LUBBOCK, Texas — The Stutter Foundation, an organization working to assist those who struggle with stutters, said masks make the art of conversation more challenging.
Speech pathologist and director of programming Sara McIntyre has struggled with stuttering ever since she was young, but now she says it can be even more difficult with facial coverings in the way.
“It’s a challenge for everyone — both listeners and speakers,” said McIntyre. “I think people who don’t stutter are adjusting, but the added pressure of listeners not being able to see that someone is stuttering, puts people who stutter on their heels even more.”
In this case, it’s important to get ahead of situation by acknowledging the stutter before attempting to communicate further. Something McIntyre has recently experienced when out in public.
“I was at a store and I was asking an employee a question and I was stuttering,” said McIntyre.
She said that instead of allowing that anxiety to creep in, she communicated her stutter and broke the conversation barrier.
The Stutter Foundation offers ID cards which state “I am a person who stutters” as an outlet to those struggling to verbally communicate.
“Stuttering affects 3 million Americans, so that’s another way to let people know,” Stutter Foundation president, Jane Fraser, said. “Once they know that you stutter, then they aren’t wondering what it going on.”
It’s a learning process they are hoping to help make a little easier through informational tips and advice posted to their website.