Stuttering in the news
On Monday October 15, 2018, on his show Steve, Steve Harvey had an interaction with a woman in his audience who stutters. We commend Steve for tackling stuttering on television, and specifically for sharing his own experience with stuttering. If more people spoke openly about stuttering, constructively, the condition would be normalized and we’d all be better off. However, Harvey asserted that stuttering is curable, and told the woman that if she did as he advised, her stuttering would disappear.
As of now, there is no known cure for stuttering.
- Stuttering is a neurodevelopmental condition with genetic roots for which currently there is no cure.
- Stuttering is not a psychological problem. Certainly, it can have psychological ramifications, for example, anxiety, embarrassment, fear, shame, and sadness. But at the core, stuttering is a neurologically based disorder.
- Anticipation (knowing you’re going to stutter before you actually do) does not cause stuttering.
- Maintaining eye contact does not cause stuttering.
- Not all therapists are unqualified. In fact, many speech-language pathologists stutter, and many more understand the experience of stuttering and anticipating stuttering.
Some people who stutter may find that certain techniques help them speak with more ease and fluency, but the kind of miracle that Steve Harvey promises in this clip does not exist. What’s more, false information and claims like the ones Harvey makes are dangerous to spread on a public platform, contributing to the lack of understanding around stuttering. While Harvey may have found a set of techniques that make it easier for him to speak, it is irresponsible, unscientific, and stigmatizing for him to suggest that these methods can “cure” someone. Harvey and the NBC Network have an obligation to provide viewers with factual information about stuttering. We at FRIENDS hope that Harvey takes more care in the future about spreading misinformation and false hope around stuttering. FRIENDS would be honored to assist in the mission to better educate viewers on the complex nature of stuttering and would like to suggest that members of FRIENDS appear on Harvey’s show to share their stuttering experiences and expertise.
Join Us in Chicago, July 18 - 20th, 2019 FRIENDS 22nd Annual Convention
Our annual conventions and regional one day conferences provide the opportunities for life. Changing experiences that can change long lasting feelings about stuttering and offer new hope for a life with stuttering. FRIENDS seeks to make life easier for young people who stutter and their families.