Stuttering has had a moment recently, after the moving American Idol audition of a 21-year-old contestant from Florida named Lazaro Arbos, who has a debilitating stutter but can sing beautifully and stutter-free. The Stuttering Foundation has seized on this chance to get the word out that adult stuttering is more common than you might think, and that there is effective speech treatment for stuttering.
Some famous singers and actors who've struggled with stuttering include Carly Simon, B.B. King, Bill Withers, Emily Blunt, James Earl Jones and Nancy Wilson, according to the Foundation's brochure called Famous People Who Stutter.
If stuttering interferes with your ability to communicate, know that treatment by speech and language therapists can improve the situation dramatically. One study found that intensive therapy actually reorganized the brain in ways that reduce stuttering.
To find speech and language therapists, check out the Stuttering Foundation's referral list, and while you're there look at their list of questions you should ask of any therapist you speak with. It's important to find a therapist with experience treating adults, and not just children, who stutter.
If stuttering is something you've struggled with throughout your life than there's probably nothing to be concerned about from a health perspective, but if your stuttering has come on all of a sudden during adulthood, it may be a sign of something more serious, such as a stroke, Parkinson's disease, or another condition that requires medical attention. Stuttering can also be a side effect of some medications. So if your stuttering is new, definitely have it checked out by a doctor.
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