How Bad Do You Stutter?

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Re: Internet Communication

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 03 Oct 2007
Time: 16:55:48 -0500
Remote Name:


Hi Maureen, Wow, you asked some REALLY TOUGH questions! Maybe someone has more authoritative numbers than mine. I sure hope so! With that warning most of my answers are nothing more than SWAGs (Scientific Wild Ass Guesses). The first question you asked was "... what is your estimate for the percentage of PWS who don't choose the therapy route?" This is just a WAG, but I'd say a LOT, maybe 80% or greater. A lot of people who have relatively mild stuttering simply are not bothered by their stuttering. I know several people like that. No therapy, no support group involvement, no nuthin'. They just live their lives with the condition and are worried about a lot more important things in their lives. People set their own priorities in life, and we have to respect that. .... At the other end of that spectrum are those very severe stutterers who live lives like a hermit, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. They do what they can as long as it requires a bare minimum of human interaction. They just accept their lot in life. It's sad, but I know these people are out there. ..... Another category of people either are not AWARE that therapy is available or can't afford it. So they too, just passively accept their lot in life. ..... You also asked "...give me an insider's view as to the thought/emotional processes behind choosing therapy or not?" It involves a person's priorities. If he or she is struggling with some truly horrible problems, like abuse or alcoholism or drug addiction, etc., then stuttering is NOT on top of their action item list. Two other factors involve money (surprise, surprise) and whether or not the person thinks that therapy would do any good. With my experience in the 1950's I had a VERY bad taste in my mouth for therapy. I thought they were a bunch of quacks - and that NOBODY could "fix me." While this attitude is changing over time (therapy today is MUCH better than it used to be!), the attitude of "it can't be fixed, to hell with it" is still quite prevalent. ..... Then you asked, "... what your take was on the prevalence of written [or typed] communication in today's society." Wow! I'm probably the WORST person in the world to ask that question to. I own over 30 internet discussion groups on stuttering and Toastmasters, so I pretty much live on the internet. I do a LOT of emailing and chatting and I'm just learning how to "text" message on my cell phone. What a struggle! I've seen people text as fast as they can talk - really! - but it takes me 15 minutes to text out a single sentence! I don't see how these kids do it! Oh to be 15 years old again! ..... Breaking news! As I was typing this, my friend Alan Badmington from the UK called me on the phone and we were talking about your questions. It turns out that he had written an ISAD paper last year which addresses this issue exactly. The title of his paper is "Technology: A friend or foe of someone who stutters?" You can read his paper at . Isn't it ironic that he should call at this exact time? <smile> Like it or not, digital communication is the wave of the future. Do we use chat and email and blogs so we won't stutter? Sure, sometimes. It's not recommended, of course, but it's like resisting a tsunami. It's here so we better get good at it! It still scares the hell out of me to see a kid texting while driving his car! OMG! I can't believe they do that - but I've seen them do it! I hope they don't get killed - or kill somebody else - while doing it. Your questions above are great! I wish I had better answers for you. Please feel free to contact me by email at or give me a call on the phone at 972-881-1451 (home) or 972-489-6169 (cell) if you have further questions. I'd enjoy talking with you! ..... My very best, ..... Russ

Last changed: 10/22/07