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Folk Myths About Stuttering

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Have you ever heard of stuttering or know someone who stutters? If so, you probably have come across some myths about stuttering as well. This lesson goes over and dispels those myths that have been connected to causing or curing stuttering - there are quite a few of them.

What Is Stuttering?

This is going to be a very inaccurate lesson. Yes, unlike other lessons you'll read here this one is full of errors, myths, and plain lies. It's a lesson about the folk myths of stuttering, a speech disorder where people have trouble with the fluency and flow of their speech.

There are actually a lot of misconceptions about stuttering so we can't even cover them all here but you will learn about some common, major, and lesser known but nevertheless interesting ones.

Folk Myths

Folk myths on stuttering vary based on their cultural heritage. For instance, one folk myth is that children who were born left-handed were more likely to stutter if they switched to being right-handed. No such correlation exists, however.

Some people believe that if you put pennies or marbles in a stutterer's mouth they will stutter a lot less. This is not only false but also a potentially significant choking hazard, especially for children.

Some folk myths are stranger, like this one from China. There is an old myth that if you hit a stutterer's face when it's cloudy outside, it will cure stuttering. Nope, this one is not going to help cure stuttering and may only lead to a black eye as retribution. Another weather myth is that if a baby is left out in the rain it will develop stuttering. Also not true. Maybe a cold but not stuttering.

Some folk myths are even more bizarre. There is an old folk myth that eating grasshoppers leads children to stutter. Or, how about this one: people who stutter should cure themselves by eating fruit that a bird has already pecked at. No thank you.

Other Myths

Other stuttering myths are more modern but are becoming part of folk mythology nonetheless. For instance, stuttering is not tied to any emotional or psychological problems. Stuttering is also not tied to intelligence. Well, at least not in the way most people would think. The myth is that lower intelligence is somehow associated with stuttering. The reality is that people who stutter have, on average, a higher IQ than those who do not.

It's also commonly believed that stress can cause stuttering. Again, not true. Stress will not cause stuttering. The only association between stress and stuttering is that stuttering may cause stress and that stress may exacerbate stuttering but stress itself doesn't lead to stuttering.

Here are a few other myths linked to stuttering:

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