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  • Lori Melnitsky

Stuttering Isn’t Contagious but Ignorance is….Lori’s story

Sept 1991-My first internship for my masters program in Speech Pathology was at a special education preschool on Long Island in NY. I was excited but petrified. I was an accountant for five years with little interaction with children. My dream was to become a speech pathologist and it became my passion. (It still is 29 years later).

The long awaited letter came in the mail that told me who to contact for my internship. On my first day, I walked into into a school I met with a well established speech pathologist. The fear came. She will know I stutter and turn me away. My fear was intense. How can I hide it? Should I hide it? I decided to be upfront. I stutter but it does not affect my interaction with the children or my job. The look came. A speech pathologist of over 35 years looked bewildered and confused. Then the words came but not what I expected. “Dear, do you know the children will start stuttering if they hear you stutter?”  I was speechless. “Not that I do not want you, but it is a concern.” I was speechless and went back to the department head at Hofstra University. Her response was “That is ridiculous and the internship is yours.” Dr. Audrey Eisen has passed away but she was my biggest supporter at Hofstra University and I will always be eternally grateful.

My internship started and believe me I educated this woman on stuttering. Honestly she had no compassion and was not interested. My supervisor was tough but I learned so much from her and we developed a mutual respect for each other.

Stuttering is not contagious, in case you were not sure.

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