I find that society has come a long way in its interpretation and acceptance of stuttering, but subtle (well-intentioned) assumptions still remain. As a person who stutters and speech-language pathologist, I am frequently asked the following questions. Here’s my take in answering them.
Surprised, I texted another stuttering friend who I knew had seen the movie. "There's a character who stutters?" He responded that yes there was, but it was so minor that he didn't even notice until someone else pointed it out.
In the intervening eons between opening night and Sunday, when I finally watched the film, I continued to receive messages. Some people were outraged that stuttering was associated with this ne'er-do-well. Some thought it was cool that stuttering was in Star Wars, at all. And some didn't even notice.
“Clinic!” Stella exclaimed, appalled. “A stuttering clinic?” She was mortified by this new concept she had just discovered on Google.
“Yeah, I don’t like that word either,” I said. “Would you call this place a clinic?”
“No!” she retorted, still visibly disturbed. “A clinic is for sick people. Stuttering doesn’t make you sick!”
“Well, what would you call this?”
She barely hesitated. “Therapy!” She said it with a bright smile. “But not the bad kind of therapy,” she continued quickly. “The good kind.”
An episode of the podcast, "Stuff You Should Know", called “How Stuttering Works”, recently hit the airwaves. “Stuff You Should Know” (SYSK) is a popular podcast and video series published by the How Stuff Works website, with the tag line "Learn how everything works!" The show discusses a wide variety of topics and disorders, both common and unusual. This episode focused on stuttering. Hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant discussed several well-researched aspects of stuttering. While many claims were articulated accurately, others seemed to be alarmingly misinterpreted.
Communication anxiety prevails. Awkwardness is a fate worse than death. Being silent, isolated, and avoidant is the only path for anyone who is not a naturally gifted communicator. And that last part is the worst...because almost everyone except for you seems to have an easy time with conversation and communication. If you're struggling, well, you're one of the weird outliers.
There is good news, and there is bad news.
The good news is, you are not the only one struggling. Many people-- I believe the majority of people-- struggle with conversation. The bad news is: it's because conversation is actually pretty hard. The struggle is real!
How is it that a parent and clinician can share such similar beliefs about stuttering and speech therapy, and yet experience such friction when discussing these same topics?
An update to last year’s blog post, by popular demand from friends, colleagues, and many Internet strangers! Now that Hodor's story has been fully explained, we once again return to the question: does Hodor have aphasia?
There is an oft-repeated moralism in our field that "SLPs should model good communication," which I generally agree with. The problem is, because the vast majority of us hail from the same communication culture, our interprofessional conception of "good communication" can easily be more culturally-defined than clinically-defined.
"This other mom told me that stuttering is progressive, and it really scared me. That means it's just going to get worse! I don't know what to do."
We had a long talk, but this experience of hers stuck with me. Stuttering is not, in fact, "progressive", but it's a term that is often thrown around and very understandably confused with another technical p-word that the "experts" use: persistent.
What's the difference, and why does it matter so much? Well, read on...
With 2016 just a few days away, I have spent my holiday lull preparing our practice and assisting clients with changes to their health insurance, and how this impacts their speech therapy. Health care and insurance offerings have been steadily evolving since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, and more is in store for 2016.
If you're considering speech therapy in 2016, or are currently in therapy and your plan has changed from 2015 to 2016, here are some basics to understand. If your plan doesn't cover therapy, or therapy with the provider that you want, there are also some options. (Skip to the end for the secret stuff.)