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    • First off, make sure you read this if you haven't yet: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/joe-biden-stutter-profile/602401/

      Second: My profiles on social media and other places mention that I'm a cyclist, a husband, a father, an ESL teacher, a Canadian, a resident of Taiwan, and maybe other things, but one thing they don't say is that I am a stutterer. The gist I got from this article is that maybe I should be. But as an ESL teacher in a foreign country, I'm a little apprehensive about doing that.

    • Thank you for sharing this article and your thoughts!

      I attended an event a year or so ago where Joe Biden was the speaker. (This was before he declared his current candidacy for president.) After his speech, he sat down for a Q&A with the host in front of a packed hall. He seemed quite comfortable and very amiable. His focus that evening was about collaboration and conciliation. He seemed particularly focused on the importance of compassion and seemed genuinely alarmed about the partisanship that has gripped our country in recent years. It never occurred to me that he is an “old man” - he just seemed very wise and very humane that evening.

      I was very surprised when the pundits started attacking him based on his age. This article presents a concurrent narrative that significantly broadens that very narrow perspective. Thanks again for posting. Much to think on here.

    • I read the Atlantic article about Mr Biden and it helped me see the debates in a different light.

      Whether the media or the powers in either party will let that information come to the fore, remains to be seen....

    • @lidja @Pathfinder @Vilen @Chris

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post and either comment or react, but I do find it strange that the two comments to this post are focusing on Biden. Not to be self-centred or narcissistic, but my point of the post was to focus on myself and how other people on here might react to the revelation that I, too, have a stutter. Partly because, as I say in my post, stating I have a stutter is not something I put on my intros on social media and so it is something about me that nobody on here knew. Does the fact that you now know change your perception of me? It's not that I really care one way or another, it's just that in my experience people's perceptions of me does change once they find out.

      Another reason is that the author of the article seems to think that admitting one has a stutter is something that should be done and I was curious to find out what the community on here -- the majority of which, I assume, do not stutter -- thinks about that. It's not that I am ashamed that I do stutter, it's just that I don't want the fact that I do to define who or what I am. Personally, it's not someting that I deny if anybody asks me about it, but it's also not something I readily admit if it's not brought up for the reason I stated above. And now, because of that article, I am wondering if I should be.

    • Does the fact that you now know change your perception of me? 

      I read your post with interest but did not know how to comment. Now, after you explain it, your OP intention seems to make more sense. I personally think it's very hard to refer to online interactions using the term "perception", and in this case even more so. I respect your choice to "come out" with this, and hope it serves you well. It certainly seems important to you but do you really understand why?

    • Replying to @zorxique - With the greatest respect - you don't stutter here, via text, so I don't perceive you with speech difficulty here - Maybe if we were to meet in person I might react differently, although I dealt professionally with many people who had physical limitations and tried to treat them all as I would wish to be treated.

      The article in the Atlantic was mostly about Mr Biden and his difficulties with speech, and did suggest being open about the issue might help him in the public's eye. So no, I don't think I think less of you for admitting to difficulties with speech.

      I am not completely certain that being open about stuttering will help a politician, but maybe it might. I have my doubts - It will help with many of the public, but certainly not all.

      I knew some well known actors had difficulty with stuttering, but didn't seem to when speaking lines of a screenplay, and I knew that difficulty with speech can be confused with other mental impairments by poorly informed individuals. I would like to think I am not one of the mis-informed.

      Whether publically admitting to stuttering will be helpful for you, I have no idea. It may depend to a great deal on the degree of speech impairment you are dealing with, and the attitudes of the people in your social circumstances.

      I try to compose text, without mis-spellings, because I feel that if i mis-spell or write poorly I will be judged negatively by my readers, when I am just not a terribly skilled typist. 😕 Do you think less of me because I am a poor typist?

    • Partly because, as I say in my post, stating I have a stutter is not something I put on my intros on social media and so it is something about me that nobody on here knew. Does the fact that you now know change your perception of me? It's not that I really care one way or another, it's just that in my experience people's perceptions of me does change once they find out.

      The gist I got from this article is that maybe I should be. But as an ESL teacher in a foreign country, I'm a little apprehensive about doing that.

      You are part of a community of the most curious bunch you will ever know. So yeah, since you shared this I am curious as to how you learned to manage it to the extent that you are now a teacher speaking to groups of students as your profession. I know little about stuttering so I am curious what can cause it to surface in your life as an adult. Does stress or not enough sleep make it harder “to control”? And is saying “keeping it under control” appropriate or am I being offensive or disrespectful by using such language?

      But online, FWIW, whether you have a stutter or not isn’t going to change my perception of you.

      You asked whether you should follow the article’s advice and reveal to your students and co-workers in Taiwan.

      My answer is no.

      Different cultures react differently to “different” and what may be accepted in one culture may be ostracized in another. Unless you know with certainty what the reaction will be, I would think long and hard before making a disclosure that could negatively impact you.

      My two cents, for what it’s worth.

    • Why did I respond about Biden, and not about you personally? Because I wasn’t quite sure why you were posting, or how/what you expected in return. Now, I know. :)

      Does the fact that you now know change your perception of me? It's not that I really care one way or another, it's just that in my experience people's perceptions of me does change once they find out.

      Another reason is that the author of the article seems to think that admitting one has a stutter is something that should be done and I was curious to find out what the community on here -- the majority of which, I assume, do not stutter -- thinks about that.

      I’ll share an experience that might shed some light on my perspective...

      Many years ago, after I was divorced, I started communicating with a guy on a dating site. (No judging!) We wrote back and forth for a few weeks and then decided to meet—in fact, we met to watch the movie, Frost/Nixon, which was up for the Best Picture academy award that year. After the movie, we stopped in at a little cafe nearby to talk about the movie. That was the first time I had ever met and talked with someone who has (what I think may be) a mild form of Tourette’s Syndrome (very odd speech tics but no obscenities).

      I’ve known this guy for more than ten years now (we are good platonic friends), and we still haven’t ever had a conversation about his speech tics. I’ve met all the members of his family—parents, siblings, and kids—and no one has ever said anything about it, even though it is very obvious.

      It is kind of strange.

      Without a frank talk about it, I am left to wonder what impact it has on his psyche—not his intellect (he is very smart), but his *psyche.* However, I feel like HE is the one who gets to decide if/when that conversation ever happens, so I have not ever asked him about it.

      I think this should be true for you, too. YOU decide when or if that conversation happens. Without that conversation, it may take people a little longer to process the situation and figure out how to be comfortable with it, but eventually it won’t matter to most of us.

    • I respect your choice to "come out" with this, and hope it serves you well. It certainly seems important to you but do you really understand why?

      I do, yes, because, unlike a physical defect that I might have, nobody who doesn't know me or know that I stutter can tell that I do. For me, on the other hand, it's in the back of my mind every waking moment of the day and at the forefront of my mind every time I open my mouth to speak or even think about speaking. It's there with me all the time and I wonder if it's something that other people -- especially those who know me and know about it -- think about it when talking to me as well.

      I have seen people's reactions when I have that first block or repetition in our conversations. From my point of view it looks as if they are re-evaluating my intelligence or mental capabilities. That might not be true, but that is how it appears to me. I am much more eloquent in writing than I am in speaking -- for obvious reasons, I would think -- and so I am just curious, in wake of the author of the article stating that people like us should just come out and admit it, what others on here think of me now that they know.

    • @StephenL I do agree with your comment about the people on here. That is one of the reasons I posted this on here, rather than say on Facebook, is that the people seem to be more open-minded and welcoming than on other places on the internet.

      I, personally, don't see anything wrong with saying "keeping it under control". That is precisely what I try to do everytime I speak. I know there is no way to "cure" it and so I accept that the best I can hope for is to somehow keep it under control, to not let it affect my communication with other people.

      Thank you for stating that your knowing is not going to change your perception of me. While I do think a lot of people might feel the same way, very few actually come out and say it.

      I also agree with your comment on cultures. Especially here in Taiwan and with my job, I don't think it's a good idea, which is one reason why I asked. I wanted to be sure I wasn't over-reacting or over-thinking. Problems like mine aren't as readily accepted here as they are in Western society. I also wonder what parents would think if they knew their children were being taught to speak in a foreign language by someone who himself has trouble speaking.

    • I knew some well known actors had difficulty with stuttering, but didn't seem to when speaking lines of a screenplay, and I knew that difficulty with speech can be confused with other mental impairments by poorly informed individuals. I would like to think I am not one of the mis-informed.

      In the end that is precisely the problem, as I know that there are people who assume that people who stutter have a lower intelligence or mental capabilities and that is definitely not the case. I did read somewhere that studies show that people who stutter actually have a higher intelligence, but I don't know if that's true or not.

      Thank you for thinking that. I find that those who get to know me don't react in any way and as far as I know don't think less of me for it nor think of it at all. It's usually the people who I meet for the first time that have any kind of reaction.

      I have heard some people lament that we now have this technology that lets us speak to anyone at anytime and from anywhere, and we use that technology to send people text messages. For me messaging is a god-send because the one thing a stutterer fears more than anything else is talking on the phone or making a phone call. I can list a number of activities that most people would not want to do that I would rather do than make a phone call.

      I mention that because I was thinking of that after reading your comment about misspellings. I also try to type without typos and misspellings because I think typos and mistakes is a sign of laziness. I don't think it's difficult to press the shift key before the "i" so you type "I" and not "i", nor do I think it's difficult to take a minute to look at what you wrote to make sure auto-correct didn't correct things incorrectly. I don't think poor typing is an indication of a lower intellect, just a sign that the person is a little lazy.

    • I think AUTO CORRECT causes more errors for me than it corrects. 🤨

      And yes, you do seem to think less of me if I mis-spell eg: I must be lazy. 🙀 surprise, surprise - my self esteem remains intact more or less 😃

      This is a link with a list of prominent, successful people who stutter lest anyone of us here still secretly think stutterers are disabled or less mentally able - what a distiguished group of people including James Stewart of course, Mel Tillis, Emily Blunt, David Mitchell - one of my very favorite authors, Lewis Carroll, Winston Churchill, and of course King George VI, to mention just a few prominent names on the list.

    • I'd say the reality is that interpretation and angle you will get looked at depends very much on the person (their background and history at becoming a human being if you will) and unfortunately, also the conjuncture. I am sure you already had extensive experiences hopefully diverse enough to give you a mental picture on how the human world is, viewed and lived though your eyes and mind. What I learned is the less expectations we place in others, the less we suffer disappointment. Finally, I personally don't try at all to model my image by what others would or would not approve, and always remember the solitude we all must conscientize from birth till the last moments.

    • (I just realised I had a few mistakes such as missing words in here and so I just went through and corrected them.)

      That is usually what we are going for: not talking about it. Not because we want to ignore it (we — and probably you as well — cannot) or forget about it (once again, we can't) but just because we don't want it to become a part of the conversation, we don't want it to become who and what we are.

      My wife and I have been married for almost sixteen years and have known each for over nineteen and we have never had a discussion about it. In fact, other than the fact that I sometimes have trouble speaking, I don't think she knows anything about it. Disabilties and problems like mine are usually in Taiwan, for lack of a better term, swept under the rug.

      As for what something like this has done for your friend's pysche, if he's anything like me, it has made it so there are just certain things he does not do. For me, if I can avoid making a phone call or asking someone a question or for help, I will. Some people, I think, if they want to ask someone a question, will just pick up the phone and dial. Me, I will try to find some other way around finding out what I need to know. (I didn't get my driver's licence until I was in my twenties because making an appointment for a driving test required me to make a phone call. The embarrassment of not having a driver's licence was less than my fear of making that phone call.) If I'm not satisfied with something in a restaurant, I will usually just accept it because telling the wait staff about it would require me to speak up and possibly ask questions. My stutter has made me more introverted and shy than I think I would have been because I am scared to speak up or speak out.

      But, on the other hand, it has also made me who I am today.

    • I am curious as to how you learned to manage it to the extent that you are now a teacher speaking to groups of students as your profession. I know little about stuttering so I am curious what can cause it to surface in your life as an adult.

      Many apologies, I just realised I forget to respond to this comment.

      First of all, according to my parents to my parents I started stuttering when I started school when I was five. Since I don't remember that time, I have been stuttering for as long as I can remember. It comes and goes, for a while I may be able to speak almost fluently and then for a while a while I will blocks — and sometimes severe ones — almost every time I say something.

      As for being a teacher, I don't really know. I don't usually have problems with speaking when I am in class. I do sometimes have problems, but they are usually small blocks and I can use other techniques (much like Biden does) so that my students don't notice them. I seem to have an easier time talking to large groups of people (like, for example, in a classroom setting) than I do talking to small groups of, say, two or three people, or even one person. I also refereed minor hockey and soccer when I was a teenager and had no problems there either. In the same vein, when I was younger — and single — I actually had an easier time talking to (pretty) girls than I did talking to my own friends. A lot of people think that nervousness causes stutterers to block more, but I usually have more problems when I am relaxed than when I am nervous.

    • Thank you for sharing how stuttering affects you as an adult.  It’s fascinating that large audiences reduce the chance that stuttering will manifest.

      My stutter has made me more introverted and shy than I think I would have been because I am scared to speak up or speak out.

      I used to be extremely shy growing up, even in high school.  But then at university I found myself doing a lot of public speaking.  After graduation, I did a Dale Carnegie course and one of the instructors suggested I go into sales.

      I’ve been out of sales for awhile, so I’m not as much of a quick-thinking in-person communicator as I used to be, but I love to engage in meaningful discussions that go beyond the day to day stuff of what did I do today, the weather, how long I was stuck in traffic. Cake is an outlet for me to be reflective and to take my time in crafting a response.

      My perception of you is that you are a quite intelligent dude, @zorxique , and I’d imagine that it’s frustrating sometimes to not share your thoughts, ideas and insights in face to face small group settings.  I’d therefore throw out the suggestion to share your voice in other people’s conversations here. Any conversation that has the voices of this one is a good place to start.

    • I read The Atlantic story and to be honest my reaction was wait, what? Why have I never paid much attention to this? I had a classmate at Stanford who had a super pronounced stutter. We talked about it some but I guess I never thought much about it. I get a twitch in my eyelid that’s neurological and inherited, and I suppose I thought they were the same-ish.

      Our dean had a very pronounced stutter and he was a fellow in the National Academy of Sciences. It has never occurred to me that it may have been related to intelligence.

      After reading your feelings, I thought about what I wrote of Elon Musk’s Cybertruck announcement where I complained that he didn’t seem well prepared and he stuttered. In people like myself who don’t have a real stutter, I do stammer when I’m not well rehearsed. But now I started to wonder if he has a real stutter and I was being a thoughtless jerk. There is a lot of speculation online that he does.

      Anyway, thank you for coming out and sharing insight. I somehow vaguely thought it would be like having vision or hearing problems, just a card you’re dealt but no shame attached. I had no idea.

    • One of my therapists when I was in high school told me that almost everyone stutters from time to time and that a lot of people have a stutter when they are very young. The difference between people like me and people like you is that people like me notice we are doing it and are aware of it. People like you don't notice it and so you forget about it. I'm not saying that is necessarily true, it's just what one of my speech therapists told me.

      It's a lot like riding a bicycle, maybe. I have heard that the difference betwee people who can ride a bike and those that can't is that those who can believe they're not going to fall and so they don't, whereas those who can't are constantly worried about falling and so they fall.

      That might be while I am able to teach. While I am in class I am concerned about what I am teaching and classroom management and maybe a dozen other things and so for a brief period of time I have too many things to worry about and so my stutter gets pushed to the very back of my mind. With not thinking about it so much, I am able to speak more fluently. Just a thought.

    • My perception of you is that you are a quite intelligent dude, @zorxique , and I’d imagine that it’s frustrating sometimes to not share your thoughts, ideas and insights in face to face small group settings

      Thank you. I'm also a busy dude, as should be evidenced by the fact that it has taken me so long to respond. I try to participate in conversations on here, but I often find that I don't have the free time or chance to do so and when I do have free time, I'm usually stressed out from work that I don't really feel like it.

      It can be very frustrating in social settings sometimes as often there is something I want to say or an opinion I want to share or a point I want to make, but I feel l can't because I won't be able to actually get it out. But as I've said, I've learned to deal with it. So I often do a lot of smiling and nodding and have become, I think, a very good listener. So, if we ever meet and I'm being very quiet, I'm probably not bored or not paying attention, I'm just listening very intently and filing everything that people are saying away to think about later.

    • I try to participate in conversations on here, but I often find that I don't have the free time or chance to do so and when I do have free time, I'm usually stressed out from work that I don't really feel like it.

      People have no idea how mentally exhausting a day of teaching can be.

      Back in my 20s, I used to read a Bodybuilding column, “The Hard Gainer,” religiously. The premise was that if you were working a twelve hour day in a stressful job, the best exercise at that point might be sleep. If I understand things, engaging in conversation on Cake is a way to reduce frustration and to build up your energy resources (mental, emotional, etc.), but you often don’t have the energy to engage.

    • This has been a fascinating conversation for me because it’s made me think about what it must be like to have a stutter more than I ever have. I think of my self as not having a neurological stutter, but stuttering when I’m not well rehearsed. But now I’m paying attention to it, and what I’m actually doing is buying time between thoughts by inserting uh and um.

      I’m going to be more understanding of what real stutterers go through now.