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From: Beth Bienvenu
Date: 21 Oct 2006
Time: 08:58:05 -0500
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Pam Ė Iím so glad that this article was useful for your Fluency Council meeting. Given that practically every single person who stutters has had to deal with career and job issues and fears, this is a good topic for stuttering groups to discuss. Iím sure you know that your situation and our discussions helped me shape my article. Your case resonated with me because Iíve studied situations like this with other disabilities, but yours was the first time that Iíd heard of a wrongful termination claim based on stuttering. It helped lead me to the conclusion that, if at all possible, people should try to disclose their stuttering early on in the workplace so that it doesnít lead to misunderstandings. We are only fooling ourselves if we think that people donít notice our stuttering, because even if they arenít hearing actual blocks or repetitions, they can tell that there is some kind of dysfluency or inarticulateness that will cause them to see you as an ineffective communicator. So being up front about our stuttering will demonstrate 1) that we are self-aware, 2) that we are working to improve our speech, and 3) that we can communicate effectively Ė just in a slightly different way. This can go a long way toward fostering a productive and safe work environment for ourselves. (I realize that this isnít possible for everyone in every environment or workplace culture Ė but it may be worth a try in most cases!) So thank you for helping me think through this approach!