Stuttering Stigma - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

9.17.03

Stuttering Stigma

For a person who stutters, simply saying a name can be a nightmare. Now, a unique program is helping people who stutter deal directly with those difficulties, freeing stutterers from one of their biggest obstacles - embarrassment. With each tally Mark, David Deberry acknowledges the stutter he has struggled with almost his entire life. For the most part, he learned to deal with it by avoiding situations which made his stutter obvious. "Once I got started with a company I just stayed on that path because I would have to interview and I was terrified of being interviewed." Deberry works as a chemist in Austin, Texas, but now wants to become a christian minister. However, the thought of speaking in front of congregations has always seemed overwhelming, until he heard about a unique program at the university of utah. The three and a half week summer "boot camp" offers standard speech therapy but then forces stutterers to do what they fear most. The program was created by Dr. Dorvin Brietenfedlt, who is himself a stutterer. "We work with the entire stuttering problem. Stuttering isn't just a communication problem, it's a problem of human living." There is no complete cure for stuttering. But at the end of this program, the stutterers leave in control of a problem that before had controlled their entire lives. And they leave with a new freedom. For David Deberry, that means the confidence to speak before a crowd. His own congregation someday. Scientists aren't sure what causes stuttering, but the latest research points to different wiring in the brain. Most of us use the left side of the brain for linguistic functions, but almost all stutterers use more of the right brain.
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