Resolution Options in Education

You have a situation at your child’s school that you realize, with all your best efforts, is not being resolved internally. You need help. You need an external organization to intervene. Who do you go to?

Not necessarily an easy question.

Some have retaliation protection built into their legislation, some do not.

Each option is connected to their own separate legislation. They are each a silo and operate independently. They are not connected. Knowing which avenue is most appropriate can save you months and even years of potential disappointment or wasted time.

Here are your options and the legislation they are attached to.

  1. Professional Conduct Unit (Teachers Regulation Branch)

The TRB is connected to the Teachers Act. If the teacher in your child’s class has violated the standards for educators you can file a complaint. The Commissioner will determine if their behaviour was enough of a marked departure to lead to a consent resolution. The TRB will not consider human rights discrimination in the way that the HRT will. They are connecting the teacher to the Teachers Act and their professional standards, not determining if their behaviour was discrimination or related to the human rights code.

Before you file a TRB complaint please read this information.

There is no retaliation protection built in to the legislation, they advise you file another complaint for the retaliation.

2. Ombudsperson BC

The Ombudsperson of BC deals with administrative fairness and is connected to the Ombudsperson Act. So if education staff are ignoring you, not explaining their decisions to you or not following their own policy, then you could file a complaint with them.

You can go on their website and see their check lists to know if the administrative or procedural unfairness that you are experiencing is something they can assist you with. They can do an early resolution if you are being ignored. Silence, unfortunately is not uncommon in education.

There is retaliation protection built into the Ombudsperson Act.

3. Human Rights Complaint

The HRT deals with the Human Rights Code. It is an administrative tribunal and this area connected with disability in education is most likely going to be tied to Section 8: Duty to Accommodate. This is a legal process connected to the Human Rights code. That’s it. They will not be applying school policy to their decision making, just the Code. Understanding the components of the duty to accommodate is key.

Here is a guide/work book to help you organize your case.

There is case law around the schools responsibility to prevent continued bullying, and not having barriers that would prevent a disabled child from accessing their education connected to a duty to accommodate. This includes a duty to inquire, a duty to consult, and a duty to co-operate in good faith. Parents then have a duty to co-operate in good faith, a duty to facilitate the decision, and need to accept accommodations that are being offered that will remove the barrier for their child to access their education. This doesn’t mean the best accommodation, just enough to remove the barrier. I highly recommend you consult a lawyer. On the HRT website they have a list on where to get help.

There is a very firm 1 year limitation.

There is retaliation protection built into the Human Rights Code.

4. Section 11 Appeal

This process connects with the School Act. As a parent you can file a section 11 appeal if you disagree with a decision that the school is making and it is significantly affecting your child and their education.

This advocacy is more open to looking at how policy and discrimination are impacting the student. Here are some guidelines.

5. Education Mediation

Education mediation is connected to the Education Mediation Act. This is an option I know very little about, and would be relying on this legislation for information just as anyone else looking at it for the first time.

If anyone has gone this route and would like to share their experience with me, I would love to hear about it. Please email me at Kim @

6. Advocacy groups (highly recommended)

Support is essential when advocating in education. Having someone knowledgeable with experience to guide you is very beneficial.

BCEdAccess Society & Parents Facebook group
Inclusion BC
Family Support Institute

Human Rights – Deaf community – ASL access – Education

Another important win!

Go parents!!

“The decision says Carter is to be supported in the development of ASL, in accessing and being evaluated upon school curriculum via ASL, in communicating his safety and personal needs via ASL, and in ensuring he is not isolated from peers who are able to communicate with him.”

Parents of deaf child win human rights case against N.L. school district

Challenges in BC

CBC – Parents of deaf child, advocates express concern as B.C. college halts only sign language program in province.

ASL interpreter shortage in BC

Teacher Suspended – Not Following IEP and Safety Plan

We have an important consent resolution that has rightfully been making the news.

The Professional Conduct Unit (formerly Teachers Regulation Branch) doesn’t have a great track record.

In fact, most of the complaints parents file lead to “no action”. It has been confusing, disheartening, and a punch in the gut for many that leads us to question the legitimacy of this department in the Ministry of Education and Child Care that should be protecting the most vulnerable.

As shown by the annual reports by the Professional Conduct Unit, you can see for yourself.


You get the idea…puzzling isn’t the word…

In the year 2021-2202 out of 242 complaints/reports only 28 led to a consent resolution. If you read through them all, you will get a clear sense of which ones make it through. Most of them are sexual offences or related to physical safety.

There is a lot more going on in schools, unfortunately, that require action in order to keep kids safe from harm beyond just their physical bodies. Based on self-reporting of parents, especially for kids who are disabled, they just aren’t making it through, even when the human rights tribunal is accepting the same complaints from the same parents. Here is the discipline database.

Thankfully, most teachers will never experience this process because, well, they are just absolutely fabulous who have a genuine care for children. All of us parents and society will forever been in their debt. Forever and ever.

Other people….chose the wrong career.

Even though the TRB rarely, and I mean rarely, releases a consent resolution connected to a student with a disability, this recent case highlights that the teacher wasn’t aware of the students IEP and Safety plan, when they should have been, and states the incident has caused the student anxiety.

I was hoping this story would make the news.

And it did.

Many parents feel that IEP’s don’t get the respect they deserve. Some teachers follow them to a tee fully embracing them, and others completely ignore them. Ignore an IEP and safety plan and we could end up seeing you in the news one day.

Here is the full consent resolution that is posted on the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s website. Parents, you may want to keep this one on your computer. An advocacy tool.

Bellow are news articles on this important consent resolution. I will update them as they are posted in the media.

Vancouver Sun
Surrey-Now Leader
Vernon Now
Info News
Global News

Update: Administrative Procedure 356 Feedback from the Public

Communication I received from the Langley School District on Feb 9th, 2023.

“Thank you for sharing your questions and feedback. As was outlined in the meeting, the District is gathering feedback from the public, reviewing the information, and providing responses that pertain to Administrative Procedure 356. The District is also sharing a webpage which contains the meeting minutes, presentation slides, and question-and-answers from the meeting on the District webpage here.

The District is welcoming questions and feedback from the public until February 23, 2023.

To ensure equity and transparency, any additional questions from the public that were not answered in the question-and-answer period of the meeting and pertains to Administrative Procedure 356 will be shared on the same webpage after February 23, 2023.

Thank you for your feedback and helping contribute to our learning community.”

UPDATE: March 11th, 2023 – They have posted the questions and answers from the parents information night

An Open Letter to the Trustees of SD35-Langley

Dear Trustees,

I registered for the information session, Tuesday January 31st, regarding AP 355 procedure. At the last minute I was unable to attend due to the physical location of the meeting, but would have been able to attend if the meeting was online. I would like to communicate my concerns regarding your procedure. Even though my children are not in your district, other districts and parents are taking notice and your procedure has wider implications for other school districts to follow with similar procedures.

My concerns include the following:

  1. Potential for misuse. People in positions of power can use policies such as this as stepping stones for wider implications and inferences that leave vulnerable people even more vulnerable.
  2. Age. Other districts who have an exclusion policy have an age minimum of 16. However, this administrative procedure starts at kindergarten. That means some children being impacted by this procedure will be as young as 4 years old. This becomes enforceable on DAY 1 of kindergarten. The “spirit” of your procedure is very different than the other 3 policies I found online.
  3. Costs. There are financial costs to this procedure on families that are not being addressed by the school district. Will parents be reimbursed for their lost wages due to not being able to work for 3 days at a time? Due to systemic issues that are created and maintained by the Ministry of Education and how the public service of education is delivered in this province, it leaves parents shouldering the financial responsibilities and not the school district. Districts can be held financially responsible for human rights violations, lost wages and the cost of outside school programs. What happens here?
  4. Appeals. I have concerns that there is not already an established separate appeals process that is not a very cumbersome time consuming section 11 appeals process.  
  5. Delivery. I have concerns in which this information night was delivered. It could have easily been on zoom so that families with disabled children could access the information.  The barriers were evident and did not go unnoticed by the families who could not attend.  Due to the small number of people who were able to physically attend the information session, compared to the number of concerned members of the disability community who were interested in attending, the small “sample size” group who attended, you will be unable to make inferences to the larger population and feel that you fully understand everyone’s concerns.  It fulfills checking off a box on your to-do list, but little else, and I implore you to consider further community consultation via online as well.
  6. Reporting. Will there be reporting expectations from the district admin to the board so there is oversight? How often will these reports be expected to be reviewed and is there going to be a public anonymous quantitative data reporting system for transparency and legitimacy of your procedure? If you say this procedure will benefit the families for accountability, how will you be demonstrating that to the public that with evidence?
  7. Vague terms. It concerns me that there is a lot of vague undefined terms in this policy with no reference. Acts have definitions. For example, What does “exceptional circumstances” mean?
  8. Legal consultation. Will the school district be accessing their lawyers for legal consultation during the implementation of this policy? Will parents have the same access to legal consultation?
  9. Human System. Education is delivered through the means of a human system, designed and maintained by people. It is flawed and socially constructed by people who don’t often experience oppression. We are also in a state of educational crisis with severe staffing shortages and untrained adults working in the system who are not trained teachers or EA’s. The stress level of staff who are working in a system of scarcity and desperation will impact the learning environment and employees emotional regulation. This will transfer to the culture and behaviour of those children who are also navigating this human system. Children are not the creators of the environment that they are entering, they are reacting to their environment. It is recognized that we live in a society that is ableist, racist, classist, and education is delivered through a colonized lens. The children who are struggling to adapt to this system and who are most vulnerable will be mostly affected. How are families supported as they navigate this system that they have no control over? As per the school act, final decisions are the purview of the board and not the parents. Parents are responsible for facilitating decisions made by the schools or they can be seen as not fulfilling their duty to cooperate in good faith and human rights complaints will be dismissed. If parents disagree with the methodology that is being forced on their child, what is their recourse that will not risk their employment or make them homeless as they cannot pay their rent due to extended exclusion?  There are bound to be cultural and/or philosophical framework disagreements as professionals who work in disability education cannot even agree on appropriate approaches for specific disabilities and these disagreements even within these professions can lead to fierce emotional debate.  For example, Autism and Dyslexia.
  10. Diagnosis. Not all disabilities are even identified or screened by education staff, therefore many children are not even appropriately diagnosed. The mental health profession is understaffed and extremely stretched very thin with many people not being able to access supports until they are in extreme crisis, and even then the needs are just to high. In a failing system, with so many children falling through the cracks, how does this policy ensure that the education system is adapting to the needs on a macro systemic level? Does the Ministry of Education support this policy and do they plan on providing the school district with funding to ensure that children are accessing education in equitable ways? Will the Ministry of Education ensure that TOC’s will be provided so staff can have time to meet and consult with the appropriate professionals? And on that note, is the BCTF on board with this policy and 3 day cap? If the expectation is meetings are to be taking place and plans designed within 3 days, in the union on board with ensuring their staff are aware of their expectations? How will further professional training be provided to reduce the need for this policy to even exist?

Your responsibility in creating a procedure that doesn’t cause harm is very heavy. Please do not speed along the process. Please take into account the very community that you think this policy will benefit and that means a lot more consultation with community and collaboration with external non-profit organizations who advocate for vulnerable families.

If this procedure is discriminatory or harmful, external organizations will end up being involved in the process eventually and it will cause more harm and stress for everyone involved: school staff, parents, and most importantly the children. As young as 4 years old, on DAY 1 of kindergarten.


Kim Block

Here is a link to their information and admin procedure link

Avoiding the Traps That End Your Advocacy

I have dealt with multiple multiple different government departments through lots of different advocacy trails. Here is a list of dirty parlor tricks that they will use on you, to cut you off your path. These come from experience, case law examples, and stories from other parents. If you get any of these as a response, you know you have hit a sensitive nerve. You are onto something, keep going!

Their overarching goal is to have you lose your shit, so that they can then use your reaction as way to stop communicating with you and therefore stop your advocacy. They want to tire you out and focus not on the issue, but you.

NOTE: This is not how everyone in a position of power responds. However, if your situation exposes a lot of systemic issues, or a human rights issue, or is a hot topic, get ready. The more you know, the more you can be prepared and not respond in an emotional but in a strategic planned way.

  1. They will use silence and just ignore your emails, or respond really really really late. Like months and months late. Time is on their side. They feel no urgency. They will use your urgency against you to heighten your anxiety.
  2. They will request extensions for everything, or cancel meetings or just make dates for things that extend everything. The point is for this to constantly be out of reach and go on and on, hoping you give up.
  3. They will tell you they have another meeting at a certain time, say 45 min or 1 hour after yours starts in order to cap the conversation and then again extend the unresolved issue. The point is to extend, limit and contain.
  4. They will give you tasks or homework assignments to keep you busy and make you feel like something is happening, when in fact it is not. The homework assignments will be impossible to complete unless you know a lot of law, or are able to analyze a lawyers process. Not kidding. I had to analyze the process in which someone arrived at their decision, and why their process was incorrect. What they didn’t know was that I have a degree in human relations (human systems – how people function in groups) and currently at SFU for criminology, so I can absolutely do that. Which means, apparently you need to have almost 2 degrees in order to meet their criteria for intervention and support and this specific organization supports people who are need of help and are vulnerable in their situation. Not joking.
  5. Anything connected to procedural fairness, and they will make it seem like you are demanding, unreasonable, or inappropriate. This can be connected to having specific advocates in the room, or making sure your voice is heard, or even understanding the process so you can be prepared.
  6. They will use your emails, or your emotions as a way to try and embarrass you or shame you, and focus the attention on your behaviour.
  7. They will start to mirror your communication if they are wanting you to comply. Look at how they address you, and how they sign off on emails. Look at the language they are using.
  8. They will use similar subject headings in emails as a way to easily track communication. If you start seeing the same subject headings, it’s a flag. Other people are tracking your emails. It’s for a reason.
  9. They will interpret your advocacy as a personal attack and attempt to make you feel like you are being aggressive. Focus on the process, and the ability to highlight the oppression you are experiencing. Look at Rule of Law, Procedural Fairness, and Charter of Rights.
  10. They will change the rules as you move along, essentially creating a “moving target”. This is procedural unfairness that you can argue with case law.
  11. They will state facts, and then say…. “Well it is our understanding that…..” and then make up whatever they want.
  12. Some days you feel like you are having a sword fight with the English dictionary. Analyze everything. Counting aspects and turning your data into quantitative data, can be helpful. How many emails? How much time in meeting minutes? How much repetitive data? How many times did they use those power words or accuse you of…?
  13. They will play within the rules, so if there is a page limit for a response for a certain written court process, they have used small font and widen the margins. They will use whatever advantage they can gather.
  14. If they ask for an extension of pages, you need to also ask for the same extension of pages.
  15. They will pretend they are innocent or unaware, and purposefully make mistakes with dates, or other information, hoping you will speak to them in a demeaning way or insult them. Then they know that they can stop you in the your tracks, and they will be supported by any system process. You need to communicate with them as if you are talking with your grandmother. It will piss them off. They are always looking for a hook.
  16. If what you are saying is true, they will attack the process at what you arrived at those facts. For example, my child was assessed by this person, at this level. Then they will attack/undermine the person who assessed your child, and try and make them invalid.
  17. They will tell you that you can email them your thoughts and feelings and that they will read everything, but they will not be able to respond to everything. DO NOT DO THIS. They are essentially not closing the door on you, and wanting to gather info on how you think and feel. They are collecting evidence to use against you.
  18. They will want to have phone conversations with you, and not be willing to document or email any conclusions or actions that they are committing to.
  19. They will want to limit the number of advocates in the room, or use “student confidentiality” as an excuse to take away other professional expertise or support persons that will benefit you or end meetings with joint parents.
  20. They will keep sending you to different people to have meetings with over and over and over again.
  21. They will try and make your arguments look weak and theirs are stronger in actual fake law – they will take a real concept and kind up…. smudge it up. Generally, they will bend the rules and smudge the lines. They can be very subtle by dropping “knowledge bombs” of information to heighten your anxiety.
  22. They will do things in a way… that you start to question yourself. Am I really seeing this? Is this really happening? Am I overreacting? We always assume that everyone has the best intentions….maybe they aren’t aware…. That could be true. However. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Many good people hold up a sick system. It makes sense in their head, and they may not really understand why. It’s just the culture. It’s normalized.

I leave you with quotes that hit home this week.

  1. “There are times when you must speak, not because you are going to change the other person, but because if you don’t speak, they have changed you.”—Mary Quinn, aka Maud
  2. “You are what you tolerate.”

A Year in Review

The year of 2022 started off with my blog The Dance of Advocacy and Forgiveness, which gives me a chuckle given the current circumstances my year is ending in. I am getting a lot of practice.

This year has been a year of discovery and finding out just how far the rabbit hole to Wonderland goes.

In 2022 I found out my Top 10 Shocking Advocacy Discoveries, and I can tell you that this year coming up will require an update. Swimming upstream in education is important.

Some exciting learnings also happened. The groundbreaking  case showed the Human Rights Tribunal accepting a parent attached to their child’s education discrimination complaint. That possibility is eye-opening and will pave the way for more parents.  I definitely have a much better understanding of the Duty to Accommodate and why Documentation and Diagnosis are so important on the legal fronts. The struggles of the system have also been revealed to me. I’ll be keeping an eye on for any upcoming cases to share.

Didn’t wish I had such an example of ableism in education to report on, and can say this experience has repeated itself again. Different teacher, same outcome. This similar behaviour has happened four times so far.

I have several advocacy projects still open, active and ongoing involving multiple government departments. Change is slow. It requires a lot of patience and persistence. I have been forever changed by everything I have experienced in the last 3+ years. I am not the same person.  Well….I am but, but just amplified. 😉 It was all buried, but it’s all coming out now.

One of the healing experiences for me has been this website and blog. The families who reach out to me due to this website have been eye-opening, healing, and motivating all at once. To all the parents/guardians out there who are advocating to try and make it easier and less heavy for someone else, I see you. So many of us are out there. Each trying our best at our own puzzle piece.

Systems always change over time. We may think we are getting nowhere, but there is always a ripple effect even if we don’t directly see it. People may think that nothing will ever change. But that is not true. Things could always get worse.  Good people need to speak up. Everyone else who has advocated before us needs their work continued. I am continually gaining strength and inspiration from all the parents who have taken their human rights cases to hearings across Canada. You never know how you effect people. Doing the right thing isn’t necessarily easy. There are a lot of advocates working in and out of the different systems. So much to be grateful for and learn from.

This year has been quite a year… a part of me doesn’t even want to wonder what this new year will bring. I can feel that it’s going to be a whopper. But you know what…. I am ready.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

A Call for Action – School Psychologists

Vulnerable children are going to be pushed into more vulnerable circumstances with the new upcoming regulatory changes for school psychologists.

We need to sound the alarm!

New proposed bylaws by the College of Psychologist of BC will be impacting our school psychologists and therefore our children.

I have a child who was assessed by a psychologist connected to MCFD, who diagnosed the ADHD, but didn’t even test for the learning disability after I raised serious concerns regarding his written output.

It took a school psychologist with a practice on the side, to assess my son within 2 months, and his serious learning disability in written output was revealed. My son would not be getting the supports he has today without this assessment. The emotional harm would have continued. This was a private assessment, but she charged less than a community psychologist. Her assessment was also viewed by another professional who said this was the most comprehensive assessment she has ever seen. Without this lovely school psychologist offering her skills as her own practice, it would have been months and months of waiting, to hopefully get a fully correct diagnosis. Having a school psychologist was ideal and I am forever grateful.

For more information on their advocacy work, please see their informative website

The Underground World of Human Rights Complaints in Education

By systemic design, human rights complaints in education are underground. A hidden world, away from prying eyes and transparent investigation. This is not for privacy and confidentiality.

  1. Back in the day, with focused education-reporters, this article was written about the expense of lawyers fees for Harris and Co. Vancouver Sun – School districts and the money spent on Harris & Co. What is NOT mentioned in this article is that the money for Harris & Co. also covers human rights complaints filed by parents on behalf of their children.
  2. On the Harris & Co. website, they list the services they offer to school districts. What is explicitly missing, is that they defend human rights complaints, both by employees and by parents. The words “human rights” are missing. Search the database of the Human Rights Tribunal, you will see the cases with the names of the lawyers that link back to their law firm.
  3. On the Human Rights Tribunal website, find me where parents can get information about discrimination related to education services? Last year, I emailed them informing that information specific to education is badly needed. I received no response. No updates on the website have been made. I have had to do my own research and write blogs like this: Understanding the Duty to Accommodate, Why is documentation so important, and create a Human Rights Tribunal and an Education Law page to help other parents understand their rights. I am asking this honestly, for anyone reading this, please send me any links that you can on human rights and education in BC. I’d love to know where this information is posted. If you want to find info on human rights in BC in education the only place to look is case law. So I created my case page. (Which actually should be updated with all of my newest finds.) I swear, I need 26 hours in a day.
  4. Meanwhile in Ontario the Human Rights Tribunal has a Special Education Tribunal, and an Ombudsperson branch focused on Education. Don’t even get me started talking about the Teacher’s Regulation Branch here in BC. That’s a whole other story still in progress.
  5. The Ministry of Education doesn’t even track human rights complaints. Evidence – the state of human rights complaints in BC. No one is even paying attention to all of this. No oversight. Nothing. No monitoring. No accountability. Yup. Read that again.
  6. We already know that the obvious form of exclusion happens from BCEd’s exclusion tracker. We rarely see articles about education human rights complaints in the news. Surrey School District. Parents need to “out” their child. Data with anonymity specific to education isn’t available. Discrimination in school systems is so wide spread. It’s just been accepted as part of the daily fabric of how the education system functions and parents are left to advocate, taking up the responsibility on their own.

So this underground hidden world exists…


Anyone care to take a guess as to why????

I have a couple interesting theories. None that I can write out on social media.

Interesting to note:

  1. Education human rights cases tend to be very long and complex. Weeks long.
  2. The human rights tribunal is already an overwhelmed system as it is. 3-5 years is the current estimate start to end time.
  3. According to the HRT annual report only 1% of complaints make it to a hearing, and if you are unrepresented against lawyers only 20% win their cases. Without hearings happening in education, we don’t have enough case law in education around discrimination.
  4. Parents are quoted &120,000.00 in lawyers frees for a 5 day hearing for lawyer representation. If you win, the settlement offers are small fractions of your legal fees.
  5. Pro-bono lawyers, once you get a settlement offer, wont agree to take your case to a hearing. Or good luck finding one who will.
  6. There is a turn of the tide happening right now. The latest human rights hearing list, has three cases in education, all in the same month.

It is a hidden underground world.

You want a concrete example of what systemic oppression looks like…well…here it is folks!

Oh and fun fact, this system isn’t changing anytime soon.

Where is the outrage?

Oh, that’s underground too.

You see, at Harris & Co. they do explicitly list “defamation issues including defamation on social media” as part of their services.

Lucky us.

International Stuttering Awareness Day! October 22nd, 2022

Here are some things that fluent people may not realize about stuttering…

  1. There are certain words for people who stutter that will be more difficult to say than other information. For example, Our name, address, phone number. Things that we get asked a lot and we can’t replace it with other words.

Also things like, social language can be hard to say, like thank you.

When someone holds a door open for me, saying thank you for me, 90% of the time I stutter on that word and sometimes people just move too fast, I don’t have time to say the word. I am sure the world thinks I am very rude. What can I do?

2. For people who stutter, sometimes….depending on the person, they can be more fluent or stutter more on the phone. Some people find reading easier to speak and for others, they stutter more when reading. For me, *depending* on the person and the relationship I have with them, and the purpose of the call, phone can be very challenging and I prefer video as I use my body language to support my communication. We will all have our different *triggers*. However a common trigger that will increase stuttering is time pressure. We know what we need for different situations and we have rights for accommodations.

3. Many people who stutter will substitute words and spend a lot of mental energy navigating their stuttering through sentences. This can be very exhausting. So even if people seem to be very fluent and only stutter occasionally, you have no idea how much mental gymnastics they are encountering to communicate.

Some people can be covert stutterers and spend an incredible amount of time hiding their stuttering and substituting their words. They can feel very powerless in their life as they will eat food on menus they don’t want to eat, or say or agree to things they don’t really think, but it’s easier to say.

I myself and so many other people have experienced covert stuttering as a survival strategy in their life. Take my word for it, it’s EXHAUSTING and nauseating.

4. Some people who stutter find it easier to not stutter on swear words and so putting swear words in a sentence helps to “keep them a float” so to speak. Thanks Samuel L Jackson for explaining this so well. 😉

5. Stuttering is a neurological condition. It is not caused by nervousness or anxiety, but there are many environmental factors that can influence someone’s stuttering. As the brain is so complex and networked, emotions can influence stuttering but not cause it.

6. Stuttering can range in severity and presents differently for different people. So, what is helpful for one person, isn’t helpful for everyone. Please, we don’t need to hear…”You know my Uncle did _____ and now he doesn’t stutter anymore!” Really!?! You sure about that??

7. Just because someone can be fluent in one situation doesn’t mean they can be fluent in other situations.

For example, some people can experience high levels of fluency in speech therapists office. It’s like if someone was asking you to walk along a plank of wood on the floor of their office. It’s safe. Then when you go out in the world, it’s like that plank of wood is now balancing between two 30 floor buildings and now you need to walk across it. Very different. Every speaking experience depending on the context that plank of wood will move to different floors. Social event with your best friends, maybe you are just walking across the board one story up. Job interview, 30 stories up. Lunch with co-workers in an supportive environment, 5 stories up. Phone call with someone in a position of authority, 15 stories up.

8. Many people who stutter have other family members who stutter. For people who don’t know if they do or not, it is still possible. 2 and 3 generations ago, you can imagine how important it was for people to hide their stuttering. My grandmother didn’t even label her father as a stutterer, “that was just how he talked”. You never know!

9. Stuttering changes over a life time. How I stuttered as a kid, was different as a teenager, was different as a young adult, was different when I was pregnant with both of my kids, and my stuttering is different now. I hear from people who are in their senior years, that their stuttering has changed when they became older too.

When I was a kid I was covert, then I hit teenage years and I was assessed as severe and the covert again, and then moderate as a young adult… you get the idea. When I went to speech therapy I was fluent enough to be covert again. Told everyone I was cured and I didn’t stutter anymore. Not.

10. 1% of the international population stutter. In every country, city and town. It would be very weird if there was a country out there who didn’t have anyone who stuttered. If we exist everywhere, than one can conclude it’s normal. There is a lot of ableism and we are constantly being told by society that we need to be fixed. That we need to “work on ourselves” and if I just tried hard enough, we wouldn’t stutter anymore. That is fucking bullshit.

Happy International Stuttering Awareness Day everyone!!

Reach out and get support! There are lots of support groups and conferences to reach out and meet your fellow community members. 🙂

Canadian Stuttering Association
National Stuttering Association
International Stuttering Association
British Stammering Association
SAY: Stuttering Association for the Young
Friends Who Stutter
Beyond Imagination