I am here because the presentation that Joshua, Zach, and Nirmala Erevelles gave at the Society for Disability Studies on speech dysfluency opened a new world for me about the connection between Deafness and speech dysfluency and wanted to learn more. Zach described that he is a third generation stutterer, which is also a very common way for Deaf native signers to describe themselves. Joshua and Zach described how stuttering is a normal variation of speech pattern and should not be "fixed" by speech therapists, psychologists, and neuroscientists. Deaf individuals tend to have a similar view on speech therapy and other medical professionals. Nirmala included Deafness and being a non-native English speaker in her presentation. I see a significant connection between stuttering and Deafness. I am extremely grateful that Joshua, Zach, and Nirmala brought to light a topic that has not often been discussed at the Society for Disability Studies.
I am a Deaf child psychologist and enjoy teaching college and university courses. My favorite courses to teach are Language Development, Research Methods, and Development of Disabled Children and Adolescents. In all of the courses I have taught over the years, I always include a Disability Studies framework.
I am here also because of the presentation on speech dysfluency at SDS which had ideas that really resonated with me. I am not a stutterer per say, but I have anxiety induced disfluent speech patterns. But I wonder if it may not be necessary to identify this sort of diagnosis-based model of identifying the source of my disfluency, and that instead it might suffice to say that I am a person who sometimes speaks disfluently. Because my disfluency gives way to being silenced interpersonally and societally, in a way that has made it even more difficult for me to initiate speech because I know people will probably interrupt me or be impatient before I can discuss anything beyond banal, scripted conversation. I never get a chance to discuss my passions and interests, etc unless I have formulated exactly what I am going to say about them in advance. I consider this to be interpersonal and societal/cultural disempowerment as I have been trained to think people will not listen to me when I am speaking dysfluently, thereby hardly speaking at all. So I am hoping that this is an activist community where I can fit in and that I'm not imposing my own experience on a community which is dedicated to something else (those targeted by speech pathologists as having communication disorders such as stuttering). Others are welcome to let me know what you think.
Thank you for sharing; please know that you are more than welcome here! We understand stuttering not as an exclusive club but as a lens through which we can interrogate ableist norms of fluent speech. It will be important for us to attend carefully to the specifics of the experience of stuttering while recognizing that these experiences resonate widely beyond the diagnosis of stuttering. We don't yet know how to do this well but are seeking to learn with the community.
I never get a chance to discuss my passions and interests, etc unless I have formulated exactly what I am going to say about them in advance. I consider this to be interpersonal and societal/cultural disempowerment as I have been trained to think people will not listen to me when I am speaking dysfluently, thereby hardly speaking at all.
This resonates strongly. Even after thinking about these issues for several years, when I speak fluently I feel like I suddenly deserve to be taken seriously, and when I am dysfluent I accept that people won't listen to what I have to say. I apologize for this glib sounding question, but how do you see this changing?
Cool! That makes sense to me, especially with the pathologization of stuttering. /etc.
Yeah, that's a hard question. I always wonder about how to ensure that I won't be interrupted. The idea being that if I know I am going to be able to finish what I'm saying, I won't be anxious about it and I'll be able to take all the time I need. Yet, I often end up silencing myself, when I am speaking dysfluently, assuming that I am wasting people's time by taking so long to say what I want to say. So I just end whatever I'm saying with "nevermind...I don't know" and retreat.
I definitely think this is socially embedded and that a change has to occur on a wider level by nonstutterers/etc to create environments where stutterers and other dysfluent speakers feel they can express everything they mean to say without feeling like a burden on the conversation.
I ran into this website through a link somewhere and thought I'd pop in to say hi!
Background: I'm a PWS who got involved in online disability rights a few years back through a separate disability of mine (I'm on the autistic spectrum). Some time into that, I started realising that actually, my stutter was also a disability and that all these things about the social model and ableism could be applied brilliantly to stuttering and made various things about it make much more sense.
It was, however, a rather lonely realisation. None of the stuttering blogs I knew seemed even remotely familiar with disability rights (oh the "I don't call myself disabled because that would be letting stuttering control my life" posts...), while I never saw another PWS and hardly another person with any sort of speech disorder in the disability spaces I frequented. Moreover, said spaces could be quite ignorant of stuttering and related issues, and I found myself having to put up with people who didn't view it as a disability at all or thought of it as mild or cosmetic. So for a few years I've been wondering if there were any other PWS around who were interested in thinking of it in terms of disability rights and ableism or whether I was just completely out of touch with reality to e.g. be thinking of mandatory speech therapy for stuttering kids as a problem. Finding this website and its linklist has been a real breath of fresh air! Thank you for doing this, thank you for talking about this, thank you for <em>existing</em> so that I can reassure myself I am not, in fact, the only one, and so that I now have something to point people at when it comes to stuttering as a disability rights issue.
So, yeah, you might see me around a bit. Possibly on the speech therapy thread. I have <em>strong feelings</em> about speech therapy.
Welcome Kaz! I'm really excited that you found us and I look forward to hearing from you and being apart of this community. I think that both Zach and I felt alone when we started to rethink stuttering through a disability studies/activism model. Community is so important!
I'm a 22-year-old PWS, and I'm looking forward to chatting and learning about stuttering in a cultural context. I used to try to be covert about it, which basically meant not talking to people too much. I'm in the process of getting over that, and I'm looking to pursue a Masters in Disability Studies somewhere, possibly CUNY.
I am the only person in my family/friend group who stutters, which can be an isolating thing, so I'm excited to join a community that shares that with me.
My mother stutters and her stutter was quite severe when I was younger (she was also learning to speak English at the time, so that can't have been an easy combination to deal with). Her stutter has lessened over time, but it's still pretty significant.
Growing up I would use the way my cohorts reacted to my mother's stutter as a weeding out mechanism. "Oh, you're not cool with the way my mother speaks? Well, I'm not cool with you." I felt so protective of her because of the cruel things that people would say that I would proactively cringe when I knew a thoughtless comment was going to be uttered. I think it was more painful for me to hear the comments than it was for her. I was never embarrassed of her. I just felt this overwhelming need to protect her from feeling mocked and invalidated.
My relationship with my brother was pretty much ruined because of how his future in-laws treated my mother. His then wife-to-be frequently finished my mother's sentences for her and talked down to her. His then father-in-law-to-be insulted my mother right to mine and my brother's faces by complimenting how much she's done with her life "despite her mental deficiencies". I tersely replied that she wasn't mentally deficient. Unfortunately, because I'm an overly polite Canadian, the "you uneducated, ignorant jackass" was left unsaid. I later seethed at my brother that he couldn't marry into that family of cruel, ignorant louts, but although he appeared to be affected by his f-in-law's comment, he seemed to shrug it off. I couldn't condone that so our relationship suffered significantly when he went ahead with the marriage.
I meet with a lot of clients now for my job and I've had a handful of meetings where the client has had a stutter (a couple were stroke survivors, and the rest were younger people with stutters). It hurts me when they seem embarrassed or ashamed of their stutter. I always feel like saying, "Oh, don't be self conscious. You're fine. I understand you perfectly. My mother stutters." But I'm not sure whether that would be too inappropriately personal or condescending. So I just try to ensure that they know I want to hear what they have to say no matter how long it takes. I never interrupt or finish sentences. I think that's incredibly rude.
Hi folks! My name is Erin and I’m a senior at Portland State University studying sociology. Josh reached out to me after seeing my performance of Honest Speech at the National Poetry Slam, and I am thrilled to join this project.
Hi! I should probably introduce myself! My name is Charis and I do not stutter.
I'm Josh St. Pierre's wife, and I've been involved in Did I Stutter since he and Zach first got things started, doing a bit of proofreading and more recently helping facilitate the tumblr.
I absolutely love this project. Josh and I have spent years talking through what his stutter means, and I've had the privilege of witnessing how much understanding the "problem" of stuttering as a social discrimination rather than a biological flaw can transform daily life. As a fluent speaker, though, I am very careful to stay in the background around here. I believe in self-advocacy, and we all know dysfluent speakers have had enough of family, friends and specialists speaking for them.
So I just wanted to say hi, and let you all know I am here, I am involved where I can be, and the rest of the time I am learning to be quiet while others speak.
Hi, I'm Eli. I feel like I should have done this a while ago, but better late than never. I'm trying to think back to the events that let up to me getting here. I think I first saw Erin's Honest Speech video on Tumblr back in October, and her message resonated so strongly with me that I really started to explore what this site is all about. Since that time I would say my thoughts on stuttering have been completely transformed. I now fully embrace the stuttering pride mindset and I'm ready to move forward as a stuttering/disability activist. My activism is beginning in my classroom where I openly stutter and discuss disability as part of identity. I want my students to understand that individual variation makes the world a cool and less boring place.