October 22. Today is International Stuttering Awareness Day. Stuttering is a human communication challenge in which the flow of speech is interrupted by repetitions of sounds, syllables or words, the prolonging of sounds or the complete stoppage of speech altogether. Stuttering is not, contrary to popular belief, an “emotional” problem. It’s caused by a combination of factors – including early language challenges as a child; genetics (60% of people who stutter report that some other family member stutters, and interestingly, the ratio of male to female stutterers is 4:1); neurophysiological differences in stutterers, and family dynamics – a fast paced, high drive lifestyle can contribute to stuttering. So it’s actually a bunch of factors that come into play when someone stutters.
Some famous people who stutter(ed) include actresses Marilyn Monroe, Jane Seymour and Emily Blunt, actors James Earl Jones and Charlie Sheen, author John Updike, TV reporter John Stossel, US Vice President Joe Biden, singers Carly Simon and Elvis Presley, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and one of the most famous political individuals, King George, whose story was depicted in the movie The King’s Speech.
Speech-language Pathologists can help people who stutter but did you know that dogs can help people who stutter too?! Some people who stutter report that when they talk to their dog, they are fluent! So practicing speech techniques with a dog might be a good thing to do! We also know that dogs can reduce stress (well some dogs can) and even that may help individuals who stutter to reduce tension and practice fluent speech techniques.
So there are your stuttering facts for today! No matter whether or not you stutter, go and talk to your dog and reduce your stress. Maybe.
Have a good one!
© Linda Wozniak