What People Who Stutter Have Taught Me

(Originally published November 20, 2014)

Through my clinical experience as a speech pathologist, I have been blessed to spend 25 years getting to know and learn from people who stutter.

I’ve wanted to put down on paper what I have learned from them over the years, so I started this list on the back of a napkin while sitting at a restaurant the other night. Here’s what I have so far:

  • Listen for the message—not the way it is delivered
  • Listen more, talk less
  • Courage is really all about facing your fear and slaying it—over and over and over again
  • We don’t need sympathy, we need respect
  • The spoken word is powerful—and beautiful
  • Words should never be taken for granted
  • Wearing a chip on your shoulder invites negativity
  • Embrace that which you cannot change
  • The human spirit has its highs and lows
  • Weather the lows; tomorrow is a new day
  • Resilience is there inside each of us; hard times and support will bring it to the surface Avoidance of that which terrifies us weakens us
  • We become prisoners of what we allow to control us
  • Embrace everything that makes you unique
  • Together we are strong

As I continue to work with people who stutter (along with business communicators who may have other communication challenges), I’ll continue to learn from them and help them celebrate the unique talents they bring to the table—not bemoan what they might lack.