Don’t Choose Silence
Posted October 22, 2013on:
Today is International Stuttering Awareness Day, a day that recognizes the 1% of the global population that stutters or stammers.
Stuttering is a complicated speech disorder that involves so much more than what (or what does not) come out of our mouths. Stuttering is defined as the involuntary disruption of the normal flow of speech.
It can be characterized by sound repetitions, hesitations, prolongations and blocking, where no sound comes out when the speaker tries to speak. A person who stutters may also exhibit struggle behavior, such as tension or facial grimaces when trying to get their words out.
Stuttering also involves the feelings that go along with not being able to speak fluently. People who stutter often feel enormous shame, fear, guilt, and inadequacy. People who listen to those who stutter often don’t know how to react – and may react negatively, such as roll their eyes, laugh, mock or mimic or walk away.
When those negative listener reactions happen, a person who stutters may feel humiliated or demoralized.
Very often, people who stutter will try to do everything they can to not stutter, because of poor social reactions and those complex feelings under the surface.
Sometimes, people will choose not to speak. They may avoid speaking situations purposely. They may feel they shouldn’t burden others with how they sound or how long it takes for them to speak. They may feel so ashamed that they feel they don’t deserve to speak.
I stutter and have for many years. I have experienced the complicated feelings of fear, shame and embarrassment. I have purposely avoided speaking situations and missed out on life opportunities. Fortunately, I don’t do that anymore.
Don’t you do that either. Whatever you do, don’t choose silence. When we’re silent, we are not connected and engaged with the world. Use your voice and make it be heard. Use speech tools if it helps you, and talk to other people who stutter. But just don’t choose silence. The world needs your voice.
There are many resources available for people who stutter. Here are just a few.
Again, whatever you do, don’t choose silence. Choose to make your voice heard.