I'm curious if any others with a stutter have had a similar experience as myself. I've always had a severe stutter, and spent many years in speech therapy learning to deal. I'm fairly good at managing it, using many of the same techniques others in this thread have mentioned. Of course, the stutter never got better, I just became better at managing it.
However, as an adult I was diagnosed with ADD and started to take a low dose of Adderall. Of all the ways this was a positive influence in my life the largest change was that as long as I am medicated the stutter completely disappears. I don't know if I can put into words what a sense of relief this was :). I will always remember the first time I spoke without analyzing and organizing every word before hand, one day a sentence just came out without a single thought. I've actually had to relearn having a filter on what I say. If I go off the medication for more than a day, the stutter comes back in full force.
As an introvert prone to social anxiety, a lot of this resonated with me. I however, am not subject to betrayal by my own voice, as a stutterer must be. This passage really stood out;
Absent the context afforded by weekly papers and emails, silence acts as a blank slate onto which people tend to project their own insecurities, expectations, even paranoia. It can masquerade as apathy, or rudeness
I've always found that keeping quiet was just easier in so many ways. Consequently I've always been seen as quiet, reserved, stoic at best or cold and judgemental at worst. I've only recently come to realize what a disservice I've done myself by keeping quiet all these years. No one knows what I'm about if I don't tell them. If I'm kind and generous, I have to tell people what I'm about, who I am, through words and actions.
Forgive me for commenting so much, this is a topic very near and dear to my heart. I encourage all of the engineers out there to look at a stuttering fluency device called the SpeechEasy. It's a very deceptive device that is ripe for innovation.
1) the device works on the chorus effect, echoing a person's voice to help smooth out fluency.
2) its not gurranteed to work, won't work for most people, and likely beneficial effects will wear off within 1-2 years.
3) Minimum price: $3,000
4) Not covered by most insurance companies.
SpeechEasy like devices and other fluency technology is ripe for disruption. I encourage all engineers and software developers to consider how low cost technology can be made to assist people with disabilities.
> Guidance counselors, speech therapists, and teachers alike flocked to my suddenly choked speech, forming what
Well my childhood speech therapist was ironically located in a mental hospital. So in order to attend the session my mom had to drag me through "a hallway of horrors" where having to pass by patients there either staring catatonically into space, mumbling nonsense, or doing other weird stuff. Needless to say I didn't attend those for too long. But I do remember them trying the latest research techniques on me, which was a delayed audio feedback loop, not sure how effective it was, because we didn't come back after a while.
Another thing I noticed is that my cousin also stutters, wonder if it is genetic in any way. His stuttering was triggered by being scared by dog once. Don't remember why mine started.
> I substituted in place of “trouble words,”
Heh, you'd be surprised how many synonyms I know because of that. Some words don't have good synonyms, those words are to be feared and they cause extreme anxiety ... which causes even more stutter.
> and my classmates were quick to assure me that it sounded just as ridiculous as I thought.
Yeah on the plus side I guess I developed a pretty thick skin against being made fun of, as I've been made fun of constantly, well since as long as I remember.
It never occurred to me that my stutter could spill across into the way I write - but it does - the word choices I use when writing are directly related to the word choices I'd use when speaking. I use similar word substitution tactics to get around a minor stutter, its lead me to have a much wider working vocabulary than I would otherwise.
I worked with a really great DevOps guy who had a bad stutter, and was not a native English speaker. I myself had a surgery that paralyzed one of my vocal chords and I couldn't speak above a whisper for years and still can't be heard in loud places. I can commiserate with just wanting to let other people know what you're thinking, but just not physically being able to do it. It's not easy, but the isolation it caused gave me my tech chops today. Not sure I'd always trade that tit for tat, but c'est la vie.
Wow this is very powerful. I use to volunteer with kids who stutter, and the frustration, sadness, and silence due to an inability to communicate clearly was so painful to see.
Why isn't this considered a disability in the U.S.?