Consumer’s Corner Changing My Reactions to Stuttering Viewpoint
Viewpoint  |   May 01, 1999
Consumer’s Corner
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Peter Reitzes
    New York University New York, NY
    Graduate Student
Article Information
Fluency Disorders / Consumer's Corner / Viewpoint
Viewpoint   |   May 01, 1999
Consumer’s Corner
SIG 4 Perspectives on Fluency and Fluency Disorders, May 1999, Vol. 9, 5-7. doi:10.1044/ffd9.2.5
SIG 4 Perspectives on Fluency and Fluency Disorders, May 1999, Vol. 9, 5-7. doi:10.1044/ffd9.2.5
Recently I gave a speech on stuttering and was introduced as Peter Reitzes, life-long stutterer. When I began my speech I announced that the introduction was somewhat inaccurate. I did not grow up stuttering; I grew up trying not to stutter. I grew up trying not to speak. For me, stuttering was not what I was saying, but what I was not saying.
I spent most of my life, until I was almost 24, avoiding sounds and words and a myriad of different speaking situations. Raising my hand or being called upon in class was my greatest fear. In restaurants, on the other hand, I learned that there was always something on the menu I could order that would not cause my speech to be interrupted, even if it wasn’t what I really wanted. Every year at Passover I learned a different way to get up from the table when it was my turn to read a prayer. When I became older, I found it easier not to ask out girls than take the risk of stuttering. I always avoided going to parties in high school and college. At parties, one is asked where they are from, what school they attend, and what their interests are. It never occurred to me that it was okay to go out on a date, read aloud a prayer or attend a social function, and to stutter while doing so. I did not know that stuttering was allowed.
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