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I Stutter. I Now Admit It.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 20, 2019 10:40

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Stuttering became a flashpoint during and after the latest Democratic presidential debate. I now reflect on this speech impediment with which I've dealt.

During the Democratic Presidential candidate debate on Thursday, December 19, former Vice President Joe Biden reflected on people who stutter, and he verbalized an example of it. In response, former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went to Twitter to mock what Mr. Biden said. She wrote "I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I hhhave absolutely no idea what Biden is talking about." In response, Mr. Biden then Tweeted "I've worked my whole life to overcome a stutter. And it's my great honor to mentor kids who have experienced the same. It's called empathy. Look it up." Sanders then offered an apology on Twitter and deleted the original Tweet.

The media was practically on fire after this, and it has been covered in many sources. It's become a hot topic.

And those of us who stutter will think about it ever more.

I have an occasional stutter (or stammer, in other words). I don't recall having it as a young child, but it seems to have appeared when I was in high school or college. It would manifest in two ways for me: the more obvious landing on the first sound of a word and repeating it a few times, and the less obvious circumstance when I would open my mouth to say a word and not be able to speak it, kind of like catching my breath. That latter type has been more common for me.

I can go for a few weeks with no instance of it occurring, and at other times it will happen a few times in one day. I would describe the feeling as being robbed of breath, momentarily. Sometimes I will say a different word, but it isn't really the one I intended to use.

It's a weird feeling, which I would also describe as tripping on the sidewalk and stumbling. 

My primary method of overcoming stuttering, or preventing it, has been to take notes (quickly or in advance) so as to plan out my speaking, or even writing out a script or speech, so as to rely upon that. This almost always solves my problem. But sometimes I will be speaking to someone casually and I get "caught on my words." 

I have not been mocked for my intermittent stuttering, and I think most people either don't notice it or remember that I did this. I went on Facebook and asked my friends if they realized that I stutter occasionally and they were unaware of it! So it could be, quite likely, that they do not notice it or they forget it, or disregard it, because I do not have a constant problem handling it.

But once in a while I reflect upon this. And I wonder why and when it has happened to me. I'm not ashamed, although I do find it mildly frustrating when it occurs. I decided to read about stuttering, too. 

People, don't mock stuttering, don't mock people who stutter.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 20, 2019 10:40

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Source: CNN

Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday apologized to former Vice President Joe Biden after mocking...

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