• Timothy Michael Poe-American Hero or Stuttering Fraud

    Posted on June 8, 2012 by in Stuttering

    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/

    Please leave your comments about this issue below!  I would love to hear from you all!

5 responses so far.

  1. Nenad Rendic says:

    I do not intend to distinguish neurogenic and developmental stuttering and whether the wars of the US are justifiable ones. I have so far watched to speak many people on television who are very slight stutterers but who are not at all considered to be stutteres by the people who do not stutter. Since I am a stutterer I can identify unmistakingly a person who stutter even very stightly. Therefore I can certainly state that this man is not a stutterer.

    • Evan Sherman says:

      Hi Nenad, thanks for the post. Just so you are aware, in Neurogenic stuttering, we normally do not see the added tension in the face or neck muscles like we would see in developmental stuttering. Remember, this is a totally different type of stuttering that we are not used to, and this is why it looks so different to us.

      • Paul Goldstein says:

        I noticed, though, that he was not stuttering when he was backstage afterwards.

        • Evan Sherman says:

          Hi Paul, You are right, he did stutter less when he was backstage. I think I saw him stutter on “couldn’t” when he was interviewed back stage. As we know, stuttering can be exacerbated by anxiety. In my opinion he stuttered more when talking to the judges because that situation caused him to experience more anxiety. He stuttered less backstage because he was feeling less anxious. Just my opinion, this video is always open for interpretation.

  2. Nenad Rendic says:

    There is no tension in his face or neck muscles or struggle in order to pronounce any word that I think it should have appeared during his speech.

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