Stuttering Awareness day is Monday. Every day should be stuttering awareness day. Teachers should teach students about stuttering and what they can do to help someone who stutters. Employers who have hired a stutterer should make brochures available to all employees so they know how to converse with the person who stutters and make it easier for them to converse. Everyone should learn how to react to a person who stutters. These tips from The Stuttering Foundation of America have helped me in many situations in my life with relatives who stutter as well as other stutterers that I have come across.
1. Don’t make remarks like: “Slow down,” “Take a breath,” or “Relax.” Such simplistic advice can be felt as demeaning and is not helpful.
2. Let the person know by your manner that you are listening to what he or she says — not how they say it.
3. Maintain natural eye contact and wait patiently and naturally until the person is finished.
4. You may be tempted to finish sentences or fill in words. Try not to. Use a relatively relaxed rate in your own speech — but not so slow as to sound unnatural. This promotes good communication.
5. Be aware that those who stutter usually have more trouble controlling their speech on the telephone. Please be patient in this situation. If you pick up the phone and hear nothing, be sure it is not a person who stutters trying to start the conversation before you hang up.
6. Speak in an unhurried way — but not so slowly as to sound unnatural. This promotes good communication with everyone.
These brochures can be downloaded from www.stutteringhelp.org in the brochures section of the web site.