For the first time in Westfield, International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) will be recognized with a proclamation at tonight’s (Oct. 15) Town Council meeting by Mayor Shelley Brindle. International Stuttering Awareness Day was created in 1998 to help bring awareness to the brave children and adults who face a stutter-free world every day, while trying to communicate with their disfluencies.
With myths that still persist, such as people who stutter are anxious, or have psychological problems, people who stutter have to face a daily battle of combating stigmas, as well as their own speech difficulties. With celebrities who stutter like Emily Blunt, James Earl Jones, Bruce Willis, and Ed Sheeran, the stuttering community is proud to celebrate ISAD, which is recognized annually on Oct. 22, to increase the awareness that people who stutter are just as smart, extroverted and capable as any typical speaker.
With about 70 million people worldwide who stutter, and about 3 million Americans who stutter, the chances are good that you’ve met a person who stutters in your daily activities. As a clinician who specializes in stuttering, I feel honored to get to work with these brave speakers to encourage people who stutter to be open about their stuttering with others, as well as to help empower people who stutter to educate others with information, such as to never interrupt a person who stutters, and to not finish their sentences.
I applaud Mayor Brindle, and the Access and Inclusivity Council (AIC) for recognizing International Stuttering Awareness Day and for recognizing the courageous people who stutter in our area who face challenges every day that typical speakers take for granted, such as, ordering a meal at a restaurant, making a phone call, and even, introducing themselves to new people.
The takeaway here is that people who stutter are incredible humans who deserve our respect and thankfully, our Mayor and council are doing just that to make Westfield an even more inclusive town for all voices. For more information, please visit The Stuttering Foundation’s website at stutteringhelp.org.