one woman said she thought of me when watching it Friday night. She asked if I  had seen it and had something like that (bullying) ever happened to me. Two other women said they had missed it. So we put on the video and all watched it together.

I asked them, lightheartedly, “do you guys always think of me when you see or hear something about stuttering?” They said, “YES.” I said, “Why?’ They said, “because you are so open about it.”

They then asked me if anything like that had ever happened to me. I shared the time a few years ago when a deli clerk made fun of me when I couldn’t say “ch-ch-ch-cheese.” The guy went on to say if I couldn’t say cheese, I’d have to take chicken wings.

My friends  were shocked and asked me how I had reacted. I said I felt humiliated and didn’t do anything – left as quickly as I could and was in tears by the time I left the store. They said I should have called the manager and complained. It’s easier said than done. This happened with 3 people standing in line behind me. No one said anything or came to my defense.

Anyway, does this ever happen to you? Friends see or read something about stuttering and they mention it to you? Or cut the article out of a magazine and give it to you? 🙂

10 Responses to "Do People Think Of You?"

This time the file was opened for me Sim-Salabim (unusual), and I could see it all. Very touching. Bengt

Hey Pam. I have never actually had that happen to me. My friends have rarely even brought up my stuttering over the years. It has kind of been taboo to speak to me about it for whatever reason. Maybe I am in the minority here. Thanks for sharing..

Very interesting question (and great blog post), Pam! Although it doesn’t pertain to the ABC segment, one of my friends told me recently that whenever she hears something about The King’s Speech, she thinks of me.

Yes if something is on TV my parents & parents in law and friends will all get in touch to let me know in case I can’t read the TV listings myself… or it’s not been posted on here a zillion times!! I guess they are just trying to help???

People did think of me when Oprah had a segment about the SpeechEasy being the “cure” for stuttering. People were lined up at my desk the next morning asking me about it and why I wasn’t wearing one.

I don’t think it’s something to be taken offensively. I think when other people pass things along, in a way they think they are helping. As in by passing the information along it will somehow give some unknown information to that person to …help them. Or they may just be trying to convey that they are not clueless about stuttering and know something.. Or even that it is ok.. Haha

Just as if you read an article about another disability and perhaps passed it along to a family with a child with ‘said’ disability. Same thing. Ultimately however, most non-stutterers are not as engrossed or involved in the “stuttering community” as most of us are, and often do not know that the majority of this information is already out there and we are well informed about the latest happenings of stuttering! I can agree that I have been irritated by other people’s “helpfulness” or by the thought that I am what people think of when they hear the word “stuttering”. But nowadays I just smile and nod. I take no offense. 🙂

Yes and now I see it as a positive thing, wasn’t always the case though…

Yes they have Pam. Then there are always some questions. I consider it a good thing

Hi Pam. I agree with Annette that all information and knowledge is a good thing and its good to share and pass on what we know – whether it be helpful or not to the other person 🙂 I have had moments where I have been extremely embarrassed by stuttering situations when ordering food but I’m not sure that the person even realised I had a stutter – I either mumbled or changed my mind about what I was ordering which made me feel useless and I didn’t get the sandwich I wanted!! It must be difficult sometimes for non-stutterers in that the majority of them are not trying to offend us or upset us and do genuinely want to help but get it so wrong too sometimes!

Hey Pam! My boyfriend always tells me if he sees or reads anything interesting about stuttering. I am always glad I get to read it or watch it after he tells me.

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