October 22 marks International Stuttering Awareness Day. More than 70 million people worldwide (including 3 million in the U.S.) are challenged by stuttering — children and adults alike.
Scientists, therapists, and people who stutter strive to uncover what causes the disorder and develop effective treatments.
People who stutter hope for clear communication pathways and the ability to speak with confidence. They seek treatment from a variety of health care professionals and therapists.
One of those professionals is a speech-language pathologist, like Dr. Paul Blanchet, an associate professor at Baylor University’s College of Health and Human Services.
Speech-Language Pathologists and Their Role
Speech-language pathologists focus on speech sounds, language understanding, literacy, social communication, voice sounds and fluency.
They also address cognitive communication (memory issues, problem-solving, or thinking skills).
Dr. Blanchet personally understands these issues — he stutters. So he can understand his clients’ challenges and the treatment they might need.
But it’s not just about the stutter. Mental well-being also plays a part.
Many times, how others react can exacerbate the difficulties of a person who stutters. One step that those who stutter can take is to let a listener know about their disorder.
That can foster compassion and better understanding. Which, in turn, helps a person who stutters build confidence.
Celebrating International Stuttering Awareness Day
The first International Stuttering Awareness Day took place in 1988 in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
This year’s celebration includes an online conference, public awareness events, a media campaign, online resources, and educational activities.
Here’s how you can observe the day:
- Support and celebrate the millions of people who stutter.
- Talk about stuttering on social media or to your peers.
- Participate in an online or in-person event and learn about the disorder.
When you encounter someone who stutters, practice patience and listen to what they have to say.
Celebrate and support those who work in the speech-language fields.
And don’t limit your support to just one day. People who stutter need support all year long.
To learn more about Dr. Blanchet and the work of Baylor University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, click here: