America’s Got Talent isn’t a show that I normally watch. In fact, I wasn’t watching Timothy Michael Poe’s performance until my mom called me right before he started singing. I am going to be completely honest with you all. At the time, I thought he was legit. I believed in his story. Based on the fact that he said he was a soldier who fought to defend our great country, I trusted him. Maybe its because of my experience working as a speech therapy intern at the VA hospital in Syracuse that I am so compassionate towards soldiers and so sensitive to their stories. I was totally surprised when he turned out to be a fraud. I guess in my mind, you wouldn’t normally find an honorable soldier doing such dishonorable things. I am not drawing conclusions here, maybe he actually does stutter. Maybe he actually did sustain a TBI in the war. I don’t think we have heard all of the facts yet. Poe continues to claim that his story is legit. As with every news story, we are all very quick to judge. Ill bet you that more will come out about this.
Some of my fellow stuttering friends have claimed that they noticed right off the bat that there was something weird about his stuttering. Some people have claimed that his stutter sounded than what they are used to hearing or what they experience themselves. One thing that everyone has to take into consideration is that the onset of his stuttering(if he is being truthful) was due to a traumatic brain injury. A brain injury causes neurogenic stuttering, not developmental stuttering. Neurogenic stuttering actually has different characteristics than developmental stuttering. Some people have mentioned that since this man didn’t demonstrate any secondary characteristics of stuttering, he is most definitely a fraud. Everyone needs to realize that with neurogenic stuttering, we don’t normally see secondary characteristics. That’s right, those facial grimaces,word insertions and eye blinks that would normally be observed in developmental stuttering disorders is usually not seen in neurogenic stuttering disorders. Other characteristics of neurogenic stuttering are disfluencies occurring in all positions of words, a lack of overt characteristics of anxiety, and consistent stuttering across all speaking situations.
Sure, this situation looks really bad for Poe, but let’s not be so quick to judge. This all happened less than a week ago, and I bet there is more to the story. Let’s see what happens.
For more information about neurogenic stuttering please visit http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2901556/
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