Make Room For The Stuttering

Stuttering Radar

Posted on: December 19, 2012

Whenever I hear someone else stutter, that I wasn’t expecting, my stuttering radar kick in. What do I mean?

I was at a networking meeting on Thursday and a woman from a local agency was the main presenter. She stuttered. My ears picked it up right away and I felt my cheeks warm, as this surprised me. I am used to being the only one at these meetings who stutters.

And here was this woman talking and stuttering easily. She had no visible signs of tension or struggle. Her stuttering was in the form of hesitations and repetitions.

She was a very good speaker. She kept eye contact while talking and didn’t seem bothered at all by her stuttering. Neither did any of the listeners. There was no visible reaction by any listeners. I know this, as I glanced around to see how people were responding. Everyone was respectfully listening and making appropriate eye contact with the speaker.

I was the only one who appeared to be taken with the fact that this woman was also a stutterer. Thoughts went through my mind: “Hey, I stutter too!” “You go girl.” “Should I say something to her after?” Would that be appropriate? Would she be OK with that?

I decided not to react to her any differently than I would to any other speaker. After all, she was doing something I do all the time too. Speaking, presenting, sharing information that other people need and want.

As a stutterer, my radar kicks up a notch when I hear someone else stuttering. Perhaps it’s just the novelty of, for once, not being the only one in the room who experiences less than perfect speech.

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8 Responses to "Stuttering Radar"

Yes! Of course it has only happened maybe two times in my entire life, but I know what you mean. Before I dealt with my stuttering, if a person stuttered in a movie, I would sit there in the dark in total shock, embarrassed and in shame. (I am glad I am beyond that reaction at this point in my life.)

Yes this happens all the time to me and it happens to everyone close in my life. The ears perk up, my heart races just a bit and then my NSAishnish (new word for the day) kicks in. I start accessing the situation…are they okay? Do they need help and resources? Do they have a clue that there is this huge world of us out there? I do reach out to them though and I almost always find there is that “instant” bond that we all experience when we meet.

Pam, are you sure she stuttered? I mean, she was a PWS? When I just joined toastmasters, I a couple of time heard speakers who repeated words, hesitated, said ums and uhs a lot. I would wonder – do they stutter? Their speech wasn’t fluent this was for sure. After i was with one of them in the same club for a couple of years, I know that this was just an extreme case of discombobulation when nervous and unsure. I swear, she sounded like she stuttered, but she did not. Her stutter wasn’t the type i had – not freeze-block type, but really obviously disfluent.
Anna

Yeah, she stutters. Repetitions, blocks, unnatural hesitations – I knew it right away, and was so tempted to appoach her after, but did not want to “out her” or embarass her if she herself does not acknowledge it.

Yes, this has happened to me twice in the past 6 years!! Actually one of them happened in the past month or two at my job. I heard it and just like that it put me on the alert. I am glad i had the opportunity to have a casual visit (not mentioning stuttering at all) with her before she moved on. I felt an instant bond with her. It was neat to experience that.

Thanks Connie. I remember approaching a guy I heard at a Toastmasters meeting and said something like, “I stutter too,” trying to be appoachable, as his was very obvious. He got offended and denied it, so I just congratualted him for a great speaking job and left it at that.
To me, its often a fine line. Thhis is only the third time it’s occured with me. That’s why I was so keen – my ears perked up immediately. 🙂

Hello, There was someone in my class senior year that stuttered. She was so overt and confident about it. She would get up and give presentations and stutter away and it didn’t seem to bother her. She would raise her hand and offer opinion or answer, I thought at that time in my life( I was 18) if only I was that open. But yeah I picked it up right away and actually felt good about the fact that someone else stuttered. Also, in one of my college classes last year there was a boy around my age that stuttered. He didn’t seemed to be phased by it either.

I too experienced this kind of situation. Thanks for sharing.

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