What You Don’t Know About Stuttering: An Interview with The Stuttering Foundation

For many of us, there are few things more difficult in life than wrestling with a personal issue alone.  Sometimes, there isn’t anyone to help when we need it, and other times, we just can’t find the help that we need, no matter how hard we try.

Thanks to the Stuttering Foundation, those with stutters all over the world now have help that is just a click, phone call, or library book away.  Each year now, due to the tireless efforts of the dedicated staff and leadership, the Stuttering Foundation helps people in 127 countries.

We recently interviewed the Foundation’s current leader, Jane Fraser.  What struck us was not only how tirelessly she and the foundation work but how effective they are in their work.

“Everything that we receive, we do our best to make sure it goes to the people we are here to help,” Jane told us.  The numbers back her up.  Of every $1.00 donated to the Stuttering Foundation, 95% goes to helping those with stutters.  It is not uncommon for other not-for-profits to only be able to provide $0.50 on the dollar to those that they help.

The Stuttering Foundation is building quite the name for itself as a source of free information.  During Jane’s tenure at the organization, it “built from a base of six resources to over 128.”   Included on the Foundation’s site is a wonderful video, Stuttering: For Kids, By Kids.   It provides children who may have a stutter a window into the lives of their peers who confront the same issues in their own lives, giving hope, comfort, and educational information along the way.   To date, the Foundation has produced over 42 films, several of which it makes freely available on its website.

Another fantastic resource is the book Sometimes I Just Stutter. In addition to serving as a information source for basic questions on the causes of stuttering and ways to handle situations involving teasing, the book has  letters that those with stutters can copy and give to those dear to them, talking about their condition and reactions to it.  “Sometimes I Just Stutter” is a perfect example of the Foundation’s global reach, having been translated into Zulu and Afrikans by volunteers who understand just how important it is to make information on stuttering widely available.  Imagine not being able to learn about your stutter simply because you were born in a country that doesn’t speak English!

In the end, Jane stresses that the real work on helping those with stutters is done in the home, by parents, caregivers, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, and brothers.  “Get your child help, but know that you are part of that help.”   Above all, “stay positive,” Jane advises.  “Focus on the fluent speech, and be proud of the job you’re doing.”

  • Ari Kreitberg Kill Your Stutter Review (slideshare.net)
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