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Community Involvement and Stuttering

It all began with a problem. The problem was that, fifty years ago, I stuttered so badly there were times I could not get out any words at all. Fortunately, I found a way to address this problem – by attending the ISTAR (Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research) clinic in Edmonton in 1987. After that, I was able to speak more or less fluently even to large audiences.

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Stuttering in Fiction

Dysfluencies bookA review of Chris Eagle's book Dysfluencies: On Speech Disorders in Modern Literature 

Ken Kesey’s 1963 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – made into an award-winning movie – is perhaps the best known example featured in a new book titled Dysfluencies. Researcher Chris Eagle’s topic is “the ways in which disorders of speech and language are understood by modern writers and represented in modern literature” and discusses works of fiction and poetry that depict characters with stuttering, aphasia, and Tourette’s syndrome.

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Jordan Scott: Poet, speaker and person who stutters

Jordan ScottJordan Scott

Jordan Scott might be a person who stutters, yet an avoider of difficult words he is not. In fact, his second book of poetry, Blert, published in 2009, was deliberately written to be as difficult for him to speak as possible. Originally from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Jordan is fascinated by the linguistic implications of stuttering as it relates to human communication and sees his work as "a desire to explore stuttering poetically". A reading tour followed the publication of Blert in which Jordan put his stuttering on display in all its glory. The Music Gallery in Toronto featured him that year in performance along with the Elemental Choir.

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Isolation and self-image

Dylan Madeley

I recently had an interesting experience attending part of a Canadian Stuttering Association board meeting. Although I have been stuttering since around the age of five, I first experienced a meeting of so many people who directly understood what this was like at age twenty-nine.

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Has stuttering affected your career?

illustrationI’m fidgeting in my chair.  The room is cold – not just the air – but also the room itself. I wait as the next speaker walks without haste to the front of the room. I’m at a work all-staff meeting, an annual event intended to have all of us sit together for a day to team-build.

When the speaker talks, I immediately notice the very slow deliberate tempo of his speech. Listening more intently, I start to pick out fluency techniques. He is good. No disfluency. “He is a fellow stutterer”, I think to myself. And smile.

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Jaan Pill video: A guide for listeners

This video is from 2011, and contains some good information about stuttering, speech therapy, and how to listen to a person who stutters. Jaan Pill is one of the co-founders of the CSA (originally the Canadian Association for People Who Stutter). He is also a co-founder of the Estonian Stuttering Association and of the International Fluency Association. For more information about Jaan, see his website.

Stuttering – A listener’s guide from Jaan Pill on Vimeo.

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