Wednesday, June 09, 2010

"Prove to me that you stutter!"

Would any of you ask a person in a wheelchair to stand up and attempt to walk across the room so that you can actually see that the person is crippled? Would you ask a self-proclaimed diabetic to skip an insulin injection so that you could personally verify their medical condition? Would you throw a frisbee to a person who claims to be blind so that you could verify if they actually are visually impaired?

Some time ago, I put up a video on my YouTube channel titled, "We Stutter". I did this so that I could explain how I achieved fluency in my YouTube videos and also so that I could reach out to other YouTube users who might also suffer from a Persistent Developmental Stutter. If you watch my videos, you will rarely see any stuttering. That is because I edit the stuttering completely out of the videos and what results is a video rant that is fast, closely edited and appears to be the ramblings of a person on high doses of caffeine. That was my goal. It is my way of being able to partake in an activity that would otherwise be impossible to do with any real fluency.

Mostly, I have received positive responses to the video, and most of those come from fellow stutterers/stammerers. But, I've noticed that there are some people who don't believe that I actually stutter and some of them have sent me private messages to this effect and have asked me to send them video files of me stuttering…so that they can personally verify that I am actually a stutterer. I find this to be more than just a little rude and presumptuous. One guy accused me of riding on the backs of stutterers to achieve success or fame.

Success or fame? FIRST of all, that video is the ONLY video I've ever made about stuttering. You would have to search to even find it. It's buried under more than a hundred more videos that I have filmed since.

SECOND, what kind of fame would I possibly be attempting to achieve? I've never seen a person achieve YouTube success (or any other kind, for that matter) by virtue of a stutter. My "fame" on YouTube has come about by my regular comedy videos…not from some public service announcement about stuttering. That video has gotten just over 33,000 views, so I'm not earning any significant amount of ad revenue from it.

In the video, I explain exactly how I achieve fluency in my videos and I also explain exactly why I made the video. It had nothing at all to do with fame or money. The video was made long before I become a YouTube partner, so most of the views haven't earned me one cent.

I made the video because I think it is important for all of us to highlight our personal achievements as stutterers so that we can instill even a small amount of hope, inspiration and pride in ourselves as we struggle through our daily lives with stuttering. If that has been achieved for even one viewer (and it HAS)…then I am pleased with the effort. For the rest of you who don't believe can so suck eggs. Yeah...I said it. :)

Petition: ASHA Needs to Actively Enforce its Code of Ethics

Please visit the link below to add read the petition to the ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)...and then consider signing the petition. The ASHA has its own code of ethics regarding its members advertising "cures" for stuttering/stammering, yet they do not always enforce them. Currently, many ASHA members violate the code of ethics by making false/misleading claims regarding certain treatments and "cures". It is not simply an issue of "free speech". The FDA actively enforces the law regarding food and drug manufacturers making false or misleading claims...and so should the ASHA with regard to their own code of ethics and their Members.

By allowing these unsavory companies and individuals to thrive, the affliction of stuttering is mis-characterized, individuals are misled into thinking there is a "quick fix" for stuttering and the stutterers themselves are enticed to part with their money, only to be left feeling as if they failed when the "cure" didn't work for them. If you, as an individual business owner, marketed a "pill" or supplement that you claim can cure diabetes, you would quickly face the wrath of the Food and Drug Administration. And rightly so. Consumers need to be protected from individuals peddling "snake oils" to cure or treat debilitating medical, psychological or physiological conditions.

Some might regard this issue as merely one of "buyer beware", but this is a terribly careless position to take, in my opinion, because it entirely ignores the ASHA code of ethics, firstly; secondly, society (and the FDA) does not tolerate similar standards with regard to food or drug manufacturers who make curative claims. We need to stand together as a community to send a message to the ASHA. Please consider standing together with me by clicking the link below, reading and then signing the petition.

ASHA Needs to Actively Enforce its Code of Ethics