The presenter of this paper has consented to have a personal email address
posted here if you wish raise further questions and/or comments. Contact Dale Williams at

Being the Best

From: Ira Zimmerman
Date: 10/2/99
Time: 9:48:47 PM
Remote Name:


My congratulations to the paper's authors for an excellent job. 

Shouldn't stutterers work harder in their careers to overcome the negative stereotypes about them? Should we accept the
limitations that others put on us or should we fight them? For example, stutterer Dr. Jack Welch, who earned a Ph.D in
Chemical Engineering, fooled all his peers at General Electric who never thought a stutterer could be promoted to
Chairman and CEO of that company. Jack has held that position for over ten years and plans to retire at the end of next
year. Dr. Welch should be the poster boy for every stutterer entering the business world.

Being the Best & Bullies

From: Dale Williams
Date: 10/4/99
Time: 7:52:34 AM
Remote Name:


Thank you, Ira, for the kind words. The response brings up a couple of points. One is the issue of competency. I've
heard many people who stutter state that listeners perceive them as less competent (& less bright) than people who don't
stutter. The research, however, doesn't support this as part of the stereotype. Either these people who stutter are guilty of
a false perception themselves or researchers aren't asking the right questions. Should a lack of competency ever become
part of the stereotype, then, as you say, hard work would certainly help to overcome this perception. 

The other thing that struck a chord was the idea that we "fight" the limitations &/or those who impose them. I've always
wondered whether the particular stereotype attributed to people who stutter works as a bully magnet, i.e., who better to
pick on than someone reticent and nervous? After all, that's the guy who's least likely to fight back. 


Date: 10/5/99
Time: 3:24:41 AM
Remote Name:


Nice piece of work Dale. Have you guys submitted it elsewhere?


From: S. Couey - ECU student
Date: 10/5/99
Time: 11:14:49 PM
Remote Name:


It was not until I began observing in a SLP clinic in my Junior year of college that I have ever see a person who stutters,
outside of the images portrayed in movies and television. I guess you could say that I too held true some of the false
beliefs and stereotypes associated with individuals who stutter. Through the research and studying that I have done in the
past few years, however, I have been able to eliminate any misconceptions I may have shared in the past. I do have one
question for you. What are some ways that you have used in the past to get information to those who may still believe
those stuttering stereotypes, such as parents of newly diagnosed stutters, persons in the community, etc.? 

Re: Stereotyping

From: Dale Williams
Date: 10/7/99
Time: 2:28:28 PM
Remote Name:


Thanks for your interest. I haven't found this type of stereotyping to be an issue with parents. Re. the community, I have
done a workshop for area SLPs and written articles for local sources about myths related to stuttering, including the
stereotype. I also discuss the issue with students in my fluency disorders courses and with people who attend our support
group meetings. Keep in mind, however, that I'm in a position where I can do things like this easier than others can. I
would be interested to see how other folks respond to your question.

Re: Stereotyping

From: Ira Zimmerman
Date: 10/9/99
Time: 1:30:15 PM
Remote Name:


You prove the power of film and television in stereotyping persons who stutter. I work with a Los Angeles based
coalition of special interest groups trying to get a more balanced portrayal of their special interest in film and television.
This coalition is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations who realized the important
influence of film and television on human relations among different groups. I no longer represent the interests of
stutterers since the National Stuttering Association recently resigned from the coalition. I expect to see more and more
negative stereotypes of stutterers in film and TV when producers finally realize that they can demean stutterers without
any reaction from organizations like NSA. It's a sad situation.


From: Pete Amberg
Date: 10/10/99
Time: 10:24:42 PM
Remote Name:


It is sad to see people receive a label or image unjustly and sometimes never be able to break that label. This may
sometimes more fuel to the fire for some who may be already having difficulties. 

As a comm. Dis. grad student, more explanation of the roles of todays SLP are being defined including how we as
professionals can help to diminish the image of a stereotypical PWS. 

Thanks for the info. It will help me to better understand many areas of stuttering for future use. 


Linguistic change

From: Michael Sugarman
Date: 10/11/99
Time: 1:08:04 PM
Remote Name:


Dale and Carlos thank you for your excellent paper. I have a comment and question. 

In the late 1970's consumers used person first language in describing their experiences as people who stutter. By the early
1990's ASHA passed a policy to use person first language in academic and general publications. 

As we enter 2000, consumers with chronic disabilities are using the term people living with ____. I am going to take this
leap and suggest linguistic change from people who stutter to people living with stuttering. The term "people living with
stuttering"(plws) reflects "management of stuttering." However, it may mean something else for u? 

My question pertains to perception/stereotype by the general public on stuttering. Has there been studies on the stereotype
of the mild, moderate or severe plws (thought I would throw that in)? 

kindly, michael

Re: Linguistic change

From: Dale Williams
Date: 10/12/99
Time: 10:19:29 AM
Remote Name:


Michael, I have a few comments on your thought-provoking note. First of all, I think a change in terms is inevitable.
"Person who stutters" is used to describe someone who possesses a specific characteristic (stuttering). As such, it is now,
in common usage anyway, similar to the outdated "stutterer." "People living with stuttering" would, in time, suffer the
same fate. Then it would be time for a new term. Is this process bad? I don't know. Certainly it can be empowering to a
person to feel that he or she is not defined by one trait. I must confess, however, that "stutterer," "person who stutters,"
and "person living with stuttering," are all housed within the same reference section of my brain. Re. the perception of
stuttering at different severity levels, you make a very good point. I don't recall any study that directly addressed your
question, but I'm guessing the perception of individuals, if not the overall stereotype, would vary with different levels of
severity. Factors discussed in the article-the power of first impressions, the anxiety within the communicative situation,
the amount of talking by the stuttering individual, etc.-seem likely to be altered by severity. Thanks for your interest. Dale


From: Mike Hughes, Ex. Dir., Speak Easy Inc.
Date: 10/13/99
Time: 8:00:23 AM
Remote Name:



Your paper was very interesting, containing valuable information that can be used by both the professional and the
layperson. We'd like permission to reprint it in an upcoming issue of "Speaking Out," Speak Easy's monthly magazine. 

Please post your reply or email us at

Re: Interesting

From: Dale & Carlos
Date: 10/18/99
Time: 8:05:32 AM
Remote Name:



Sorry for the delay in responding. Hurricane Irene has kept us busy the past few days. 

We are flattered by your request & will grant permission for the reprint. Should this require signature forms, please use
the address (or anything else) below. 

We only ask that you send us 2 copies of the publication. 

Dale & Carlos 

Dale Williams Program in CD Fla. Atlantic Univ. 777 Glades Rd. Boca Raton, FL 33431 

(561) 297-3238 fax: 297-2268 

It's in the language

From: Ed Feuer
Date: 10/16/99
Time: 5:36:25 PM
Remote Name:


As I stated in reponse to the International Projects on Attiutudes Toward Stuttering, we cannot ignore the effect of
attitudes embedded in the language. In casual conversational useage, the terms "stuttering" and "stammering" always
mean some variant of shame, failure or incompetence. Some recent examples in Associated Press stories were
reference to Dan Quayle's "stuttering presidential campaign" or a foe of Senator John McCain saying that he was
"stuttering and stammering on the issue of abortion." The problem arises when people who know nothing about real
stuttering impose those attributes on people who really do stutter. Unfair discrimination in employment is a key
example of where the difficulties arise — such as when a personnel department staffer meets a job applicant who really
does stutter. His/her only point of reference is the casual, conversational useage — leading in turn to fixed notions
about what PWS *CAN'T* do. I propose that people who stutter must come to own the terms stuttering and
stammering. Language useage does change. The homosexual community now owns the word gay. That is a
comparatively recent development. Advocacy of our ownership of stuttering and stammering could be part of general
public awareness campaigns. English and other languages can find other terms — let there be talk of stumbling
presidential campaigns or that a candidate is waffling on abortion. Burying our heads in the sand is
counter-productive. As I've said, it's time to claim a monopoly over "stuttering" and "stammering." I can’t see any
"natural enemies" of people who stutter out there who would object. Ed Feuer


From: Denise Christenson
Date: 10/19/99
Time: 2:04:55 PM
Remote Name:


Many schools are developing programs with cultural diversity. This may be a starting point to help reduce the
misconceptions that both students and teachers have about stuttering.