I recently came across an article on the ASHA Leader Blog that took me by surprise. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport detained a college student who was returning from studying abroad because of her stutter. The student was questioned for an hour after stuttering when telling the staff member she had travelled from Costa Rica. According to the article, the student felt “intimidated, bullied, and silenced” as she was being probed. The student, however, is using this negative experience as an opportunity to educate others on stuttering. She has asked U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to train all staff on how to more efficiently work with people who stutter.
It is important to know what to do and how to respond when speaking with a person who is dysfluent. Keep reading to learn a few ways to more effectively communicate with a person who stutters.
- Give the person enough time to say what they want to say
- Try not to finish their sentences or fill in words
- Do not interrupt the person when speaking
- Avoid putting additional time pressure on the speaker (this may actually increase dysfluencies!)
- Wait patiently until they are finished speaking
- Maintain eye contact and do not appear to be alarmed during a moment of stuttering
- Avoid telling the individual who stutters to “relax” or “slow down”
When communicating with an individual who stutters, simply be patient and be a good listener!
Click the link below to read the entire ASHA Leader Blog article.
To find out more about stuttering, visit:
Nicole Sullivan M.A. CF-SLP TSSLD