Is Stuttering a Disability?
Is Stuttering a Disability?
Stuttering impedes your speech, Haven’t we all come across situations where we get stuck or we may add “umm”/ “like”/”you know” to what we say
and we may say a sound or word more than once. When these occur more than a limit it calls for stuttering. It is a complex communication disorder that impedes the normal flow and pattern of speech, which is characterized by involuntary audible or inaudible pauses, repetitions, prolongations, blocks, etc. Nervousness and anxiety can trigger the severity of your stuttering.
People who stutter experience various other problems such as fear, anxiety, depression, shame, etc., which can in turn affect the quality of life (QOL). Some people view their dysfluencies as a disability and some don’t. What exactly is stuttering? Is it a disability or a difference?
Stuttering can either be hereditary, neurological, genetic, or even psychological. Your stutter might be classed as a disability, it depends on how much it affects your day to day activities and on how long you have had it or you’re likely to have it for. You might stutter some of the time or in certain situations and some people stutter when they are young and then grow out of it but some continue.
Let’s look beyond “The stuttering “
Stuttering is at the top of the “iceberg” but underneath the “iceberg” lays deeper problems that should also be addressed. Stuttering also may include tension and negative feelings about talking. It may get in the way of how you talk to others. You may want to hide your stuttering. So, you may avoid certain words or situations.
For example, you may not want to talk on the phone if that makes you stutter more. Stuttering can change, you may have times when you are fluent and times when you stutter more. Stress or excitement can lead to more stuttering. All of these can be frustrating and it may even affect your social life badly but if these consequences should happen or not? The answer lies in your determination to overcome the same. If you let stuttering grow, it will grow and conquer you, whereas if you decide to conquer stuttering by seeking professional help at the right time, then it’s no more a matter of concern. Visit an SLP and follow the magic tips (evidence-based treatment techniques) as advised.
Persons with Stuttering (PWS) and their feelings?
- People with stuttering often feel they are being judged on the way they speak.
- They always have that inner feeling of not being able to express themselves fluently like persons without stuttering.
- They would feel frustrated when they are not able to express themselves properly.
- Some have strong reactions to stammering being labeled as a disability. Regardless of how ‘severe’ their stammer is, this may not be a disabling issue for them, or they may not wish to be defined as having a disability.
- For others, their stammering is profoundly disabling.
Is it a Disability?
According to the World Health Organization, disability has three dimensions:
- Impairment in a person’s body structure or function, or mental functioning; examples of impairments include loss of a limb, loss of vision, or memory loss.
- Activity limitation, such as difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or problem-solving.
- Participation restrictions in normal daily activities, such as working, engaging in social and recreational activities, and obtaining health care and preventive services.
Stuttering does not call for a disability and also it is not a medical condition that makes someone disabled, but the attitudes and structures of society leave people with disabilities excluded or restricted in living their lives fully and excludes them from participating fully in society. We don’t expect people to hide their differences, yet many people who stammer feel deeply ashamed of their stammering.
Stuttering impedes your speech, not your thoughts
Stuttering may be impeding your speech but it never hinders your thoughts and intelligence. You can speak up your thoughts, you are no different than anyone without stuttering. But yes, you will be different if you have the drive to overcome stuttering. Various Bollywood and Hollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan, Rowan Atkinson, and most of all Joe Biden, who has been now elected as the 46th President of The United States of America. Look at them, if they had allowed stuttering to define themselves, would they be in the position they are right now? They decided to believe in themselves and move on with their goals in life. A person who stutters should not be treated differently, instead, we must learn to accept, support, and make reasonable adjustments for them.
An individual’s speech obstruction should not define their personality but simply act like a characteristic difference that makes them unique. Try to relax, speak slowly, build your confidence, and don’t avoid situations because of your stammer. Self-esteem and confidence is the key to motivation and progress. A stammer is no different.
Expecting someone to mask their difference is no longer acceptable in today’s society. So don’t accept pressure to talk smoothly. But seeking professional help can definitely bring out the best in you. A good speech therapist can do wonders!
- An SLP will help you feel less tense and speak in a better way which is less distracting and in school, at work, and in different social settings.
- They can also help the person face speaking situations that make them fearful or anxious say speaking on the phone, giving a presentation, or even ordering food at a restaurant.
- They can talk about how stuttering affects their everyday life
- Can help in eliminating the coexisting features which may not be noticeable to an untrained listener.
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Stuttering impedes your speech
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