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Stuttering severity cannot be quantified…

Slow stuttering news week, and I’ve got time for a rant/commentary…

Stuttering is just about the most confounding, backwards, antithetical, obtuse, confusing pathology out there.  (I think you get the point.)  A good example is how “severity” is rated.  And this concept befuddled me for years.  Why–because it’s obvious, silly.  The more someone stutters, or the more “severe” someone stutters, the more severe they are, right?  I can measure these things.

Well, kinda sorta, but not really.  What people lose sight of is that the science of stuttering is so confounded that to try and empirically account for the disorder would be to miss the forest from the trees.    We’ve been trying that for decades, and with no forward progress whatsoever.  (Seriously, are we that far off–therapeutically–then where we were in the 1930s?  Regretably, no.)

So the better way to view stuttering is to try and quantify the stuttering experience.  The subjective, rather than the objective/empirical.  So the better question is, how severely does stuttering impact one’s life.  Does stuttering make their life decisions for person, or does the person make their life decisions for themself?  I have now come to the realization that the concept of stuttering severity is intertwined with one’s quality of life and life oppurtunities.

Russ Hicks’ almost discusses this concept in his paper “How bad do you stutter?

But what will really tweak your noodle is the concept of power.  We can feed stuttering, grant stuttering more power and authority over our lives if we acquiesce to it.  And this may be a process or plateu on the journey to living in peace with stuttering.  At first, stuttering has power over us.  Then, we learn to take this power back.  And at some point, we may recognize that we gave stuttering the power over us in the first place.  But I digress…

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