The International Stuttering Awareness Day is marked annually on 22 October to create awareness about stuttering, which affects more than 70 million people, or one percent of the population, globally. The aim of the day is to create more knowledge about the condition and reduce the stigma associated with it.
Stuttering is a communication disorder that involves “disfluencies”, or disruptions in a person’s speech. This International Stuttering Awareness Day, here are some facts about the condition:
• Stuttering can begin either individually, or develop over a long period of time, although in many cases it begins between the ages of two and five years.
• According to estimate, about five percent of children experience a period where they stutter while speaking. About 80 percent of children who begin to stutter in early childhood, grow out of the condition.
• The speech disorder is four times more common in males than in females.
• Stuttering varies in terms of time and situations. Many people undergo periods where they do not stutter or stammer significantly, only to have the condition re-emerge.
Many famous celebrities or known personalities have also had stuttering issues and have gone on to have brilliant careers despite their speech disorder. Here is a look at some of these people:
Joe Biden: The 46th US President suffers from a stutter, which had also raised questions over his mental and physical health last year as he was running for the presidency. However, Biden beat the odds, winning the election. He has been vocal about his struggle with the condition and has offered advice to people about how to deal with the condition.
King George IV: The late King of England started stuttering when he was eight years of age. Although his condition did improve due to speech therapy, he continued to struggle with stuttering throughout his life. The Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech is based on the king’s attempts to overcome his speech disorder as he prepared to give a radio broadcast to his nation.
Marilyn Monroe: The famous actor stuttered in childhood for a period of two years in high school. After following the advice given by a speech therapist, Monroe started speaking in a throaty tone, which later became a part of her onscreen personality. Due to severe stress, the actor had started stuttering again while shooting her final movie Something’s Got To Give.
Samuel L Jackson: The actor, who is well known for his role as Director Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, spent almost a year not talking to others due to the bullying he experienced over his stutter. The actor later revealed that swear words help him focus and lessen his stutter.
Ed Sheeran: The young singer was nine years old when he started stuttering. While speech therapy and alternative medicine did not help him as a child, he managed to lessen his stutter by rapping along to Eminem albums.