Speech pathology or disorders come in many forms. It is the purpose of this paper to explore the some of the depth and breadth of the disorder commonly known as stuttering. First, this writer will explore the how some authorities define the term itself. Next, the questions of causation and severity will be discussed. Finally, the proposed research project will be summarized.
Some may wonder why an issue like stuttering is worthy of discussion, or may doubt that it is a disorder that merits study into its cause and possible treatment. When, however, one begins to understand the impact that stuttering has on those with the disorder its importance becomes clearer. Employment and academic performance as well as relationships with others seems to be the major areas that are impacted by stuttering behavior. For instance, one study indicates that stutterers earn about $7,200 less in annual pay than non-stutterers. The research that suggested this difference compared two match groups in terms of age, education, race, IQ, and background, and was the result of interviews conducted 10 years after college graduation. However, the difference in pay did not appear to be the result of discrimination, rather it appeared that the stutterers did not accept promotions where they might be put into positions, such as supervisory, where they would be making presentations to others. So stutterers were keeping themselves back due to fear of embarrassment
Kehoe presents other examples of stuttering and employment showing that there is discrimination against stutterers. For instance one survey of employers found that they would prefer to hire someone who was deaf or had cerebral palsy over someone who was a stutterer. Careful probing found that the employers felt they understood deafness and cerebral palsy while stuttering seemed strange so they assumed that the stutter themselves was strange.
While communication is a key factor in many places of employment, stuttering suggests characteristics to a prospective employer that are not in fact true. The conclusions of some are that the stutterer is less intelligent and less decisive. Stutterers are like anyone else, who actually have high IQ though the stuttering behavior encourages people to draw a different conclusion. The reaction of others therefore is as much of a problem with respect to the problem of stuttering than the stuttering itself.