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Mental Health

*REBROADCAST* People With Speech Disfluencies Have A Lot To Say

Illustration by Chion Wolf

***This show originally aired on June 20, 2020***

Speech disfluencies are mysterious. They are defined as breaks or disruptions that occur in the flow of speech.

For over 10 years, I was the midday host at Connecticut Public Radio, telling you the weather, the time, what show was coming up next — And at the top of every hour, the call letters.

Our listeners had opinions - lots of opinions - about the way I said the letter “W”, which I had to say dozens of times a day. Most of the opinions came in the form of praise, but now and then an email would come through from someone saying that they had to turn the radio off every time I came on. That I was saying “W” wrong.

This intense positive and negative feedback, repeated for years, and caused anxiety and, after time, I was diagnosed with a speech disfluency.

This hour, you’ll hear audio from my 2013 sessions at the Speech & Hearing Clinic at UConn.

And we’ll hear from people who struggle with the most common speech disfluency: stuttering. It affects more than 70 million people in the world —  about 5% of children go through a period of stuttering. It hasn’t stopped some people from expressing themselves in creative ways.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and email.


Catie Talarski contributed to this show.

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