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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Family offers tips for child's stuttering



One of our favorite dads, columnist Ernest Hooper, posted this helpful piece on stuttering that is keyed to Colin Firth's new movie, The King's Speech.  Firth plays a real-life British king who unexpectedly rose to the throne and then worked with a speech therapist to prepare for a key address.

Hooper talked to Tampa's Gabe and Sheryl Hunter, whose son Logan, now 7, started stuttering at age 3. Like so many families plunged into a fast learning curve when a loved one struggles, this family quickly immersed themselves in the subject, and Hooper writes: Sheryl learned that Logan cannot be expected to outgrow stuttering. She learned that many celebrities have successfully dealt with the challenge, including actor James Earl Jones and singer Carly Simon. And she learned that stuttering is more physiological than psychological, and can involve genetics. Parents are wrong to blame themselves, or associate stuttering with stress or nervousness, she said.

They joined support groups and association boards, and the family created a University of South Florida scholarship for graduate students in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences' department of communications sciences and disorders. We salute this determined Momma!

Some stuttering tips:

• Do not assume the person lacks intelligence.
• Let the person finish what he or she is saying; be patient.
• Do not advise the person who stutters to "slow down" or "relax" — these comments are not helpful.

For more information, go to

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Monday, November 29, 2010 10:07am]


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