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Sunday, March 26, 2006

I need a dog?

Earlier in the week, I received a chain of emails from a stuttering message board in response to a woman who had posted on the board an issue she had about her young son who stuttered. This is one of the responses she received:

Perhaps a dog would help. Stuttering comes from fear and anxiety and some of this is from the response stutters get as listeners get impatient. This causes a snowball effect. The best listener... One that never rushes you... Is a dog.

It never ceases to amaze me the depths of stupidity that some people are able to reach. Whenever we treat stuttering as anything less than a physiological disorder, we are making what is a difficult situation to begin with, that much more challenging. I understand that this happens because people want the easy answer. They want to explain that the stutterers disfluency is a direct result of some psychological shortcoming. That is the easy answer because it provides the easy solution - get a dog, stop being anxious, stop being fearful, etc. If you still stutter, it is your fault because you are not following these easy solutions.

This really hits home with me, as I grew up being told by a family member that my stuttering was a result of 1) something wrong that I did, 2) my punishment for a lack of respect I showed a family member, 3) a result of my self-centered nature, or 4) a combination of the above.

However, if you are smart enough to be reading my blog (and have made it to the 5th paragraph of this posting), then you are smart enough to realize what the truth is. Stuttering is a physiological disorder - all credible, unbiased research tells us that. However, it is a physiological disorder with no known cure. No magic pill to take, no needle injection, no device to plug into body parts, no ancient home remedies and no positive buzzwords we keep repeating to ourselves in order to keep us in denial have proven to be the cure.

Our best bet appears to be therapy with a qualified therapist. That is not the sexy, easy answer that people want to hear. The bottom line is, speech therapy is expensive, time consuming and very hard work. It is much easier to tell people to go get a dog.

I am getting down off of my soapbox now. Have a great Sunday!

1 comment:

Staci said...

I totally know this guy is a wackjob since he thinks dogs are the best listeners. Dude, get a cat! Get four! Then either wear a black sweater, have company who is deathly allergic to cats arriving in three minutes, a newspaper spread out or anything in a glass and you will have a totally captive audience for as long as you want. Assboobie!