Stuttering (or stammering) is a serious speech disorder. Individuals find themselves repeating or prolonging a word or syllable. According to The Mayo Clinic, people who stutter are fully aware of what they are trying to say, which means that the condition can lead to problems with self-esteem and interacting with others. As such, the International Stuttering Association designated October 22 as International World Stuttering Day in 1998. Since then, the project has gone on to raise awareness of the condition. Help the cause by considering some of the following ways to show your support for World Stuttering Day.
In the workplace
It is not uncommon to work alongside somebody who stutters, albeit to varying degrees of severity. On World Stuttering Day, show your support for this person, whether you are a manager or a colleague. Invite a local support group to come into your workplace and spend some time with your team, helping them learn how to support your colleague and what the condition can mean. Spend some quality time with a team member who stutters, and set personal objectives to help him or her manage the condition at work. Remind your other team members and colleagues of the importance of showing tolerance and support to everybody in the workplace -- on World Stuttering Day and every day thereafter.
In the classroom
For children, a stutter may simply be a source of amusement, because they don't understand the severity or the nature of the problem. Teachers and counselors should work with children to help them understand and respect any classmates who suffer from this problem. Teachers should help children who stutter gain confidence by praising them for speaking fluently and creating a climate where they feel comfortable enough to practice their speech in front of others. World Stuttering Day could be a great opportunity to invite an expert from a local support group to talk to children and spend some time in the classroom.
If you live with a child or adult who stutters, then World Stuttering Day is your opportunity to show your support to them. As a busy parent or partner, it can sometimes be difficult to offer the necessary level of support to them, but this is a great opportunity to set the day aside just for this. Develop the right behaviors with your child. Listen attentively, maintain eye contact, and wait without jumping in. Make sure that you set aside quality time, too, removing distractions like the television. With adults, consider taking them out for a special meal, showing how you care about them and giving them your undivided attention for a few hours.
In the community
If you have or know a child or adult who stutters, you could use World Stuttering Day as an opportunity to reach out and offer assistance to a local support group. Consider raising awareness of the day through social networks like Twitter and Facebook, or volunteer your time to support fundraising activities and events. Familiarize yourself with the issues faced by people who stutter by looking for videos and online discussions through the International Stuttering Association Web site.