Journal of Fluency Disorders
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Purpose: Migration is a contemporary, global matter. With the number of international migrants doubling over the past four decades, speech-language pathologists will likely work with migrants who have childhood-onset stuttering. However, combined migration and stuttering experiences have never been investigated specifically. This study is the first to investigate the experiences of migrants to Australia who stutter. Methods: Three women and six men, aged 23 to 66 years old, participated. Data from individual interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to examine the ‘lived experience’ of participants, as well as with NVivo 12 software for the management of coding. Participants also completed The Overall Assessment of the Speaker's Experience of Stuttering (OASES™). Results: The stress experienced from migration interacted and compounded the existing stress of stuttering. Central themes emerged pertaining to the impact of increased stress on self-identity, the interactions of the stresses, as well as the coping strategies/facilitators. Stuttering and other personal factors, such as language(s) spoken and accent, had a negative impact on communication skills. Conclusion: Migration cannot be experienced independently of a stutter, as both are intrinsically linked to self-identity. The combined stress of migration with stuttering amplified the perception of feeling abnormal and resulted in difficulties with establishing a stable self-identity and a sense of belonging in the new context. Participants found strength in the company of others and considered Australia to be accepting of stuttering.
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