Beyond the ignorance

It amazes me how, in this day and age, the way we articulate our words alters people’s perceptions of us. I am amazed at people’s ignorance when it comes to how I say words. Amazed that I can be treated so differently because it takes me longer to say a word or a sentence. Amazed that there is still such a stigma associated with stuttering.

Enlightening others

One of the questions I get asked frequently is, “have you always stuttered?” This is usually followed by, “what causes it?” I start to rule out all the stereotypes. I make it clear it is not caused by something my mother did when she was expecting, and that am not developmentally delayed. I make it clear that reducing my stuttering is not as simple as just “slowing down.”

Those of us that stutter endure different challenges. The derogatory term “retard” and the relations associated to the word are things that many of us have been called. This term means a slowness or limitation in ones intellectual understanding and awareness, and emotional development. Yet this is the farthest thing from the truth. There is no slowness in an individual that stutters nor difficulty in ones intellectual ability. In fact the opposite has been proven.

How many people take the time to see this? How many people look beyond our limitations?

Stereotyping

So often we as individuals that stutter are grouped based on the way we speak. This strips away our individuality and dignity. We live in  a country that was founded on dignity and integrity, a country that we thought was beyond such ignorance and hate. Yet when we are grouped and labeled because of how we articulate our words I am reminded of just how behind society is.  When we are grouped and labeled so often, we are meant to feel ashamed of our stutter because we have been segregated and labeled.

Discrimination

With every incident of discrimination I have experienced, I became stronger. With every hurdle that society placed in front of me, I became prouder of who I am. Whenever a person places walls in front of me I knock them down.  For I know anything is possible. This ignorance is not something that should be directed to us. We can all hope that ignorance will dissipate and love for our fellow person will prevail.

Richard Lutman lives in Stratford.