International Stuttering Awareness Day: Five Common Myths Debunked

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Every year on Oct. 22, the world observes International Stuttering Awareness Day to raise public awareness on stuttering, which affects over one percent of the world's population. 

Though a lot of progress has been made over the years, a lot more has to be done with regard to the disorder, including creating awareness about the help available.

At the same time, stuttering is still misunderstood. While researchers prove stuttering is a neurological condition that interferes with speech, many mistakes it to be nervousness or lack of confidence. 

Such myths, if left unchecked, can lead to prejudice and discrimination from the public. Here are a few myths about stuttering and the facts.

1) People Stutter Because They Are Nervous: While nervousness can make you stutter, it doesn’t cause it. Stuttering doesn’t happen because people are scared of speaking in public. According to  Mayo Clinic, a combination of factors, including abnormalities in speech motor control and genetics, can cause stuttering.

2) People Who Stutter Are Not Intelligent: Thousands of successful people who have stuttered continue to debunk this myth. The stuttering community has its share of scientists, writers and college professors. People who stutter have achieved success in every profession imaginable. Marilyn Monroe, King George VI, Bruce Willis, President Joe Biden, writer Lewis Carroll, and James Earl Jones are some of the famous personalities who battled this disorder.

3) Bad parenting can cause stuttering: It's not a parents' fault that a child stutters. While stress and family atmosphere can have an effect on the overall personality of a child, parenting is not the reason.

4) Calming yourself can stop stuttering: Many people tend to ask people who stutter to "take a deep breath before talking" or "think about what you want to say first." Not only this won't help, but the also advice can make the person more self-conscious. A better idea would be to listen patiently and model slow and clear speech yourself. 

5) Children learn to stutter from a stuttering parent or relative: First of all, stuttering is not contagious. Since stuttering is genetic and often runs in families, children who have a parent or close relative who stutters may be prone to stuttering themselves. This is due to shared genes, not imitation.


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Photo: Pixabay

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