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I Do Not Have a 'Stuttering Problem.' I Stutter.

Speech impediment. Communication disorder. Fluency disorder. Speech problem. Stuttering problem. Speech disorder. Fluency impairment.

The above phrases are used, formally or informally, to say there is a problem with the way I talk. I vehemently disagree with that sentiment. I argue that I do not have a stuttering problem, but rather I stutter.

The word problem is used to indicate that is something is wrong and needs to be fixed (e.g. money problems, relationship problems, etc.). However, I do not see my speech as a problem; thus, why would I want to fix it? Yes, my stutter does slightly impact my life, but it does not prohibit me from using my voice. I can still call to order a pizza, make a doctor’s appointment, talk to a friend, or any of the other numerous reasons we talk. By saying, “I have a stuttering problem,” I am letting my stutter control and define me; however, when I say, “I stutter,” I control it, and my stutter is just one of numerous things that make me, me.

The main difference between a person who stutters and a person who does not stutter is that it might take me a few extra seconds to speak. Outside of that, there is no major difference between the two. If we focus on what is being said instead of how it is being said, then hopefully any and all misconceptions and stigmas associated with stuttering will be a thing of the past.

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Thinkstock image by Michael Blann