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Read the 5 Things to keep in Mind When Talking to Someone Who Stutters

Image result for image of a stuttering
Often, the person who stutters is seen as lacking intelligence or authority in what they have to say. But, in reality, stuttering is just a variation of “expected” speech.To ensure more positive and successful communication with someone who stutters, it’s important to challenge our ideas of listening.DPA BLOG brings to you in this piece 5things to keep in mind when talking to someone who stutters.

Practice patience.

To a certain extent, we’re all taught to be impatient communicators. We often expect direct conversation with few pauses or stumbles. But interruptions in the expected flow of speech is often a reality for people who stutter, making patience mandatory on the listener’s part.
Instead of focusing on the time it takes to have a conversation, we should focus on the importance of the conversation being had.
“Keep eye contact, be patient, and just let them know you are there with them and that you aren’t in a hurry.

Refrain from giving speaking “advice.”

People might assume stuttering is an indication of discomfort or nervousness but that often isn’t true. Most of the time, stuttering is a speech characteristic that isn’t necessarily tied to any emotions at all.
But those who don’t stutter often feel compelled to give speaking advice in a well-meaning but misguided attempt to help.
Giving “advice,” like telling someone to slow down, take a breath or relax, really doesn’t apply in conversations with those who stutter. In fact, it often comes off as patronizing.
“You’re just making a lot of assumptions about someone if you suggest they aren’t in control [because of their stutter]. “It’s just kind of condescending  and it can actually be more disruptive to the conversation when you do something like that.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

You might not always understand what someone who stutters is saying. But that’s actually a common problem we encounter when talking to people who don’t stutter, too.
“Occasionally in conversation, we will just kind of pretend we understand something when we really don’t. “If you’re really listening to someone and giving them respect, then part of that means asking them to repeat themselves if you don’t fully understand.”
Part of a meaningful conversation is gaining an understanding of someone’s thoughts and, to do that, sometimes repetition is mandatory. Even if someone works a little harder than you do to say what they have to say, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to say it again.
The best policy is to be honest. Say something like, “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch that — can you say it again?” Simple and effective.

Don’t try to fill in words

For some people who stutter, there may be long pauses in their speech while they work to find the correct word or sound to complete their thoughts. If someone you’re talking to pauses for a seemingly prolonged period of time, it may feel tempting to “help.”
“A lot of people are made uncomfortable by silence. “When there is that sort of a gap, people want to fill it.”
But it’s essential to become comfortable with silence, seeing it instead as an asset that helps you be more present in the conversation.
If someone you’re speaking to pauses for a prolonged period, don’t jump in with assumptions of what they want to say. Instead, give them the right to express their own thoughts.
“If the person you’re speaking to is uncomfortable and wants to find another way to tell it to you, that can be their responsibility. “But you don’t want to do that for someone else.”

Focus on what is being said.

stuttering is an asset to conversations because it often forces people to focus intently on each other.
“When I have a conversation with someone who stutters, the background noise that goes on in my mind instantly shuts off. “I’m so focused on what this person is trying to say because sometimes you have to try so hard to say it. That can be a really cool opportunity.”
At the same time, it’s important not to completely ignore the fact that someone stutters. Often, it’s something a person who stutters is thinking about constantly in conversation. It also comes with cultural disadvantages and social inequality that deserve well-balanced attention
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