11 Things I Wish My Younger Self Knew about Stuttering

August 27, 2018
Mark O’Malia, M.S., CCC-SLP
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As a child growing up, I had many different misconceptions about stuttering, and the path that it would put me on as I entered adulthood. In reflecting back on some of these misconceptions, I wanted to share 11 core things that I wish I could tell myself at a younger age.

11 Things I Wish My Younger Self Knew about Stuttering

  1. There are millions of other people, in all walks of life, in all professions, of all ages, going through these same experiences. You are not alone.
  2. Fluency does not automatically equal success, and stuttering does not automatically equal failure.
  3. Stuttering does not have to stop you from pursuing your dream job.
  4. The people in your life that truly matter care much more about what you have to say than how you say it.
  5. Unfortunately, we live in a world where there is tons of misinformation circulating about stuttering. It’s important to share with people how to best help you rather than assume they should automatically know how to do that.
  6. It’s okay to give yourself permission to feel your feelings, both positive and negative. It is also okay to ask for help if those feelings become too big to feel on your own.
  7. While it may not always seem like it, teachers are there to help you. Sharing your experience and educating them about your stuttering may make your life in school (and the pit in your stomach when you are avoiding raising your hand in class) a little easier to manage.
  8. Communicating effectively and speaking fluently are not the same thing.
  9. While it doesn’t always make the struggle easier, stuttering can strengthen many of the relationships you have with others in your life. To stutter means to choose to show vulnerability and strength, and others tend to respond to that with their own brand of openness.
  10. In many cases, the fear of stuttering tends to be harder to deal with than the stuttering itself. It is important to open up to trusted people in your life about this fear to start chipping away at it, and ultimately, make the entire experience of speaking feel easier.
  11. Much of the physical struggle you are experiencing has more to do with how hard you are trying to AVOID stuttering than the stutter itself. Once you give yourself permission to stutter, you'd be surprised how much easier it is to say what you want to say

Get to Know Mark O'Malia

The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.

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