Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘awareness of stuttering

The second week of May is designated as National Stuttering Awareness Week in the United States. This week was declared by Congress in 1988, through the dedicated advocacy work of persons who stutter.

It is a week where people who stutter speak up and out and educate those who don’t stutter about stuttering. It’s also a week to raise awareness about a communication disorder that only affects 1% of the population. That may seem like a small number, but it amounts to over 3 million Americans. That’s a lot of people who share stuttering.

If there’s one thing I’d like people who don’t stutter to know about stuttering it’s this: Stuttering is so much more than what comes out of our mouth. The repetitions and blocks only last moments. The underlying feelings of shame, guilt and fear can last years and can greatly impact our self esteem and world view.

If you encounter someone who stutters for the first time and you’re not sure how to react, use good judgement and react and listen just as you would to any speaker. Be patient, respectful and maintain eye contact. When you look away, the person who stutters feels uncomfortable and awkward and it may even make the stuttering moment worse or longer.

If you don’t understand something we’ve said, ask us to repeat it. Keep in mind that things like job interviews and public speaking create anxiety for the person who stutters, just as it would for a normally fluent speaker.

I am posting things about stuttering on my Facebook page all this week and also wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper that was published on Monday. What will you do to raise awareness about stuttering? If we who stutter don’t do it, who will?

“Stutterer” won the Oscar last night at the Academy Awards for best live action short film. It was up against 4 other short films and clearly moved audiences. The Academy got it right by bestowing the award on “Stutterer.”

Have you seen it yet? It is only 12 minutes long  and you can buy it from YouTube and make it part of your personal library.

The stuttering community is abuzz about the film, with people offering mixed feelings about how the character’s stuttering was portrayed. People are also talking about how they feel about another character with “flawed” communication being the one to interact with the stutterer.

The film really helps put into perspective the whole notion of imperfections.

Do check it out when you can.

 

 

That was heard Sunday night a few times as Academy Award winners picked up their Oscars and gave acceptance speeches. It was an extraordinary night for people who stutter. We now have a dignified face put on that which we often hide out of fear and shame.

The King’s Speech won for Best Actor (Firth), Best Director (Hooper), Best Screen Play/Writer (Seidler) and Best Picture. Sweet!

Stuttering is hard to talk about, but has been made easier these past few months and will surely continue in light of this triumph!

My own mother, who doesn’t often say anything about my stuttering, or what I have done with being open about it, did so tonight. Using social media, she posted this on facebook  just a few minutes after The King’s Speech won Best Picture.

“Very good night that you really deserve and I know people (including me) appreciate how much you have done to break down walls and shatter secrets and shine a light in some dark corners.”

That was more important to me than anything else I heard the Hollywood people say. Thanks Mom! That touched me!

And below is David Seidler accepting his academy award and thanking people who stutter all over the world.


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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2017.