Fluency 101: Living with Dysfluency - Hearing and Speech Agency

Fluency 101: Living with Dysfluency

PART ONE | Fluency 101: What is Stuttering?

PART TWO | Fluency 101: Causes of Stuttering

PART THREE | Fluency 101:Stuttering in Children

PART FOUR | Fluency 101: Stuttering in Adolescents and Adults


Each individual who stutters experiences dysfluency differently. Because of the various ways stuttering can present, how a person chooses to live with their stuttering is a personal choice based on their needs and the demands of their lifestyle.

Many people who stutter experience difficulty with the increased demands of educational and workplace environments. In school, people who have difficulty producing speech may not participate fully in classroom discussions, interact with their peers, or ask questions when they need help. Peer influence plays an increasingly large role on the individual’s perception of their stuttering and themselves; negative interactions like bullying impact all areas of life.

Counseling and support groups can help manage the social and emotional impact of stuttering throughout the lifespan. Some people may choose to see a psychologist in addition to a speech therapist to help shift their attitudes toward communication and manage anxiety. Regardless of whether the support is in person or online, the benefit of connecting with others who understand dysfluency and its impact can have an immeasurable effect on communication and quality of life. Even listening to stuttering podcasts can help provide a fresh perspective on the ways stuttering interferes with—or even benefits—day to day activities.

The Baltimore Area Stuttering Support Group

The Baltimore Chapter has been active for over 25 years. It began at Loyola College in 1984 as The Night SHIFT (Self Help Integrated with Fluency Treatment) and moved to the Hearing and Speech Agency in 2004, becoming part of the Center for Fluency Enhancement’s community outreach for adults who stutter. The group currently has more than 40 members and is one of the larger, continually active groups in the country.

The group promotes acknowledgment of stuttering while working to improve communication skills across social, academic, and vocational settings. It provides a supportive environment for people who stutter, enabling members to share challenges and successes from their personal journeys with stuttering. The group also strives to provide a practice forum for communication skills, peer counseling, advocacy, and information to the community.

No single philosophy or treatment method for stuttering is endorsed by the group. While many members have received professional treatment for their stuttering, some have chosen to follow other paths. Members come from “all walks of life” and include men and women from a wide range of careers, political affiliations, religions, and ethnic groups, all working toward the same goal of effective communication.

Membership is open to any adult who stutters who desires to improve communication skills, accept their stuttering, and explore the many choices that are available to respond to their stuttering, including stuttering openly and freely. For more information about the group, please contact John Sloan at jsloan@hasa.org.

Jennifer Smith is a speech-language pathologist at The Hearing and Speech Agency

Hearing and Speech AgencyHarry and Jeanette Weinberg Building 5900 Metro Drive Baltimore, MD 21215 410.318.6780