A stammerer's second life
February 15, 2010 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Speech impediments mostly afflict boys. Often with pushy fathers. Social media is giving them a voice.
posted by bobbyelliott (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
[insert obligatory snark about youtube commenters]
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:42 PM on February 15, 2010

I don't see anything in the link about pushy fathers.
posted by ged at 1:50 PM on February 15, 2010

Ged: s-s-stop c-c-correcting me, D-D-Dad!
posted by leotrotsky at 1:52 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

"But on the most important day of my life, I beat my stammer."

That's some seriously heartwarming stuff.

But yeah, citation needed on the pushy fathers thing.
posted by chronkite at 1:57 PM on February 15, 2010

I do remember hearing something related to both pushy fathers and stuttering:

Wanda: I'm sorry about my brother, Ken. I know he's insensitive. He had a hard life. Our dad used to beat him up.

Ken: Good.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:58 PM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

It was just reported that stuttering has been linked to a particular gene.
posted by zsazsa at 2:08 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Stammerers have included characters as diverse as Winston Churchill, Bruce Willis, Robert Peston and Ed Balls.

And James Earl Jones!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:17 PM on February 15, 2010

I can't stand the embarrassment of having a sentence finished for me, but breathe a silent sigh of relief if and when it happens.

Talk about damned if you do and damned if you don't. My Dad has a very strong stammer and I occasionally find myself fighting the urge to try to "help" him and finish the sentence for him. When he feels it getting away from him, he can reel it in a little by slowing down and focusing on getting through the sentence. But when someone tries to finish sentences for him he gets agitated, which seems to only make the next few sentences even harder. He had a stroke a few years ago and the stammer went away completely for about a month, but then came back almost overnight.

Every now and then I find myself stumbling over the same types of words my Dad does. It happens rarely, and almost always only when I'm very tired or extremely distracted, but enough that I'm aware of it and fearful that it will start to happen more frequently.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:17 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

this has honestly happened – asking me to "sing it"

Reminds me of A Fish Called Wanda.
posted by desjardins at 2:19 PM on February 15, 2010

argh, I see Mayor Curley has already referenced it.
posted by desjardins at 2:19 PM on February 15, 2010

It was just reported

Another piece on Dr. Dreyna's work. (with bonus stock image of scientist peering into microscope)
posted by longsleeves at 2:23 PM on February 15, 2010

Those guys were characters?!?

Wow. You really can't trust the media
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:25 PM on February 15, 2010

Here's the actual NEJM paper on genes linked to stuttering.
posted by benzenedream at 2:30 PM on February 15, 2010

In other news: Ed Balls.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:37 PM on February 15, 2010

What does the "Pushy fathers" thing have to do with anything? It's actually been disproven that parental pressure causes stuttering.

Actually, back in the, I don't know 1930s or 40s or something there was a study that was done using non-stuttering orphans. They were given intensive speech therapy with a lot of pressure. The idea was that they might develop a stutter or other speech impediments. None of them did but it made all of them afraid of talking and pretty much ruined their lives, since there was no attempt to undo the damage.

All of this was done with the intent of proving the "pushy parents" theory. And when the study proved the opposite, the results were burred.

(Here is the Wikipedia article on it, if you want to read more)
posted by delmoi at 2:52 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

purely anecdotal, but moderately interesting: I knew a man who stammered intensely every day of his life. The day his father died, he never stuttered again.
posted by jcworth at 3:52 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah. Definitely citation needed.
posted by runcibleshaw at 4:23 PM on February 15, 2010

delmoi: "Actually, back in the, I don't know 1930s or 40s or something there was a study that was done using non-stuttering orphans."

Holy shit, Monster Study indeed. What the hell, people?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:22 PM on February 15, 2010

People try to put me d-down
(Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because I g-g-get around

posted by sleeping bear at 11:09 PM on February 15, 2010

Wow, just the other day I considered posting a question on the green about stuttering - how I'd barely ever heard of a girl with a stutter - was it pop-culture or science?
Then I figured I should at least google it first, but then I phrased my searches poorly and my results b-b-bored me, so I went to bed and promptly forgot about it.
Anyway, so now there's this, which says mostly boys (!) and pushy dads (?) and no citations?(?!)
I read the post and the links in the comments, and holy shit that monster study is monstrous, but I still don't see, do girls do more than lisp?
(not lispist/sexist)
posted by hypersloth at 1:56 AM on February 16, 2010

Ah, crappy link and chatfilter. This is the life.
posted by luckypozzo at 6:19 AM on February 16, 2010

Since it touches on a number of subjects right at the heart of stuttering - what might cause it, what probably doesn't, the social and emotional cost to the stutterer, and the difficulties in researching and treating it - the monster study can serve as a great introduction to stuttering. But be aware that a number of contradictory claims have been made about it: it proved Wendell Johnson's theory on the origin of stuttering, it disproved his theory, the orphans were harmed, the orphans were not harmed, stuttering was induced, stuttering was not induced, the study was suppressed, the study was not suppressed. It's worth reading more than one article on the subject.

Previously on MeFi (1, 2)

Jim Dyer's story in the San Jose Mercury News, 'Ethics and Orphans' (pdf, 2001).

A defense of the monster study by law professor Nicholas Johnson, the son of Wendell Johnson (2002).

New York Times story on the monster study (2003).

Criticism of 'Ethics and Orphans' (2003).

My own opinion is that they managed to induce the behavior that accompanies self consciousness of one's stutter, and apparently in some cases for life, but not the stutter itself. How terribly ironic that Wendell Johnson's theory, that stuttering begins in the ear of the listener should be disproved by this experiment, but that the children should become subject to the emotional trauma accompanying a stutter existing only in the imagination of the listener. Instead of proving stuttering to be a learned behavior, and thereby providing a cure, the subjects were taught to be self conscious over their own speech and permanently damaged.
posted by BigSky at 9:05 AM on February 16, 2010

I sometimes have trouble speaking, but I don't know whether it would be a real stammer or stutter. It usually comes from locking up from anxiety and general lack of practice in speaking. It's so strange to go from a medium like the internet where I can express myself concisely and clearly to IRL or the telephone. Suddenly I have trouble thinking, second-guess myself on how to pronounce words, etc.

Not to say that's a constant occurance, but sometimes I'll just get completely fed up with my inability to communicate.

(it can be a problem with arguments in long-distance relationships where the first instinct is to turn to the telephone because it is more personable, but being agitated, I can't say what is wrong sufficiently.)

practice with talking to friends has helped-- it hasn't seemed so much a problem now (in non-distressed states of emotion, anyway) than previously, because I think I have relaxed around my classmates and people in general, and am also less nervous about *not* stumbling over my words.
posted by rubah at 7:38 PM on February 17, 2010

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