Setting politics aside, it was a courageous thing for Brayden Harrington to stream in front of the world during the Democratic National Convention, proudly speaking about his stuttering and how much meeting a fellow stutterer years ago changed his life.
Until the age of 19, I had only met one other stutterer in my life and the experience was not as positive as Brayden's.
According to The Stuttering Foundation, in the U.S. alone, more than 3 million people stutter. Stutterers often suffer from anxiety and introversion due to their (and society's) perception of stuttering. These are some of the most common myths about stuttering:
- I will outgrow my stuttering (FALSE: about 1% do not grow out of their stutter)
- I stutter because I am a nervous person (FALSE: nerves can be a symptom of stuttering, but is not always the cause)
- Stuttering is my fault (FALSE: a wide variety of factors from physical, social, mental, and genetics contribute to a stutter)
- Stuttering will hold me back in life (FALSE: there are many successful stutterers from Emily Blunt, Ed Sheeran, James Earl Jones, and Samuel L. Jackson, to name a few!)
As someone who stutters, I cannot imagine how Brayden must have felt before, during, and after his talk. His positivity and confidence shine through in the video. If you are a parent of a child who stutters or are a stutter yourself, here are some great reads and resources:
- Advice to those who stutter by Stephen B. Hood
- Getting unstuck: how to interrupt the moment of stuttering and gain control of your speech by Cheri Jensen
- Yoga for stuttering: unifying the voice, breath, mind & body to achieve fluent speech by J.M. Balakrishnan
- Self-therapy for the stutterer by Malcolm Fraser, L.H.D.
- If your child stutters: a guide for parents by Barry Guitar and Edward G. Conture
- Gabriela: girl of the year 2017 by Teresa E. Harris
- Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
- Paperboy by Vince Vawter
This is a great way to meet other stutterers. What I love about this group is that they meet weekly and locally. You build a community and members also motivate and encourage one another. There are groups for adults and groups for kids and teens. You play games and sometimes discuss the challenges of the week. They are an audience to practice speeches and presentations with as well. For adults in the job force and those in the military, they offer motivational videos and how to manage stuttering anxiety in high stress situations.
The Stuttering Foundation offers informative resources about stuttering, articles, and groups for kids, teens, parents, speech and language pathologists, teachers, and even employers who are looking to understand just what a stutter is and the challenges a stutter might experience.
If you are a longtime stutterer, HCRI offers extensive seven-day group therapy (10 people or less) sessions that touch on tips and techniques to manage your stutter. On the last day of the session, all participants go on a "field trip" to the area's mall to put into practice the techniques that were taught during the session. It is an amazing experience. HCRI stresses that it does not cure stuttering, but offers coping mechanisms and ways to lessen the frequency of your stutter and increase your fluency. (There is a fee for this program, and scholarships are available).Jade is listening to "Dominicana" by Angie Cruz.