Ed Sheeran Speaks Out Stuttering
Neurogenic stuttering is an acquired motor speech fluency disorder in which the patient has difficulty producing smooth, rhythmic, and fluent speech. Speech output is characterized by involuntary interruptions, repetitions, or prolongations of sounds. Neurologenic stuttering develops after an assault on the nervous system, most often a cerebrovascular accident. Other causes include head trauma, neoplasms, and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (Molt, 2012). Another fluency disorder closely related to neurogenic stuttering is developmental stuttering. Developmental stuttering begins in childhood, typically between the ages of two and five. Most children who develop a stutter in childhood will outgrow it, but for some, the symptoms persist into adulthood.
Raising awareness of stuttering disorders is a goal for singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran (Sherry, 2013). Sheeran’s music first became popular in 2011 with his hit, “The A Team,” prior to him ever signing with a record label. Since then, he has produced multiple number one hits and has even won Best British Male Solo Artist. Aside from his musical accolades, Sheeran has recently opened up about his childhood struggles with stuttering. In a speech given to the 9th Annual American Institute for Stuttering Benefit Gala, Sheeran reports having received speech therapy for years to attempt to improve his speech fluency. However, his biggest advancements appeared after his father bought him his first Eminem CD, which Sheeran memorized at the age of 10. Although Eminem raps extremely fast, his melodic rap style allowed Sheeran to follow along with perfect fluency. This is when Sheeran fell in love with music. It not only allowed him to express his thoughts, but enabled him to do so with ease. Sheeran now admits that the hardest part about growing up with a stutter was being unable to say what he wanted to say despite knowing how. It became hard for him to fit in with peers at a young age, which pushed him towards music even more, which in many ways became his speech therapy. He continues working to raise awareness and serves as a source of inspiration to those with a stutter, expounding that a stutter should never define a person, but is instead something that makes a person unique.
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