Did you know that over 70 million people worldwide speak with a stutter? Each year on October 22, organizations around the world observe International Stuttering Awareness Day to help bring public awareness to stuttering and the experiences of people who stutter. Often people who don’t have experience with stuttering may feel uncomfortable speaking with someone who stutters or inadvertently make that person feel uncomfortable. Take a look at our tips for communicating with someone who speaks with a stutter:
NEVER Interrupt: A person who stutters wants to be respected and listened to just like every other person. Although you may feel like you’re helping by finishing a person’s sentence or guessing what they are trying to say, you only convey that you don’t have the time to listen to them or feel like they are incapable of expressing themselves.
Mind Your Pace: People often subconsciously mirror the communication patterns of others. If you’re speaking at a breakneck speed, your conversation partner is likely going to try to match your pace, possibly without even realizing it. The pressure to speak quickly can often worsen a stutter. Slow your speaking rate to a relaxed, comfortable pace so your conversation partner doesn’t feel the need to rush.
Watch Your Body Language: If you’re feeling uncomfortable or impatient, it’s likely to show in your facial expression and body language. People almost always pick up on these signs, which can be extremely upsetting for the other person. Social discomfort and anxiety can sometimes worsen a stutter, and you may be sending negative signals you’re not even aware of. Monitor your facial expressions and body language to make sure you’re not inadvertently communicating discomfort or impatience.
Do you stutter or have a child or family member who stutters? Share your experience in the comments section below!
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