GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This past Sunday was International Stuttering Awareness Day, a time to learn about the speech disorder that affects about three million people in the United States.
Sarah D’Agostino is a member of the National Stuttering Association, which uses education, advocacy, research and outreach to help all who are affected by a stutter as well as speech professionals. She is also a person who stutters.
“Stuttering looks a lot of different ways … it can look like repetitions, it could also be silent block … and then also it develops a lot of secondary characteristics, so all of the avoidance and anxiety and all the things that are kind of underneath the surface is also just a part of stuttering and the challenge with it,” explained D’Agostino.
While there is no cure that works consistently over time for all people who stutter, the National Stuttering Association works closely with researchers and speech and language pathologists to learn more about it and develop techniques to help, like support groups.
“I’ve firsthand witnessed for myself and as well as hundreds and hundreds of other people who have a stutter, that when we get into community, we can empower each other and find that inner strength. And then we’re able to utilize the tools and the techniques and the science behind what can help us manage a more fluent pattern of speech,” said D’Agostino.
Next Monday night, people who stutter and members of their community are invited attend a Zoom that will host a conversation about stuttering, tools, techniques and connection. You can register on YouAreNotAlone23.com.