Stuttering is a frustrating and embarrassing problem for millions of people, but it can be especially tough on teenagers. Help is available at most public libraries in the form of a video. A DVD version is available free to libraries who will shelve it.
"It's meant to encourage teens, to tell them that there is hope out there," said Professor Peter Ramig of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Ramig is one of three nationally recognized experts appearing in the video produced by the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation.
David Wilkins, a high school student who stutters, narrates the video. It features students from junior high school through college talking about their experiences with stuttering and what they found to be helpful. They talk openly about the ridicule they faced from classmates and how their stuttering affects their lives.
"We really try to emphasize the embarrassment and frustration factor, and we think teens will relate to that," adds Ramig. He appears in the video along with speech-language pathologists Dr. Barry Guitar of the University of Vermont and Dr. Hugo Gregory of Northwestern University.
The three experts answer questions about stuttering, refute myths and misconceptions, and present examples of therapy sessions showing how stuttering can be reduced.
More than three million Americans stutter, yet stuttering remains misunderstood by most people," said Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation. "Myths such as believing people who stutter are less intelligent or suffer from psychological problems still persist despite research refuting these erroneous beliefs."
Books and DVDs produced by the 66-year-old nonprofit Stuttering Foundation are available free to any public library.