CONTENTS This is a threaded discussion page for the International Stuttering Awareness Day Online Conference paper, Views from a Wife, by Harriet Weiner. The presenter of this paper, Views from a Wife has consented to have a personal email address posted here if you wish raise further questions and/or comments. Harriet Weiner - Hittiew@aol.com Discussing a parent's stuttering with children From: Judy Kuster Date: 10/5/98 Time: 1:56:57 PM Remote Name: 220.127.116.11 Comments You (and Bernie) are an inspiration, Harriet! One question, for you both if Bernie cares to respond - you said that you regret never having discussed their father's stuttering with your children when they were young. Do you have any suggestions on how you would have done that and at what age your children might have been, if you had the opportunity to do it over? Re: Discussing a parent's stuttering with children From: Harriet Weiner Date: 10/7/98 Time: 5:54:51 PM Remote Name: 18.104.22.168 Comments Thanks for your comments. I really don't have an answer for you. It just never seemed important to the kids. Maybe we should have brought it up to them. H. Weiner Article From: ggriffslp.aol.com Date: 10/7/98 Time: 6:17:01 PM Remote Name: 22.214.171.124 Comments Thank you for such a clear and honest incite into your communicative relationship with your husband. Very helpful to professionals who deal with families that are less forthcoming with their feelings. I respect the sensitivity levels that are shared by your husband and yourself ... the stuff of which habilitation is made! General Comments From: Andy Floyd Date: 10/8/98 Time: 9:52:15 PM Remote Name: 126.96.36.199 Comments Hi! First let me say that I've been wanting my wife to attend your NSP session, but she has been unable to attend the last 2 conventions altogether. My wife has been incredibly supportive when it's come to my stuttering. We had a long talk about it about a month after going out. She had no idea that I even stuttered because at that time I was using a lot of subsitutions and circumlocutions (talking around a feared word). She immediately took books out about stuttering and came to a lot of my support group meetings with me. When she learned that most spouses are not as supportive as she is, she was shocked. Her opinion is that my stuttering is part of me and she wants to learn as much about it as possible and what she can do to help me. You made a comment that "most people who stutter come from dysfunctional families." I really don't agree with that. Where did you get that information? Research has shown that families of PWS are no different than any other families. Interesting article. It really made me love my wife even more for all the love, compassion, and search for understanding she has shown me. Re: General Comments From: Harriet Weiner Date: 10/9/98 Time: 4:19:22 PM Remote Name: 188.8.131.52 Comments Thanks for you comments, I look forward to meeting your wife at a future convention. I was equally shocked at some of the comments during the conventions, about non-supportive spouses. Thanks again Re: General Comments From: Bernie Weiner Date: 10/9/98 Time: 9:26:31 PM Remote Name: 184.108.40.206 Comments To Andy: Unfortunately, the only first hand knowledge that Harriet has to go on is from the people she has met at my support group, at NSP conventions, and of course living with me. Having seen my somewhat dysfunctional family, firsthand, naturally she would assume that this might be a factor contributing to a person being a stutterer. Of course, not All pws come from families such as this. Harriet is truly amazed at the struggles that we come through and how we manage to still lead pretty normal lives. Just let me add, that I have leaned on her a great deal to keep me focused and how lucky I am to have found her. Harriet Weiner From: Violet Anderson Date: 10/12/98 Time: 12:11:47 AM Remote Name: 220.127.116.11 Comments I read your article and made many connections to it. I have been married to a stutterer for better than 33 years and have never regreted the decision to marry him. His tolerence level with people is unbelievable and I think it is due to his lifetime of being a stutterer. He has most certainly taught me what patience and understanding towards other people can achieve. Violet Anderson Re: Harriet Weiner From: Jill Optner Date: 10/13/98 Time: 3:38:43 PM Remote Name: 18.104.22.168 Comments I to have been married to someone who stutters and have spent the past 11 years learning how to ignore sarcasm, putdowns and teasing but, still hold my head high. I know at times that my husband in crying inside by from being hurt by close friends but he still keeps a smile on his face and still uses the same expression; "he/she is only one; the rest of the world usually understands". He has been an inspiration for me. I truly don't know if it's his stutter that has given him this gift of incredible patience with people or whether it is just his natural character. Maybe someone who studies human behaviour can give us an answer. Re: Harriet Weiner From: Harriet Weiner Date: 10/13/98 Time: 9:13:42 PM Remote Name: 22.214.171.124 Comments It truely is amazing how cruel some people can be. But those aren't the important people in our lives. Thanks for your comments Your article From: Sarah Henderson Date: 10/13/98 Time: 6:33:02 PM Remote Name: 126.96.36.199 Comments Harriet, I enjoyed reading your article about being the spouse of someone who stutters. Your personal comments made it very easy to read. Re: Your article From: Harriet Weiner Date: 10/13/98 Time: 9:16:43 PM Remote Name: 188.8.131.52 Comments Hi Sarah, It's nice to hear from you. We missed you a the convention this year. Hope to see you and maybe your husband at the next convention. Speech Therapy From: S. Smith Date: 10/13/98 Time: 8:59:50 PM Remote Name: 184.108.40.206 Comments Harriet, I really enjoyed your article. You are both entertaining and inspiring! I was wondering if your husband Bernie has been involved in any direct speech therapy for stuttering since your marriage. If so, could you briefly describe the content of that therapy, it's effectiveness, and any involvement you may have had with that therapy? Re: Speech Therapy From: Harriet Weiner Date: 10/13/98 Time: 9:22:16 PM Remote Name: 220.127.116.11 Comments Bernie has had some therapy recently but, the only involvement I have had is, once a year at his support group meetings they invite family and friends. It's very interesting to listen to some of the other spouses. Re: Speech Therapy From: Bernie Weiner Date: 10/13/98 Time: 9:58:29 PM Remote Name: 18.104.22.168 Comments The last therapy experience which I had, about four years ago, was not a particularly effective one. Basically, it consisted of eight , one hour sessions, concentrating mainly on using prolonging vowels and using light contacts to stutter "easier". The therapist also tried to get me to use a fluency master, which I absolutely hated. What I am finally realizing, is that attitude plays a big part in gaining control of my stuttering. As i get older (50), I know longer fear speaking on the phone, or speaking in general. I still stutter, but frankly, I really don't care anymore, I just keep plugging along. Re: Speech Therapy From: Andy Floyd Date: 10/14/98 Time: 2:45:36 PM Remote Name: 22.214.171.124 Comments I know this was directed at the author, but I just had to make a comment about the role that my wife played/plays in my therapy. When I was going to formal individual therapy 2 years ago, I would always discuss the sessions with her and tell her what I'd be practicing with her and attempting to do in public. As I said in a previous post, she attended the adult support group meetings I went to and these meetings always inspired my wife to ask questions to me afterwards. I absolutely loved it that she was so interested in my stuttering and how it effected/effects my life. I think a truly supporting spouse or significant other can really aid the PWS who is going through therapy or just going through life. My interest in stuttering and in SLP (speech-language pathology) motivated my wife who is just starting a graduate program in SLP at the Univ. of Iowa. I can't thank her enough for being such a great person. Re: Speech Therapy From: Harriet Weiner Date: 10/16/98 Time: 8:19:14 PM Remote Name: 126.96.36.199 Comments How lucky we both are to be married to such wonderful, caring people. A question FROM the spouse! From: Bernie Weiner Date: 10/13/98 Time: 10:35:33 PM Remote Name: 188.8.131.52 Comments To Jill and others. I have a question for all of the spouses of people who stutter. Do you really ever get to the point where you no longer are embarassed by a stuttering spouse in certain situations? For example, ordering in a restaurant. I think that once in awhile it still bugs Harriet, even after all these years. Re: A question FROM the spouse! From: Violet Anderson Date: 10/14/98 Time: 2:55:54 AM Remote Name: 184.108.40.206 Comments I have never been ashamed of my husband's speech, or stutter. I do know though, that he has ordered many meals in restaurants that he definitely had not intended to order. I used to get mad at him for what I thought was stubbornness but, have now realized that it was his independence that he wanted to keep. If a so-called beautiful or perfect person could only go through what most severe stutterers go through they would crumble within a few months. My husband attended an intensive therapy program in 1990 and has never looked back, and neither have I. I would rather die than get up in front of 200 people and speak but he does it without hesitation. If he is not ashamed of his stutter, then, why should I be? Re: A question FROM the spouse! From: Harriet Weiner Date: 10/16/98 Time: 8:21:04 PM Remote Name: 220.127.116.11 Comments I only bugs me when you are bugged by it! Parent of a Child who Stutters From: Molly Tami Date: 10/14/98 Time: 1:18:18 PM Remote Name: 18.104.22.168 Comments I enjoyed your article and think that your husband is lucky to have you! However, as a parent of a child who stutters, I am unhappy to see comments made that most stutters come from dysfunctional families. There is so scientific basis for that notion and it hurts families and parents who are doing there best and raising children who stutter. On the other hand, there are alot of dysfunctional families out there who raise children who may have lots of problems, but stuttering is not one of them. We need to keep the focus re: stuttering on factual and scientific info, both to encourage research and to validate people who stutter (and their families). Re: Parent of a Child who Stutters From: Harriet Date: 10/16/98 Time: 8:27:47 PM Remote Name: 22.214.171.124 Comments I'm sorry if you were affended by my comments. My paper was not one of research. It was meant to be from my personal experence only. And you are absoulutely correct in the fact that there are a lot of dysfunctionly families out there with problems far greater than ours. Loving someone who stutters From: Barbara kaye Date: 10/16/98 Time: 4:25:41 PM Remote Name: 126.96.36.199 Comments I don't stutter, and am not married to someone who stutters - but my sister (who is quite dear to me) stutters. This isn't a question but rather a reflection on my own thoughts. See, it never ocurred to me that this was an undesirable trait. Just like the daughter of a bald man does not find other bald men ugly. Like your children, it was never an issue for me. My sister had too many other wonderful thing to do. When I was a kid, she read Greek myths to me, and taught me Shakespere and sang folk songs and built the best kites in the world. As an adult we share a lot of deep thoughts that are difficult to share with the general public. Throughout all this, I never noticed her stutter (she's adept at hiding it) but apparently it is deeply troubling to her. When I converse with a PWS,I don't hear the struggling for words - I hear rhythms. Music! Deep music. Often it gets in the way of the message that the pws is trying to convey - which can be perceived as rude on my part; so I do pay attention. Still, the music is so overpowering, I find myself hoping pws would get a nice long block so there would be a chorus. I wonder how many marriages with an unsupportive or uninvolved spouse last - or how happy they are. Any data on that? Re: Loving someone who stutters From: Harriet Date: 10/16/98 Time: 8:39:01 PM Remote Name: 188.8.131.52 Comments You and your sister our truely lucky to have each other. Bernie's sisters and brother are also supportive, but, I don't think they are very interested in his involvement with the NSP or other issues that concern stuttering. As for other spousal support, I did meet people at the convention who have stated they did not want there spouses involved. The comment I heard was "this is my problem and I'll deal with it" --I find that to be extremely sad, not to be able to share an important part of your life with a loved one. How successful is there marriage? I can't imagine. Thanks for your comments Re: Loving someone who stutters From: Judy Kuster Date: 10/17/98 Time: 12:17:39 PM Remote Name: 184.108.40.206 Comments Barbara, you said: >When I converse with a PWS, I don't hear the struggling for words - >I hear rhythms. Music! Deep music. Often it gets in the way of the >message that the pws is trying to convey - which can be perceived >as rude on my part; so I do pay attention. What a *very* interesting comment, and one I don't think I have ever heard before. When you say that you have to work at paying attention to the message, I wonder if there are any outward signs that you are doing that - a less-relaxed/more alert body language? I have a very good friend who stutters. She is very adept at reading body language and feels that the initial reaction from a listener is often extremely negative. I feel it is more one of "what is going on here - I'm not sure I understand what is happening." We've had long discussions about it in the past. Perhaps you have provided a third alternative to interpreting the reaction perceived by a person who stutters. I suppose each of them could be right - depending on the listener. Thank you for an interesting post! Re: Loving someone who stutters From: Barbara Kaye Date: 10/19/98 Time: 9:54:25 AM Remote Name: 220.127.116.11 Comments Regarding outward signs when listening to PWS. As I mentioned,I have to pay attention to the message the PWS is trying to communicate because I get lost in the rhythm of the speach. I have to do this with lucids too - but with PWS, the rhythm is so prounounced that I have to really concentrate to block it out to get to the message. My body reactions are probably similar to any one else's. I have a very intense stare - almost as if I were looking through a person. That can be extremely disconcerting to someone already grasping at sounds. I do try to work at this because it is often mistinterpreted as impatience. It's not. I find that if I can get this out in the open right away - that i'm not trying to be rude but I have to pay very concentrated attention so I can process the information, the PWS is more likely to understand. I sort of treat it like a different kind of communication problem - only instead of the transmitter, it's in the receiver. This has been a bit of an ice-breaker at times - if I at least acknowledge that I not only actually care WHAT the PWS is saying - but HOW they say it. Sometimes the PWS doesn't believe me - which is understandable considering the abuse PWS can face from the lucid world most of the time. In that case, I have to prove myself - which is only fair. But I digress. The thing is that usually once the PWS is comfortable with the fact that I too have a "communication problem" it usually becomes a moot point. Body language From: Les Anderson Date: 10/17/98 Time: 2:08:07 PM Remote Name: 18.104.22.168 Comments Judy/Barbara This is a very interesting subject and one that is discussed at almost all therapeutic sessions or programs. Any person who has a physical impairment has learned to read body language to the point where it is uncanny at times. I have spoken to people many times who have stood before me very politely and waited for me to try and finish my words. Though they tried, out of politeness, to be understanding, there was still a rash of other signals that told me that this person was feeling uncomfortable with their contact with me. Some years ago I read a book by Walton Holstrum called, "Our Body Speaks For Us". In his book he explains how our body will gives off signals of stress, uneasiness and fear even though we consciously try to act nonchalant or disguise our true feelings. The handicapped person can also build in "negative" feed back from body language, over time, by becoming overly sensitive to his/her own predicament. One would think that over a long period of time the handicapped person would become desensitized to their impairment; however, the opposite usually takes place. Individual personalities also play a major role in interpreting body language. In short, we can be our own worst enemy at times. Les Anderson Speaking Out From: Chuck Goldman Date: 10/18/98 Time: 11:08:20 AM Remote Name: 22.214.171.124 Comments Thanks for speaking out in this forum. Your acceptance and support of your husband needs tobe told outside of the NSP. I plan on using your words to help foster familial support with many clients. Re: Speaking Out From: Harriet Date: 10/18/98 Time: 12:05:05 PM Remote Name: 126.96.36.199 Comments Thanks for your comments. I hope I can be of some help. re:Ê your children's feelings From: Dana Wieck and Melissa Anderson Date: 10/19/98 Time: 9:15:33 AM Remote Name: 188.8.131.52 Comments We really enjoyed your article. You are truly a remarkable person. In your article you stated that your children accepted your husband's stuttering as "that is just how dad talks". Do you feel that there were ever times that they did not feel this way? re:Ê your children's feelings From: Harriet Date: 10/21/98 Time: 4:16:24 PM Remote Name: 184.108.40.206 Comments I can only go by what they tell me now, and that is that they never really thought about it. That's just the way things were in our house. Dad reading the Berenstain Bear book about "B's" was kind of funny, but, mom couldn't do much better. Thanks for your comments Harriet & Bernie From: Bonnie L. Weiss Date: 10/19/98 Time: 9:43:08 PM Remote Name: 220.127.116.11 Comments You know, after reading Harriet's piece, I realized that you are a VERY special couple. I'm so happy that I know both of you.... Isn't this fun??? Bonnie Re: Harriet & Bernie From: Harriet Date: 10/21/98 Time: 4:10:54 PM Remote Name: 18.104.22.168 Comments This is great fun! Views from a Wife From: LynnBT Date: 10/19/98 Time: 10:14:41 PM Remote Name: 22.214.171.124 Comments Harriet- I'm so proud of you and this article. Some people get so technical, but you have brought the subject right to the level that most people need to hear. You go, girl! a future wife From: Kris Date: 10/21/98 Time: 9:13:19 PM Remote Name: 126.96.36.199 Comments I just wanted to share with you a story about a former student of mine. I am an Edc. SLP and had a student last year that was a fairly sever stutterer. We would often talk about the "emotional aspects" of stuttering, and the impact it had on his life. We discussed things that he has changed because of his stutter, and possible changes that might come up in the future. One day this student came to his speech session and he was in an awful mood. He hesitantly opened up - the topic was girls. He was worried that his speech problems would mean that he would never have a girlfriend (or wife someday). Although we spent many sessions discussing this issue, I never felt he truly believed what I was telling him. And then came your article. Although I don't work with him this year, I sent him a copy. I wasn't sure what kind of reaction to expect. But the other day I got a letter saying, very simply, "Thanks- I guess things will be okay". Thanks for sharing how wonderful life can be with a person who stutters! Re: a future wife From: Harriet Date: 10/22/98 Time: 8:32:52 PM Remote Name: 188.8.131.52 Comments I am very touched that my simple paper could be of some help. Thank you for passing it along. Views from a Wife From: Stacey MacDonald Date: 10/22/98 Time: 9:19:57 PM Remote Name: 184.108.40.206 Comments Hi Harriet! It was very interesting and enlightening to get your perspective on how it is to be with a stutterer. Hope to see you at NSP 1999!