Living with Stuttering

Stuttering is a communication disorder and communication is needed in virtually all aspects of life. As a result, the effects of the disorder are extensive and often unavoidable.

Social Effects

  • As people mature, they become more aware of their surroundings and develop their own sense of self. This process of personal growth and self-discovery is not easy for those who stutter. Although the days of being teased and bullied by peers may be in the past, the memories persist and damage to self-esteem cannot be easily reversed. Harassment by peers during childhood coupled with doubts about the success of therapy make it difficult for many adults who stutter to truly enjoy life and pursue their dreams.
  • Adults who stutter may not develop relationships, friendships, or romantic partnerships because they fear the judgments of others and carefully choose the social situations that they wish to engage in.

Employment Effects

  • In some cases, affected individuals may impose limits on themselves, believing they could never be comfortable holding certain jobs. For instance, those who stutter are not likely to be receptionists or teachers.
  • In other circumstances, employers may directly of indirectly limit employment opportunities for those who stutter. They may not hire those with speech problems or withhold career advancement or salary increases. Also, employers may recommend that employees who stutter seek treatment to improve the skills needed to complete tasks.

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Listeners' Reactions to Adults who Stutter

  • The attitudes and reactions of stutters are largely shaped by how others treat them and respond to their disorder.
  • Children as young as three notice stuttering and typically respond negatively because they perceive dysfluency as “abnormal” or “different.”
  • People often do not know how to properly react to stuttering by adults. They believe the stereotypes that adults who stutter are fearful,insecure, and nervous. While conversing with adults who stutter, fluent speakers increase head nodding,forced smiling, and are less likely to verbalize anger or frustration.