Class Reunions

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Re: The memorable class reunion

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 09 Oct 2004
Time: 14:16:46 -0500
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Hi Mandy, Back in those dark ages we never were classified as mild, moderate or severe because we didn't have a reasonable quantitative scale to do that. (We still don't actually!) But to answer your question as best I can, my stuttering back then was probably moderate to severe, certainly not mild and absolutely not covert. You could tell in the first ten seconds of listening to me that I stuttered considerably. I could still communicate pretty well by using a residual air secondary technique which made my voice sound horrible and strained, but at least I could generally force the words out. And talking was VERY tiring! Actually most of my classmates DID remember I stuttered but it took them a minute to dig that information out of their dim, dark memory. Did I wear glasses too? Gosh, I don't remember... It was just too insignificant a fact for people to really remember. My girlfriend (and again, I flatter myself) knew me well enough to remember a myriad of other characteristics about me but stuttering simply didn't make it to the top half of her list. (Remember, I told you she was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Her strength was beauty not intellect.) A number of my other friends who had better memories than she had said, "Yeah, I remembered you stuttered... but so what? It was no big deal." However monumental deal it was to ME, it simply was NOT that big a deal to them. I know, it's really hard to believe. But it was true. Today I still have a very significant stutter, but it's very open and easy with no secondaries or avoidances. Listen to me for ten seconds - just like in high school - and you'll know that I stutter. But I lead a very "fluent lifestyle,'" talking to anyone, any time, anywhere, for whatever reason. I'm probably in the top 2% of "talkers" in the world today and that even includes fluent people. I admit I'm somewhat of a rarity among stutterers, but that's just me. I love to talk with people! Right now that characteristic more defines who I am than the fact that I stutter. I've "overcome" my stuttering by not letting it get in my way, not by using some technique to become fluent. I'm certainly not fluent by any stretch of the imagination. I guess that a modern SLP would probably diagnose me as "moderate" but would probably not recommend any therapy for me based on my attitude toward it rather than my fluency. In iceberg terminology, I have a "styrofoam iceberg" with 95% of it above the waterline and only 5% below. And that's a comfortable place for ME to be. But it's taken me forever to reach this point. Good question, Mandy. I hope you're enjoying the conference! Russ

Last changed: 09/12/05