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TEXAS IN DEPTH – Courtney Byrd on Stuttering

A Conversation with Courtney Byrd, Director of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research 

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Courtney Byrd

Courtney Byrd came to The University of Texas at Austin in 2003 as a postdoctoral fellow and has steadily elevated UT into one of the foremost institutions in the world for education and research in stuttering. Now she directs the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research at UT. 

Recently, Byrd sat down with UT News for an in-depth conversation about stuttering and her nearly 20-year journey to help people who stutter. We talked about celebrities who stutter, from Mel Tillis to Jimmy Stuart to Shaquille O’Neal. 

We learned what percentage of the population is thought to stutter, what research says about the causes of stuttering, and about the work she is doing around the world.

Is it true that adults stutter less when speaking to pets or young children? And why is it that people who stutter can sing just fine?

Byrd describes when and why she became interested in this subject and how the center engages with people who stutter.

She also shares the story of Mike and Tami Lang, early supporters of her work. Now, with the help of the center’s namesake, Arthur Blank, cofounder of The Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, Byrd is taking her work around the world, and the name of The University of Texas at Austin with it.