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The academic field of Disability Studies

disability

Disability Studies is a relatively recent field in academia, yet today almost all of Canada's major universities have degree programs in this area. In what will be the first of a series, this article will summarize a paper by a student in a Disabilities Studies program who has specialized in the topic of stuttering. The student featured here is Joshua St. Pierre, an MA candidate in philosophy at the University of Alberta. His paper is entitled "The Construction of the Disabled Speaker: Locating Stuttering in Disability Studies."

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Stuttering and the telephone

phone

For people who stutter, picking up a telephone to make a call can be like picking up a live cobra – only the phone is worse. Stutterers often share the agony of having to speak on the phone.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why this is so. And here’s what I’ve come up with. Someone once told me about that about 70 per cent of the meaning we get from dialogue comes from non-verbal communication. The rest comes from verbal communication.

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Stammering on the BBC: a personal recollection

winston Winston Purdy

This article was originally published in the summer 2012 issue of CSA Voices.

With all the interest in the film The King’s Speech last year,  I was reminded of when I lived in London from 1969 to 1971. I was studying voice, and to support myself I copied music for a publisher. I worked at home and listened to the BBC constantly to keep me company. Struggling as I was with my own stuttering, I was heartened to hear several regular contributors to the BBC who openly stuttered, (usually mildly) –  or stammered, as the British call it.

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I am woman, hear me stutter

iamwoman

Stuttering. Is it an ability in disguise? Or is it a disability? Does being female affect the perception of stuttering?

As a child I considered my speech problem a disability. It set me apart from all the other ‘normal’ kids – kids who spoke with vigour to their friends about summer vacations and fun things they did on weekends. Kids who laughed and made fun of me until I was in tears, simply because I spoke differently from them. They didn’t stop and think that they, too, probably have some kind of disability or “weakness”.

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BC man who stutters stands up to Enbridge

channel Douglas Channel, BC

Murray Minchin is a postal worker from Kitimat, British Columbia, and a vocal advocate for protecting the Douglas Channel, part of the coastal region he calls home. When he heard about plans for a pipeline and marine terminal there three years ago, the potential damage to the environment worried him. Despite his stutter and chronic shyness that had affected him his whole life, he decided to become a spokesperson for the cause and stand up to the huge Alberta gas distribution company, Enbridge.

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