Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the person who stutters is unable to produce sounds. The term stuttering is most commonly associated with involuntary sound repetition, but it also encompasses the abnormal hesitation or pausing before speech, referred to by people who stutter as blocks, and the prolongation of certain sounds, usually vowels or semivowels. According to Watkins et al., stuttering is a disorder of “selection, initiation, and execution of motor sequences necessary for fluent speech production.” For many people who stutter, repetition is the primary problem. The term “stuttering” covers a wide range of severity, encompassing barely perceptible impediments that are largely cosmetic to severe symptoms that effectively prevent oral communication. In the world, approximately four times as many men as women stutter, encompassing 70 million people worldwide, or about 1% of the world’s population.

The impact of stuttering on a person’s functioning and emotional state can be severe. This may include fears of having to enunciate specific vowels or consonants, fears of being caught stuttering in social situations, self-imposed isolation, anxiety, stress, shame, being a possible target of bullying (especially in children), having to use word substitution and rearrange words in a sentence to hide stuttering, or a feeling of “loss of control” during speech. Stuttering is sometimes popularly seen as a symptom of anxiety, but there is actually no direct correlation in that direction (though as mentioned the inverse can be true, as social anxiety may actually develop in individuals as a result of their stuttering) –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Give one of your characters a problem with speaking, even if it’s only temporary. Create conflict from this.

Journaling Prompt: Write about how you feel when you are trying to have a conversation with someone with a speech impediment. How do you handle it?

Art Prompt: Stutter

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the problems that someone who stutters face in work and relationships. Give tips for how to hold a conversation with someone who stutters.

Photo Credit: Evan on Flickr

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