For the month of May, Defying Shadows will be joining the Mental Health Awareness Month by sharing a post daily on a different type of Mental Illness or “Shadow” that people commonly struggle with. Join us in creating awareness and working to end the stigma that goes with these topics! Today we have Nichole Howson sharing on stuttering. ~ Defying Shadows Team.
We’ve all experienced stuttering at some point and for centuries people have found it confusing. Today we know that stuttering begins neurologically, but can also have genetic origins and is often a result of an emotional component. Here are some common myths about stuttering.
Myth One: People stutter because they are nervous. This is a common myth because even the most fluent speakers can have a harder time speaking when nervous or under a lot of stress, however, nervousness is not the cause of the stuttering.
Myth Two: People who stutter are not as smart or are incapable. This cannot be anything farther from the truth! There are scientists, writers, and professors all who stutter. People who can stutter can be successful in any profession imaginable!
Myth Three: Stuttering is just a habit that people can break if they want to. Let me start by stating that stuttering is not a habit, but rather a neurological condition that can carry through an individual’s adult life no matter how hard they work at changing their speech.
Do you know someone who stutters? Here are some ways to be supportive and helpful:
- Listen to the content of the speech, rather than how it is being delivered.
- Keep natural eye contact with the person when you are listening. This means not staring and not avoiding eye contact when they are speaking.
- Make sure that your body language is showing that you are listening and that you are not embarrassed.
- Do not interrupt or finish the person’s sentences. Allow them to finish. People who stutter know what they want to say, they just take a bit longer to say it.
- Do not tell them to slow down, relax or take a breath. It comes across demeaning and does not help the person.
- Lastly, treat the person who stutters with the same level of respect and dignity that you would treat other people.
Nichole is a Social Media Marketing Manager, student, daughter and friend. She’s working on her Marketing Diploma and has a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.
Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.