A parallel journey to realising the power of stammering as an art form

When I was growing up I was always given the impression that my stammer was a sign of weakness, something that should be cured or fade away. I turned to art to drown out these expectations and, in a way, give me a second voice people actually listened to. It wasn’t until I was an … read more…

The Fluency Questionnaire

To celebrate International Stammering Awareness Day 2021 and to contribute to the International Stuttering Association online conference, we developed The Fluency Questionnaire.  Inspired by The Heterosexual Questionnaire attributed to Martin Rochlin (1972), it is based on fluency-phobic premises, rather than the fluency-philic premises currently dominate in today’s society. The Fluency Questionnaire aims to upend the typical dynamics … read more…

Stuttering and masculinities

It is estimated that the prevalence of stuttering is four times greater in males than females. Yet, little is known about the masculinity experiences of men who stutter. I, myself, am man who stutters. I have been stuttering since I can remember. I have been bullied, teased and discriminated against as a person who stutters. … read more…

Spontaneous Stuttering

What does speech feel like when it feels good? When it feels bad? What does it feel like when we’re struggling? When we’re not struggling? Can we stutter without struggling? Can we be fluent while struggling? I asked these questions to groups of people who stutter. Their responses coalesced around a similar theme: when speech … read more…

Beyond Chasing Fluency: Exploring the Interplay among Intersectional Identities

When one of the directors of the school district I work for asked me to “speak up more” during meetings, I got defensive. At one meeting, he even forgot I was there and skipped over me when it was my turn to present. I’m a quiet person, but I speak with intention. As a school-based … read more…

Talking, typing, and the social model of disability

When I was in primary school, I had a teacher who was over-enthusiastic about the virtues of touch-typing. Over the years, he slowly collected disused desktop computers, building up his collection until there was one for every student in his class. They lined the perimeter of the classroom, balanced on assorted desks and tables. He … read more…

We need to talk about therapy for children who stammer: a new approach

In the previous blog post, ‘We need to talk about therapy for children who stammer’ (March, 2019) we argued against traditional, medical model practices which perceive stammering as un-natural or disordered, and focus on eradicating or diminishing stammering. We argued for a new, consistent approach to support children who stammer in their early years; one … read more…

Reflecting on the power behind language

Working as a speech and language therapist for over 15 years, I had some awareness of the social model of disability, but it’s fair to say that most of my training taught me to view communication differences from a medical model perspective. There isn’t anything too unusual about this as a speech and language therapist. … read more…

Re-imagining adult stammering therapy

Last year, I went to a talk by Max Gattie on the therapies available to adults who stammer. Max listed the core approaches most people opt for: City Lit, NHS therapy, McGuire and Starfish. I realised, whilst looking at the whiteboard he wrote them on, that they are all informed to some extent by the … read more…

Personal reflections on shades of fluency

For those who stammer, the notion of fluency is something that has flittered through thoughts and conversations over many years. Early on, we are not necessarily aware of the terminology, but we begin to notice physical and emotional differences between words that flow more easily than others. Later, any venture into speech therapy likely exposes … read more…