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.
- Erin O'Brien Wilson is a Speech-Language Pathologist who is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo. She is also a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency Disorders
- Alida Engel has been a Speech and Language Pathologist for over 50 years. She runs The Center for Speech and Learning in New Haven
- Ari Cobb is an 8 year-old New Haven resident who is working with Alida Engel on his stutter
- Drew Lynch finished second on Season 10 of America’s Got Talent with his Golden Buzzer performance. Since then, he has been seen on Conan, Maron, and on his worldwide tours
- Chris Harshaw is a PhD candidate at Yale, who is a self-described "Proud Stutterer"
Catie Talarski contributed to this show.