A recent episode of Steve Harvey’s television show Steve included a segment during which Mr. Harvey discussed an audience member’s experience with stuttering. During the conversation, Mr. Harvey was often critical of speech therapists and claimed that stuttering is “curable.”
What Mr. Harvey states in this episode is not a stance shared by the National Stuttering Association. Based on decades of research, the precise causes of stuttering are still unknown, although most researchers now consider stuttering to be a neurological condition that interferes with the production of speech. In some people, the tendency to stutter may be inherited. Although the interference with speech is sometimes triggered by emotional or situational factors, stuttering is basically neurological and physiological – not psychological – in nature.
While we applaud Mr. Harvey’s success as a person who stutters, we fear that his blanket statements that stuttering is curable sends the wrong message to millions of Americans who experience stuttering. Some of the techniques Mr. Harvey recommends in the segment may actually be positive strategies for managing stuttering. However, these management strategies do not amount to a “cure.”
We invite Mr. Harvey and anyone else who is interested in learning more about the latest stuttering research, the challenges faced by people who stutter, and the work that the NSA does every day to support people who stutter to join us in celebrating International Stuttering Awareness Day on October 22, 2018 and at http://www.westutter.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2018
Sarah Armstrong, firstname.lastname@example.org or (224) 305-2701
National Stuttering Association office, (800) 937-8888 or (212) 944-4050