Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘voluntary stuttering

PamEpisode 132 features Emma Alpern, who hails from Brooklyn, New York. Emma works in the publishing industry, editing young adult fiction. She has always loved working with new books.

Stuttering got her into reading and writing in the first place, and also piqued her interest in words.

Listen in as we discuss workplace communication and advertising, being covert, Emma’s relationship with her stuttering, and speech therapy thoughts and experiences.

We also discuss the importance of finding others that stutter and Emma’s experience at National Stuttering Association (NSA)chapter meetings and her first NSA conference.

Emma wrote an article called Good Communication on the blog “Did I Stutter?” We discuss what good communication means and our thoughts on whether stuttering is a disability.

This was a perfect conversation, one that could have gone on for hours. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions for Emma.

The podcast safe music clip used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.


Last night at my Toastmasters meeting, I was surprised by how someone introduced me at the start of the meeting. I will also admit that I was a bit embarrassed.

I was scheduled to be the Toastmaster, or emcee, for the evening. Therefore, the club president had to introduce me. As the theme of the meeting was perseverance, he chose to tie perseverance into his introduction of me.

The president indicated that I was a person who epitomizes courage and perseverance, as it takes courage to be a person who stutters and a Toastmaster. He went on to say that I have risen through the ranks of Toastmasters and achieved the highest designation, that of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM.) He asked people to take note of how I run the meeting, as I am a good role model for fellow members and guests.

He stated that it takes courage to stutter and embrace public speaking and that I am an inspiration to the club. He concluded that I am a hero to him.

When I stood up and proceeded to speak, I was aware that I was embarrassed. Both for the high praise and words of kindness, but also because he introduced me as a person who stutters. I don’t remember ever getting an introduction like that in my eight years in Toastmasters.

I thanked him for his hearty introduction and remarked that I hoped I could live up to his lofty words.

I was embarrassed because someone else was advertising that I stutter to people who didn’t know that about me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed that I stutter, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting this type of introduction and I felt a bit taken aback.

On the plus side, though, I found that I allowed myself to stutter more freely throughout my remarks during the meeting and even did some voluntary stuttering.

What do you think? How would you have felt if someone had given a surprise introduction like that?


Episode 115 features Cora Campbell, who hails from Temecula, California. Cora is a Speech Pathology Assistant and a NSA Chapter leader for a chapter she started just six months ago.

Listen in as we discuss career decisions and how stuttering often influences our career pathway. Cora mentions that she didn’t want to work in the “back of places.”

We also discuss advertising, openly stuttering in front of others and voluntary stuttering. Cora relates a story about meeting two women who stutter out in the community and how she chose to be open about her stuttering.

We also discuss how Cora got involved with the self help community and found the National Stuttering Association and went on to found her own chapter in her community.

Feel free to leave comments below. Feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

I saw an interesting link to a blog called The Stuttering Source on Facebook and decided to check it out. The link was to the recent post about when does stuttering therapy end for a person who stutters.

The blog is written by a SLP who works as a Fluency Clinic Supervisor at the National Speech Language Therapy Center in Maryland.

I’m always interested in stuttering blogs so I decided to look at older posts.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a video of myself in the next post, titled The 411 on Voluntary Stuttering. The blogger used my video (with credit and a link to my blog) as a springboard to talk about how she uses voluntary stuttering in therapy.

I had kind of forgotten I had done this video. Of course I watched it again and quite enjoyed it. Hope you do too!

I’ve noticed that on days when I have very little opportunity for speaking that my stuttering is more pronounced when I do finally speak.

Has anyone had that experience?

I’ll notice it when I have to make a telephone call, that I’ll trip or block on words that I hardly ever do. It must be the lack of practice!

My friend J has a similiar experience. He works from home every other week, so does not have that social contact and interaction that you usually find in the workplace.

He then has more silent blocks when he gets back to consistent talking.

I have suggested that he try voluntary stuttering in these situations. He doesn’t always take my suggestions.

I have tried voluntary stuttering myself, when I want to claim more control or even to advertise when I think I’m going to stutter a lot.

What do you think?

How many of you have the iPhone 4S with Siri? Do you use it? Do you like it?

Today I got together with a couple of friends who stutter and we hung out over lunch and caught up, with lots of laughing and stuttering.

We got talking about the dictation apps on smartphones and one friend wanted to know how it works with someone who stutters. He wanted to know if the application “heard the stuttering” and “typed” that out. I told him I didn’t know, as I don’t stutter when I’m alone!

We decided to try it at the restaurant. I don’t have Siri, but I do have “Dragon Dictation” on my smartphone. You can speak into the recorder and the application types your words, which you then can send as a text message or post to social media.

My friends suggested I try it to see how it would work. Interestingly, I felt self-conscious doing some voluntary stuttering in front of them. I needed to do that in order to stutter enough in order for our little experiment to be valid. After a few seconds of voluntary stuttering, I found myself full-on blocking.

The recorder picked up almost exactly what I said perfectly, because it apparently took the “blocks” as just pauses. We decided that wasn’t good enough, as I hadn’t had any repetitions.

Another friend tried it. At first, he spoke as he typically does, with blocking and few repetitions. The application flashed the message “could not process.” We didn’t like that.

He then did a lot of voluntary repetitions instead of blocking. The dictation application picked up the stuttering and typed out “did did did did” as part of one of his phrases. We all said “Boo” and decided we’d had enough of this little experiment. We declared that obviously smartphone dictation applications weren’t designed by people who stutter, nor to be well used by people who stutter.

What do you think? Is there a modication that can or should be made with dictation apps for people who stutter?

I was asked this week during a meeting to introduce myself and tell my “story” to a new team I will be working with. The Director wanted to know our work and personal backgrounds, and essentially what makes us tick and our values.

I chose to include some discussion about my stuttering journey, as how I handle stuttering impacts just about everything I do.

Reflecting back on what I said in that discussion and some questions asked, here is my list of how you should care for and feed your stuttering.

1. If you stutter, stutter. Don’t just say you stutter and then not stutter – you don’t look credible then.

2. When talking about it, relax, maintain eye contact and smile. It really does engage listeners.

3. If someone asks a question, answer it honestly. I was asked, “I don’t know much about stuttering, can you tell me a little more about it?” Do that!

4. Voluntary stutter periodically, especially if you are having a really fluent day. Sounds counter-intuitive, but that’s part of caring for your stutter.

5. Be sure to feed your stuttering – don’t be afraid of blocks or signs of tension. If you have disclosed, it will be expected. Your stuttering will eat that up and relax.

6. Acknowledge feelings you have about stuttering. Know that shame and fear of judgement still creep in from time to time. That’s why it’s so important to care for your stuttering by being good to it and not hiding it.

7. Don’t spend precious time and energy trying not to stutter – it rarely works. It’s more efficient to just stutter and move forward.

8. Thank others who take an interest and ask questions.

9. Thank your stuttering when it has a particularly good day. Say, “Thank you stuttering!”

10. Share these care and feeding tips with others – people who stutter or not.  It gives your stuttering more confidence.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2019. 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 2019.
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