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When a Stranger Thought My Stutter Was a Seizure


One of the most annoying things I deal with as a stutterer is people making assumptions based on the sound of my voice and how I look. I breathe hard, my eyes rapidly blink, lips tremble as if I’m in the midst of a snowstorm, and my body becomes tense as I try hard to speak. When this happens, please don’t assume that I’m having a seizure!

Out of all the assumptions I’ve had thrown my way as a stutterer, someone thinking I was having a seizure was by far the worst. The woman was so distressed that I was more concerned for her than for myself. I had to pull myself together so I could explain that I was stuttering, before she called 911.

Now, I carry a card I got from the Stuttering Foundation of America that nicely explains I’m a stutterer. I shouldn’t have to carry a card around, but it’s important that I do for cases like this, and any other misunderstandings.

Instead of being ashamed, I wish I would’ve educated her on stuttering, so she won’t have the same response to another individual who has a speech disorder. Because I cannot go back to the past, I now educate people on stuttering, so they understand it can take other forms besides just repeating words.