Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Day Calendar and Speech Therapy

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Day Calendar sits on our kitchen counter. Every morning, I look forward to receiving a nugget of wisdom to start my day. Today, I read this one and couldn’t help but think about my work as a speech therapist. Working with many people who stutter, I regularly advise my clients and their family members to create a relaxed communication environment.

People who stutter often fear they will be interrupted. Many even use fillers like, “um” or “ah” to hold their talking spaces. They need to audibly tell people, “Wait, I’m still talking.” Recently, I read an insightful article in The Wall Street Journal titled, Why Human Speech Depends on Words Like “Uh” and “Mm-hmm”. The author, Dr. Enfield a professor of linguistics writes, “In conversation, we all have to balance the overlapping pressures of listening, speaking, planning and thinking. An appropriately placed “um” or “uh” lets the other party know where we stand: “I need a moment to prepare what I want to say, so expect a brief delay—and I’m not ready to yield my turn at talking.”

Side note – I’ve also been told by people who stutter that they tend to misuse and overly rely on these filler words because they think doing so will prevent a stuttering episode but that’s a topic for another blog post.

Dr. Enfield goes on to explain that words like “um” and “uh” allow us to “avoid silence while we take the time to formulate our next move…”We presume that others will abide by the ‘wait’ signal we are sending and refrain from jumping in.”

This brings me back to this selection from Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… 2019 Day-to-Day Calendar.

Are we being patient and giving people, those who stutter (and even those who have language delays and disorders) enough time to finish speaking? Are we respecting the time they need to formulate their thoughts?

Here’s the 2020 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Calendar:

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