This article first appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of CSA Voices. You can read more about Karen and purchase her book here.


For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write feel-good books for young children who stutter.

I’m now 44 years of age, and the memories of being teased at school as a child are still quite vivid. Because of what I experienced, I’ve always wanted to help young children who stutter. I thought that writing encouraging children’s books would be a good way to accomplish this.

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dead languages

David Shield’s novel, Dead Languages, is an intensely personal narrative about the life of Jeremy Zorn, growing up in San Francisco in the 60s and 70s, who happens to have a severe stutter. The book opens with memories of formative experiences from his early childhood, mainly the strong personalities of his highly intellectual and verbose family, particularly his mother.

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The zebra finch is a rare bird in that its full genome has been mapped by geneticists. Remarkably, this has led to advances in stuttering research. The findings revealed that a substantial part of the genome of the finch is for the purpose of hearing and singing bird songs. This made the bird a candidate for further study, as its song “language” is remarkably similar to human language in certain respects.

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Slate mag

Slate Magazine has an excellent article on the history of stuttering in movies. It features some older, little-known films as well as the popular ones of today. Hollywood definitely does a disservice to stutterers, with few exceptions. It is usually portrayed as a sign of weakness or ineptitude. One sad but funny example is a Western where John Wayne's character is able to bully the stuttering out of a young fellow  – "Get rid of that stutter or go home, pardner!" The boy becomes angry and his stuttering is cured.

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This article highlights four well-rehearsed presentations at a Teachers and Students Who Stutter workshop at the CSA national conference in August 2007. The workshop took place in Toronto on August 17, 2007.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2010 Newsletter.

Sadia Khan, the first speaker, teaches elementary school near Toronto. As a child, she felt frustrated and alone when people told her to slow down, without understanding her experiences as a speaker. She dreaded using the phone, saying her name, or reading a passage verbatim in class. She often felt rushed to answer teachers’ questions.

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women who stutter

Pamela Mertz, author of the excellent blog Make Room for the Stuttering has posted another episode from the "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" series. The October 1 session features CSA Member Carolina Ayala from Toronto, and a previous episode (#22) features CSA Member Heather Baier from Edmonton, Alberta. Upcoming is Sadia Khan, featured in a CSA Voices article Students and Teachers who Stutter.

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