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Depathologizing Stuttering

We often reason that stuttering reduces quality of life by making communication difficult. This is only half-true. The research literature is clear that people who stutter often have a reduced quality of life. However, the reason for this is less straightforward. The literature is also clear that people who stutter experience discrimination as children and adults. Society is hostile to our way of speaking. Additionally, there are very few narratives available to people who stutter that make positive meaning of the way we talk. Both people who stutter and society in general typically understand stuttering as a character flaw or medical pathology. This positions stuttering as inherently negative, something to minimize or overcome. In this talk, we will discuss alternative ways to view stuttering, drawing on the social model of disability, neurodiversity, and stuttering pride & gain. We will also discuss how these ideas fit into the context of both formal and self-therapy.

Christopher Constantino lives in Tallahassee, Florida with his wife, Megan, and son, Augustine. He is a speech-language pathologist and assistant professor at Florida State University. He teaches classes on counseling and stuttering and researches how the subjective experience of stuttering interacts with culture and society. He recently co-edited the book, Stammering Pride and Prejudice. Chris enjoys riding his bike and eating chocolate chip cookies.