About 3 million Americans, or approximately 1 percent of the population, have a stutter, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Stuttering can be tough to handle sometimes, especially around others. Try having to fight through a stutter while friends awkwardly wait for you to finish your sentence — sometimes, it’s downright scary. As a stutterer myself, I used to feel out-of-place in social situations, anxiously yearning to return to my home.
Though I tried to do everything I could to learn more about combatting my stutter, I would always hear the same thing from teachers, family, and friends: to speak slower, or to think about what to say before I spoke. But no matter how slowly I spoke or how much I thought about what to say, I would still stutter.
That was until I learned I could get professional help. Although the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 makes speech therapy a required resource for school districts, I’ve realized that our schools are doing a poor job of making stutterers aware of these resources.
It’s imperative that we urge the public school system to do more for stutterers, whether it be mandatory speech impediment screenings for every student or ensuring that students know of their school’s therapy programs.