First and Last Name/s of Presenters

Maria SchwabFollow

Title of Poster or Paper

Coming Out of the Stuttering Closet


Jill Douglass, PhD, CCC-SLP

Participation Type


College and Major available

Speech Language Pathology


University Commons

Start Day/Time

4-21-2017 1:00 PM

End Day/Time

4-21-2017 3:00 PM


Apr 21st, 1:00 PM Apr 21st, 3:00 PM

Coming Out of the Stuttering Closet

University Commons

This qualitative research project delves into the lived experiences of individuals who covertly stuttered and have “come out of the stuttering closet.” Covert stuttering is a type of stuttering best explained as a person who stutters who is passing in society as fluent. An individual who stutters covertly potentially hides the stutter at all costs; for example, this may come in the form of taking on personality traits that are not true to the individual (e.g. acting “flakey”). The act of being covert can constantly consume the mind of the individual who stutters. Through open-minded, ethnographic interviews six adults told their “coming out of the closet” narrative. Analysis of interview data led to the compilation of common themes among the six participants’ experiences. Six themes were identified, one of which related to changing events that instigated a transition from covertly stuttering to overtly stuttering. The transition experiences of the participants provide insight into a tipping point, a realization where they felt hiding was no longer productive.The narratives of the transitioning process are raw with emotions and are powerful stories that need to be told. The findings of the current study provide us insight into creating a more client-centered therapy approach, what can be learned from other marginalized populations who “come out of the closet,” as well as increasing the empathy an individual may experience in coming out of the stuttering closet.


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