Stuttering and the big ‘A’

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Stuttering and the big ‘A’

Written by: Dr. Heather Grossman

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Why does everybody keep talking about “accepting” stuttering?

At AIS, we promote that people who stutter strive to accept their stuttering. This makes some people cringe! They ask, “Why should I accept something that is so annoying? I don’t want to accept it, I want to learn to control it!”

We maintain that you cannot really come to change something you don’t accept. If, for example, you do not accept a diagnosis of diabetes, you will not be apt to change your diet, adhere to a prescribed medication schedule nor make healthy lifestyle modifications.

When a person who stutters (PWS) resists stuttering, he or she usually adopts avoidance behaviors such as substituting words and situations. Unfortunately, even though these avoidances seem to eliminate some stuttering, they only serve to increase fear and perpetuate more avoidance. Further, when a stuttering block does occur, the body naturally recoils with physical tension. Many people find that their stuttering is most severe in situations where they are trying hardest to be fluent. The core of the problem of stuttering is actually made up of all the things the person does in order NOT TO STUTTER.

Applying this principle to therapy, we find once individuals accept that they are a “person who stutters,” as well as accept moments of stuttering, they can start to modify those moments and maintain a forward-flow of speech. When people accept their stuttering, they enter situations and use words they might normally avoid. They are willing to tell others that they stutter, and are open to letting others see and hear instances of stuttering without shame or embarrassment. They communicate effectively and also happen to stutter.

Many clients tell us that it was only when they came to fully accept their stuttering that they started to communicate without fear, tension, and shame. With acceptance comes opportunity.


3 Comments

  1. Darque Wing April 18, 2015 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    I have no problem with friends, yes friends that are afflicted. Person to person discussions are what happens. You can leave any embarassment at the door. I am a stutterer.

  2. Moe May 10, 2015 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Thank you for your beautifully written article. As a PWS, I cannot agree more with your sentiment — I am even writing a book about my experiences, imparting the same message you conveyed in your article.

    Keep on writing 🙂

  3. Stuttering Link Roundup – May 14, 2015 at 3:31 am - Reply

    […] From the American institute of Stuttering — on why we should accept our stuttering. […]

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