Archives for February 2015

Helping To Shatter The Stigma That Is Stuttering

For many years, stuttering has had a stigma attached to it that has helped perpetuate the belief that those with this speech impediment would somehow become less successful because of it.

As with anything that marks a person out as ‘different’, stuttering has been seen as just one of many prejudices that humans hold against each other.

We are essentially pack creatures, and as such we are comfortable when everyone around us is the same. It is why we have a tendency to mix with people of the same religion, or the same ethnic background, or the same belief system. There is comfort in conformity.

Public opinion is like a moving platform though, and like shifting sands that change shape at a moment’s notice, that opinion can be as different today as it was yesterday, and will be tomorrow.

Prominent figures like Joe Biden (US Vice President) and Jack Welch (retired Chairman and CEO of General Electrics), have both documented their own stories with having this form of speech impediment.

These personal stories from infinitely successful men, along with films like the Kings Speech, chronicling the real life story of King George VI, and his own battle with a severe stutter, help to show another side to stuttering – one of the great strength that those who suffer have to have in order to overcome it.

Nowadays, stuttering is no longer seen as something that has to be brushed under the carpet and not discussed. Now it is seen simply as a speech disorder that can be unlocked in order to unleash a person’s true potential.

On a personal level, stuttering doesn’t have to be the closed door to success. Resilience and resolve are not only traits that see stutters fight to drive themselves forward, but, also for business people to get to the top of their chosen career. One does not have to be the end of the other.

Achieving success with overcoming a stutter

Stuttering is not and should not be seen as a character flaw. Just as a blind person will not see by ‘focusing more’, stuttering will not be eliminated by ‘calming down’.

Any stutterer requires an enormous amount of strength, patience, and belief in their own ability to overcome their stutter. Again these are all traits that are carried by those who go and make a difference in the world.

Genius often comes in guises that don’t fit in to the box labelled ‘normal’. Stephen Hawkins and Alan Turing are arguably two modern day geniuses who have contributed greatly to their own fields. Granted, neither stutter, but neither fit into the ‘average Jo’ box either.

So, next time you encounter someone who stutters, stop and think about the qualities that they have that enable them to deal with that stutter on a daily basis.

Think about the strength of character that it takes to go out into the world every day without the ability to communicate in the same way as everyone else. Think about the resolve and resilience that it takes to keep moving forward.

That must take a lot mustn’t it? Change your attitude and see the positives because your attitude is what will change the stigma. Your attitude is what will enable that person to unlock his or her potential. And that can only ever be a benefit to the world.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at