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From: Paul Goldstein
Date: 11 Oct 2011
Time: 18:10:58 -0500
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Hi, Sarah. Thanks for your nice compliment and your very interesting questions! I really have not encountered negative attitudes here regarding stuttering. My feeling is that people here (in general) are more accepting of disabilities and differences than is the case in the U.S. I believe it is a genuinely accepting culture. But I wouldn't say that Norwegians who stutter are more "open" about their problem than are Americans who stutter. Norwegians seldom talk about themselves; it is a quiet society, and people in general are uncomfortable with "opening up" to strangers in any significant personal way. There is a presumed zone of privacy for individuals in Norway, and people tend to keep personal matters private - more so than in the United States. Many Norwegians who stutter do seek speech therapy, so I'm not sure that Norwegians are more "accepting" of their stuttering than are their counterparts in the U.S. (or other countries). When I've attended self-help meetings and national events of NIFS (the national stuttering association in Norway), I find that people express much the same types of problems and concerns as do those attending events of stuttering associations in the U.S. So there are obviously still problems encountered here in their daily lives by people who stutter. Yet I think the equality and acceptance norms of Norwegian culture and society do help a great deal to make life somewhat easier for people who stutter. The situation may not be perfect, but definitely the welcoming culture is a strong positive influence.