When you think of someone who stutters, who do you usually think of?
Do you think of Colin Firth who plays King George VI in "The King's Speech"? Or do you think of the quiet person in the back of the room? Are they always “shy”?
Maybe you do not even know what a “stutterer” looks like. Statistics show that only 1% of the population have a stutter. It is very possible that you have never met someone with a speech impediment. Without any experience, what would you expect?
From my experience as a person who stutters, here are some stereotypes or misconceptions that I have run into, and maybe some of these might be what you expect:
“Stutterers are all quiet.”
Although I am not a great example contradicting this statement, it is not always true. Naturally, I am very introverted. In high school, I was known for always being quiet. Even though I am introverted, I have noticed that since then--with the help of my speech therapist at Circle Creek Therapy--I have become more outspoken. To be honest, I always felt like talking more in high school, but I was afraid to because of my stutter. Since I have started college, and since I have been working at Circle Creek, my confidence has grown, and I am not as well known for being quiet anymore.
“Stutterers are dumb.”
I have never been told that I am dumb, but I have sometimes gotten the feeling that others are thinking that of me. In movies, stutterers are sometimes portrayed as “slow” or “stupid."
According to Beth Gilbert, “The average IQ of people who stutter is 14 points higher than the national average” (“Stuttering: Myth vs. Facts”). A person who stutters might actually be smarter than you think!
“Can’t they just take a few deep breaths? Or calm down? It can’t be that hard.”
Taking deep breaths is a part of coping and getting past a stutter, but sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes it can be so overwhelming, that trying to calm down can seem impossible. So starting over, and THEN taking a deep breath is what can make it easier.
“Stutters can’t be actors/actresses, public speakers, or radio hosts.”
When I was younger, I never thought that I would see anyone with a stutter do any of these jobs. But I was wrong! There is an endless number of people who are wildly successful despite their stutter. Individuals such as: Ed Sheeran, Emily Blunt, Marilynn Monroe, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and many more!
“People who stutter don’t have a voice.”
Out of all of the misconceptions that I have listed, this one couldn’t be farther from the truth. Those who stutter might not always have the words come out smoothly, but their unique insight can bring a beautiful and eye-opening perspective into this world.
If you would like to know more about how our speech therapists can assist those who stutter, please give us a call at 253.237.3405!
Source: Gilbert, Beth. "Stuttering: Myth vs. Fact | Psych Central - Part 2." Psych Central. N.p., 17 July 2016. Web. 03 June 2017. <https://psychcentral.com/lib/stuttering-myth-vs-fact/2/>.