Question for anyone with a significant stutter

So, I have several clients that have very pronounced stutters, and I've always been curious about one thing.

Sometimes, they get REALLY stuck on a single word, and in the context of the conversation, I know what they are trying to say.

So, for you, when you have that issue, where you just get really stuck on saying it, would you prefer if the person you are talking to finished the phrase for you? Or just let you work it out.

Now I'm not talking about EVERY conversation, and every instance of stuttering, but to give an example, I just got off the phone with a client who was trying to tell me he would come to my office on Monday, because I asked him what time he would like to come by for an appointment. Only thing, he got totally stuck on the word Monday. Like, a good 10 seconds of repeating "Mon mon mon mon mon mon..." even to the point of pulling his mouth away from the phone, I'm guessing with a nervous tic of some kind.

I make it a point to let my clients just finish the phrase, but it did seem like he was getting worked up about it, and I could easily have alleviated that frustration by finishing his sentence. But I also can appreciate that this type of reaction could annoy people with a stutter.

So, again, depending on the context, do you appreciate people occasionally finishing your thought when you are just totally stuck on a word? Or do you always want to finish it yourself, sort of like a mental pressure, that doesn't clear up unless you can just get it out? Because I'm usually talking to them on the phone, so they can't give me a visual cue that they would like assistance with the word in question.

Little preface here, not everyone who has a stutter reacts the same way to people trying to assist them with it. Typically most are happy you understand them and are able to move past the inconvenience without judgement.

The diplomatic thing is to employ synonyms. So rather than speeding through the word Monday, a polite interruption of "The 23rd of September then?". Conversation moves on and there's no "correction" of the stutter.

I know your question comes from a good place and likely a thought of "Am I helping this person?" but do not worry, you're not a speech therapist and they haven't engaged you in speech therapy at this time. Just treat them like any other person, and I am certain they understand how their stutter can cause some conversations to be more difficult than normal. They have a speech impediment, not a lack of social comprehension.

If you feel up to it, approach them directly about the stutter and what they would prefer you do in that situation. Don't eggshell around it either, treat it like an every day thing, like asking someone if they want sparkling or still water. "In future, if you're stuttering with a word, do you want me to just complete it for you or would you rather I wait until you're done?".

They're people, not bombs you have to defuse :)

Abomination:
Little preface here, not everyone who has a stutter reacts the same way to people trying to assist them with it.

No kidding, does every broad question have to come with a disclaimer that I am aware humans are individuals and thus there is a variant of responses? I would assume that's understood, but I guess not. Sorry but this always irks me, the "we're not all identical" comment that always comes up when questions are asked. There are 7 billion of us on this planet, I am aware there is variation in behavior, but there are also things like trends.

Abomination:

I know your question comes from a good place and likely a thought of "Am I helping this person?" but do not worry, you're not a speech therapist and they haven't engaged you in speech therapy at this time.

Yes, I am aware I am not a speech therapist. I'm simply asking "does it bug you when people try to help you out with words you are stuck on, if it's apparently a very difficult one that's taking a while."

Abomination:
Just treat them like any other person, and I am certain they understand how their stutter can cause some conversations to be more difficult than normal. They have a speech impediment, not a lack of social comprehension.

I do treat them like any other person...I never said they had a lack of social comperhension.

Abomination:

They're people, not bombs you have to defuse :)

....I would think that would be obvious, what with their lack of ticking noises and explosive components.

Sorry about the abrasive responses, but you typed a lot of stuff that didn't really have anything to do with what I was asking, and only got to the part about "just ask them", which is the most directly relevant, at the end of the post. And you still didn't actually provide your own opinion on the situation, which is what I wanted to know, assuming you are actually someone with a stutter, and not just answering for them.

I'm just curious about a cross section of opinions, to see what different people think.

Happyninja42:
Sorry about the abrasive responses, but...

Eeeeeeeeeh.

I was covering all bases. I do not have a stutter, but my significant other did and I experienced her overcoming it.

What I covered there was all the reasons someone may want to act in a certain way around someone who has a stutter. My partner expressed the biggest issue was the one that was not communicated - when the other party is nervous about offending you then it feels like one is being patronized. Then that in turn creates this anxiety feedback loop with the other party.

The most important thing is to have the right attitude, which typically means observing all the things I mentioned earlier. Don't patronize, address as quickly as possible and move on, and don't try to "fix" them.

And yes, the preface is needed - apparently - because if I had not included it there's always the chance of some asshole saying I'm implying all people with a stutter are the same when they could have so many varying reasons for their stutter and I don't appreciate the possible trauma they have gone through that caused the stutter and blah blah ableist scum etc etc.

Just start stuttering in response so they don't feel lonely.

Happyninja42:
So, I have several clients that have very pronounced stutters, and I've always been curious about one thing.

Sometimes, they get REALLY stuck on a single word, and in the context of the conversation, I know what they are trying to say.

So, for you, when you have that issue, where you just get really stuck on saying it, would you prefer if the person you are talking to finished the phrase for you? Or just let you work it out.

I don't have a stutter, but my father had a serious one. He saw a therapist to develop ways to deal with it when he was young, although I've noticed as he got older it seems to be getting worse.

My general view is that it's politest to wait for them to finish or work round it. Also, my perception is that a certain amount of social awkwardness (anxiety) may contribute to stutters, so it's best to be patient, understanding, and make them feel comfortable.

Depends on the person. Depends on the mood of the person. Depends how you present yourself, and how that presentation is interpreted/misinterpreted by said person. Depends on if you guess correctly. Case by case, best to read carefully each character from what little is provided. Personally speaking, it isn't a bother unless someone is guessing incorrectly multiple times and I'm already annoyed by their existence, but am generally pretty laid back about most things when it comes to enduring fellow humans, so best not to take that as a common state for others. Some people have specific bugbears that you won't know of until they're prodded. You may not even know after that still, if they are prone to suppressing their frustrations to strangers, hoping to be helpful or not.

I have nothing to add to this conversation, but this Ralph's Commercial is highly relevant. Enjoy.

 

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