While I affirm the right of any person to seek therapy they choose for themselves, I am relieved that as a child I managed to avoid it. I'm not critical of speech pathology for the sake of being contradictory. I wish I could describe dysfluency and Did I Stutter and why I believe in this work outside its relation to speech pathology.
I want my work to be about speaking in my wild, untamed voice. I want to read poems in my untamed voice and revel in the fact that no one else sounds exactly like me. I want to meet other people with untamed voices and hear the worlds they’re building with their speech.
But my voice doesn't exist in a neutral political space. Speech pathology calls itself the expert on stuttering and tells me I shouldn’t be proud to be dysfluent. The largest stuttering organization in my country funds research on preventing voices like mine from existing in the future. At a self-help group meeting, I say "I like the way I sound more when I’m at my most dysfluent" and a fluent SLP reminds me that I don't speak for everyone in the room.
I give instructions to an SLP at my workplace and they interrupt to tell me I can take all the time I need. I talk about stuttering and activism for an hour and after, a stranger from the audience asks if I've tried Lidcombe. Or hot marbles. Or singing my thoughts instead of speaking them.
Speech pathology has hegemonic control over the topic of stuttering. It uses that control to tell me I could sound less broken if I give in and assimilate. Everything I do with my untamed voice and in the name of communicative diversity is critical of this power. Every word I speak is resistance.