Natalie Belling and Courtney Luckman are speech therapists and people who stutter.
“I have trouble speaking sometimes. The words don’t come out fluent, or they don’t come out at all. This happens especially when I’m excited, nervous, or during stressful situations.”
”No no, not stuttering. Just….stuck.”
"Stuttering is when people repeat or prolong sounds, right?"
Dear speech IRL friends,
As you all know, community is one of the founding values of speech IRL. We believe that access to a supportive, accepting, challenging community is essential for successful communication and personal growth.
As an extension of the values and work that we hold dear at speech IRL, I am deeply excited to share with you about a very special endeavor that I’ve had the honor to work on for the past year. Welcome to Shared Voices Chicago: A Community for People Who Stutter.
Shared Voices is envisioned as a Chicago-based non-profit community center for people who stutter, by people who stutter. We want people who stutter to speak authentically and confidently in their professional and personal lives, without fear of judgment or barriers to success.
This is a first-of-its-kind concept: a brick-and-mortar meeting space, both safe and empowering, that welcomes PWS into a safe community, and simultaneously supports them to go out and create a better world for people with diverse voices. This is not a speech therapy clinic. All activities will be created by the stuttering community, for the stuttering community, to meet the needs of today and change the world for tomorrow.
“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.
"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...
This is a short self-reflection post.
I've shared with several people recently my belief that people who stutter have greater potential to become excellent overall communicators than most of the general population. Yes, stuttering is often accompanied by many unproductive "side effects" that make communication feel difficult. However, these difficulties can also be the spark for tremendous self-awareness and conscious choice-making during communication moments.
This course provides advanced theoretical and clinical instruction in the area of communication fluency. This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the historical, scientific, and clinical issues surrounding fluency. In the second half of the course, students will be assigned a fluency client for hands-on experience connecting theory to practice.
One of my favorite stuttering explanations / response to being teased comes from a former 5th grade student of mine. I had asked him if the other kids at school ever comment on his speech.
"Well, yesterday, I was talking and this kid interrupted me while I was stuttering. He was like, 'Hey man, what's wrong with you? Do you have like a glitch or something?' So I said 'Yeah, I do.' And he was like, 'Oh, OK,' and then we kept playing."