Around the (Stuttering) World in 80 Seconds

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

You're not alone is the motto of the National Stuttering Association (NSA), a self-help organization for people who stutter. But for a child or adolescent who is the only one in his school district who stutters, it may not feel that way. In fact, at a recent NSA convention in Chicago, several first-timer adults who stutter commented that they had never before met another person who stutters. This column will feature several resources from around the world that can be used to help clients not only learn more about stuttering, but also understand they are truly "not alone."

One doorway to that understanding is awareness of the worldwide incidence of stuttering. "Words for Stuttering," a list started by Charles Van Riper (The Nature of Stuttering 1982, p. 4) and expanded with many additions from people around the world, provides words for stuttering in many languages (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/kids/words.html).

Another good way to demonstrate the universal nature of stuttering is to visit Web sites about stuttering, which originate from every continent except Antarctica.

There are two primary international organizations--the International Fluency Association (IFA) and the International Stuttering Association (ISA), and three more associations with an international presence--the European League of Stuttering Associations (ELSA), Passing Twice, and TTM-L. All have a Web presence.

Although both professionals and people who stutter are welcome in all of the organizations, the IFA (www.theifa.org/) consists primarily of professionals, and the others primarily of consumers. The IFA site provides members with free access to the Journal of Fluency Disorders (JFD) online as part of their membership. All issues of JFD dating back to 1995 are available online, plus most abstracts dating back to the first volume published in 1974.

ELSA (www.stuttering.ws/) focuses on exchanging information, being a unified voice in political issues such as discrimination, and promoting the idea of self-help in European countries. Passing Twice (http://passingtwice.com/) is a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender organization for people who stutter. TTM-L (www.ucv.ve/tartamudez.htm) is an international site in Spanish.

The mission of the ISA is "A world that understands stuttering." Featured prominently on their Web site is the "Bill of Rights and Responsibilities of People who Stutter." Exploring theISA Web site (www.stutterISA.org/) reveals a freely-available newsletter, One Voice (www.stutterISA.org/isa006.html#newsletters) with articles from around the world as well as the Internet edition of (www.stutterisa.org/CDRomProject/).

ISA member organizations from 35 countries are linked to the main site. Some have free newsletters filled with valuable information. The following member organization sites are in English or have an English translation.

  • Australian Speak Easy Association--www.speakeasy.org.au/
  • Belgium's VZW--www.stotteren.be/menuEng.html
  • Bulgarian Stuttering Association--http://zaekvane-bg.com.server05.hostbgproject.com/index.php?newlang=English
  • Burkina Faso, W. Africa--www.stutterisa.org/BurkinaFaso/
  • Cameroon's Speak Clear Association--www.stutterisa.org/cameroon/
  • Canadian Association for People Who Stutter--www.stutter.ca/
  • Canada's Speak Easy--www.speakeasycanada.com/
  • Association of Finnish Stutterers--www.kolumbus.fi/say/enmain.htm
  • Israel Stuttering Association (AMBI)--www.ambi.org.il/english001.html
  • New Zealand's SpeakEasy--www.shopzone.co.nz/speakeasy/
  • United Kingdom's BSA--www.stammering.org/
  • United States-NSA--http://westutter.com

    Oct. 22 is "International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD)." Supported by the IFA, ISA, ELSA, and ASHA, the stated purpose of ISAD is "to promote awareness and understanding and to show appreciation for people who stutter and the speech language professionals who work with them." Eight ISAD online conferences, which began in 1998, are archived online and contain interesting papers and discussion from professionals and consumers around the world (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/isadarchive/onlineconference.html).

    Many other Web sites in the United States deserve special mention for anyone looking for good information about stuttering. Išll mention only four. Plan on spending more than 80 seconds on any of these sites!


    Judith Kuster is in the Department Of Speech, Hearing, And Rehabilitation Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her at judith.kuster@mnsu.edu. All of Kuster's Internet columns are on ASHA's Web site in HTML format with active links (www.asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/news.htm), although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.

    Kuster, JM, Around the (Stuttering) World in 80 Seconds, ASHA Leader, October 18, 2005, p. 55.