Stuttering and Disability Discrimination

by Michael Sugarman

Looking at stuttering through the lenses of disability or disability rights does not mean PWS have to feel ashamed dis-ABLED. Rather recognizes a social construct that discrimination against people who stutter does exist. If you have felt passed up for employment or promotion or demoted or denied access or treated unfairly or ridiculed because you stutter. It is wrong.

Our stuttering does not devalue us-it calls out those around us who see us, not for who we are or what we can do - by having a disability bestows certain legal protection and rights that are not available to others. We can still have pride and self respect - a disability rights perspective recognizes the importance of addressing stigma and discrimination. Rehab. Act 504 was the basis for American Disability Act (ADA).

In the late 70's as E.D. for NSA a number of issues arose such as:

Returned as E.D. for NSA in '95 - '97. We wrote a brochure Stuttering, Employment Discrimination and ADA. A number of parents and people who stuttered contacted NSA for legal resources. A few PWS reported they settled disputes with No court action. And parents reported secured speech therapy services for their children. You can find information on American Disabilities Act and Stuttering and Individualized Education Program on Stuttering Foundation of America website. In 2010 a American Disabilities Act Amendments Act case Hartman v. National Board of Medical Examiners - U.S. District judge recognized severe stuttering qualifies as a disability under the ADA entitling reasonable accommodation. (Stuttering & the Law-Stuttering Employment Resource website). And UCLA Law school will be publishing Disability Law Journal 2019. Discrimination cases are difficult to prove-today PWS and parents have legal resources by contacting legal disability rights organization to have your voice heard.

added May 18, 2018 with permission of Michael Sugarman