Sensitivity and Stuttering

John Harrison, quoted from ‘Redefining Stuttering’:

“NSA member Libby Oyler, who is both a person who stutters and a speech language pathologist, conducted some fascinating research on the relationship of sensitivity and stuttering for her Ph.D. thesis. The numbers she gave me took me by surprise. Libby found that although 15 to 20 percent of the general population can be classified as “highly sensitive,” that number climbs to a startling 83 percent for people who stutter.

What does “highly sensitive” mean? On the plus side, it means that you’re more intuitive. You pick up feelings and subtle aspects of communication, both verbal and nonverbal, that don’t register with less sensitive people. But it also means you’re more quickly aroused. Your senses are easily stimulated and sometimes, overwhelmed. You react more strongly when somebody yells at you. It’s easier to get you excited or upset. If somebody doesn’t like the way you act, they don’t have to yell at you or openly mock you to deliver their message. They just have to raise an eyebrow or give you a look, and the message comes through loud and clear.”

March 22, 2012