Wednesday, May 15, 1996

Stuttering and a career in science

A grad student asked about the effect of stuttering on a scientific career.

If you have enough interest in a subject to get a PhD, by all means get it! True, part of a scientist's job is communication, but "good" communication doesn't necessarily mean fluency, in any case there is a wide variety of research "styles" and abilities that can certainly allows for stuttering (OK a PWS is probably not going to be asked to be the next Carl Sagan for a TV series)

Overall I think that the Scientific/Academic communities are probably more tolerant than most in that they have the welcome tendency to look more at content than form.

Also, whatever your stuttering severity is now, don't assume you are stuck with it for the rest of your life. We disagree a lot on causes and thearapies (less so) on this list, but you'll see plenty of testimonials of people for whom stuttering has become less and less of a problem. I include myself among them.

I am not sure I would meet your measure of "successful" as a scientist, but I do know for sure that the ways in which I have fallen short have been due to other human shortcomings that have absolutely nothing to do with either my past or present stuttering.

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