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Living with Stuttering: One Man's Take
Updated: Wednesday, October 2 2013, 07:19 PM CDT
IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Three million people in the United States stutter and that's about one percent of the whole population.
This weekend, the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center at the University of Iowa is co-sponsoring a stuttering conference for children.
The idea is to help parents and clinicians better understand the speech disorder.
Stuttering is a low incidence problem, that means some people go through most of their lives without having met another person who stutters as well.
I spoke with Bryan Brown, a 31-year old PhD student at UI about the disorder and he says it's something that doesn't come with a manual
"I don't remember not stuttering,” he said.
That’s because Bryan Brown began stuttering when he was just three years old.
He says it's a disorder that has a profound influence on his life.
"I'm working on a PhD program where I'm focusing in stuttering. I'm interested in knowing the cause of stuttering."
For 8 years, Bryan attended speech therapy classes and while he still stutters, he not only has better control of it, but says it's made him who he is today; a speech pathologist studying at the University of Iowa, a world famous center for stuttering research.
"What we do as clinicians is help the individual to become physically aware of what they do when they stutter because then they can physically modify it,” said UI professor and Speech Pathologist, Patricia Zebrowski.
That's something children, parents and clinicians will be exposed to this Saturday, during "Friends" a one day conference work-shop on stuttering.
"Most of the time it's the first time these children have seen another child who stutters,” Zebrowski said.
As for Bryan, he says he has one big piece of advice for people who don't understand the disorder.
"I understand that listening to someone stutter can be uncomfortable but it is just as uncomfortable for me as it is for you."
The conference is this Saturday in Des Moines and the link has more information.
As for Bryan, he graduates next august with a PhD in speech pathology.
His goal to help others like him.