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Madeline Wahl is a Huffington Post blogger who regularly talks about living with a stutter, among other topics. Recently, she posted a great article entitled “What Not to Do When Someone Stutters” which obviously reflects her own experiences as well as those of many others who stutter.
Among the things she hopes people will not do:
- Making fun of a person who stutters
- Laughing at the stutter
- Mimicking the stutter
- Making jokes about learning how to talk
- Giving knowing looks to other people as if the stutter is an inside joke
- Rolling eyes
- Looking pointedly at a watch or acting as if you want the person to hurry up.
To this list, we’d like to add the following.
- Say “take a breath” or “slow down” –People who stutter know how to breathe.
- Say “spit it out” – That’s what they are trying to do and that’s why they are having difficulty.
- Say “relax” – it’s not about tension.
- Finish sentences – it’s really frustrating to have someone finish your sentences.
- Treat the person as if they’re pretending or making a joke – a stutter is no joke.
- Treat them differently from people who speak fluently – they are just like everyone; their only issue is with speaking.
Remember, how you treat a person who stutters matters just as much as how you treat anyone else. Skip these mistakes!