Original Research

Communicative practices and perceptions towards stuttering people in South Africa

Rockie Sibanda, Tlou C. Mothapo
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 71, No 1 | a1008 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v71i1.1008 | © 2024 Rockie Sibanda, Tlou C. Mothapo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 August 2023 | Published: 22 March 2024

About the author(s)

Rockie Sibanda, Department of Languages, Cultural Studies and Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Tlou C. Mothapo, Department of Languages, Cultural Studies and Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: A few studies have explored the life experiences of people who stutter. Research has shown that stuttering affects a significant number of people in the population.

Objectives: The study was designed to explore the experiences of people who stutter and the perception of stuttering in South Africa.

Method: Four people who identified as South Africans who stutter participated in this study. The primary investigator conducted semi-structured interviews with each of the participants. In addition, a questionnaire was administered to 20 acquaintances of all the participants. Transcriptions of interviews and results of questionnaires were analysed for major and minor themes.

Results: Results of this study suggest different perceptions by those who stutter and those acquainted with them. The findings of the study show that people who stutter experience communication barriers, so they adopt certain strategies to manage and cope with their speech disorder. The findings showed that stuttering has a pervasive impact on the lives of people who stutter and how they view themselves, considering negative societal views.

Conclusion: Evaluation of the results from the study reveals that although stuttering is a common speech disorder, many people who are less informed about it harbour various stereotypes and myths that stigmatise stuttering. This study concludes by outlining recommendations for creating awareness of stuttering. It suggests vigorous campaigns aiming at promoting a multilevel approach that extends beyond the mere social and professional understanding of stuttering but addresses the inherent perceptions, myths, and stereotypes around stuttering.

Contribution: Experiences of people who stutter and perceptions towards stuttering can help to better understand the speech disorder and overcome myths and stereotyping of stuttering.


Keywords

communication barriers; myths and stereotypes; people who stutter; case study; stutter experience; speech disorder; South African.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

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