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  • Circle Creek Therapy

What is "Covert Stuttering?"

Updated: 1 day ago

Covert Stuttering occurs when people who stutter pretend or act like they do not stutter even though they do.

People who stutter, (and who are also covert), usually avoid saying certain words that they know they will stutter on. It is common for covert stutterers to order something at a restaurant that they actually do not want because they want to avoid stuttering. If they order what they actually want to eat, then they run the risk of openly stuttering. As a person who stutters, I used to frequently do this whenever I ordered coffee at a cafe.

Another thing that covert stutterers do is work around words that they know will trip them up. Instead of saying, "it is sunny outside", they can say, "it is hot outside." Depending on the word, and the person who stutters, they can come up with many words to replace the ones that they will stutter on.

But, this method of working around the word can't always be used. In cases where the person who stutters needs to say a name of a person, place or thing, they can feel trapped because most of the time, synonyms do not exist for certain nouns.

But, a way that a person who stutters can get around this is by making others indirectly say the word for them. For example, I used to describe a place or thing to someone else, even though I already knew what it was so that they could say the word for me. I would do this because then my stutter wouldn't interrupt the flow of the conversation.

Covert stuttering can be hard to shake because it can be so ingrained into a stutterer's way of life. You have to be brave and break the unhealthy pattern in order to start living the life that you want to live, and saying the things you actually want to say.

I was 21 years old when I first learned about the concept of "covert stuttering". I had been avoiding words that would make me stutter, and I would make others say the word for me since I was a little kid. But, since I started speech therapy at Circle Creek Therapy, I have learned how to avoid and/or cope with these behaviors.

I learned how to tell others that I stutter when I first meet them. I have learned how to feel comfortable with openly stuttering, or even stuttering on purpose. I have decided to order what I want when I order it.

To be honest, there are times when I fall back into old habits. But that is also the beauty of attending speech therapy at Circle Creek. They validate how you are feeling, and your actions. They have encouraged me to do what is right for me, and to keep improving on my goals. I feel so grateful for all that they have done for me, and for being there for me during my stuttering journey.

Call Circle Creek Therapy at 253.237.3405 for information about our services. Or, you can email us at Don't hesitate to reach out because we are always here to help!

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