Protect rights for people with a speech disability.

Protect rights for people with a speech disability.

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My name is Sonia Ellis and I suffer from a debilitating speech impairment called spasmodic dysphonia.  This basically means that I have a nuerological condition that makes my stutter 10x's worse.  I have no control over it.  With family and friends my speech is understandable as I am relaxed however Stress brings my stutter to a whole new level! I have a special needs child that I care for  that is medically dependent and so my stress levels are always high! This makes things very difficult for me.  I can communicate face to face farely easy because if I can't talk I can always write it down! On the phone however things are different.  When calling places I have to breath and try to relax because I have been hung up on many many times.  As you can imagine my tensions are high during a call because I am anticipating a hang up so I try to get the words out as soon as the person on the other end answers.  Recently I made a call to a government office and before I even got my name out I was hung up on.  I waited on hold for over 30 minutes!! You can't imagine the frustration I felt. I WAS HUMILIATED!!! Due to covid-19 going to do business in person at government establishments has been halted for a while.  So phone is the only way to handle business.  If I need to speak to someone I have to call in but how when I am constantly hung up on!! Having a speech disability is a grey area and more change needs to happen for us with invisible disabilities!!! If I had a wheelchair and couldn't have access to an establishment it would be fairly easy to report the establishment to ADA and things would rapidly change and even so a discrimination suite would possibly be taken on.  However those of us that stutter get mocked, laughed at, treated unfairly, and are seen as if we are sometimes mentally challenged!! I am tired of being treated this way.  As a mother of a special needs child I am his voice!! If my voice can not advocate for his needs then what good am I!!! Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now!!! I shouldn't have to warn the person I am calling to please be patient with me because I have a speech impediment.  Its common courtesy!! I am human and I demand to be treated equally!! Many people have speech disabilities/stutters.  Maybe one day your child or grandchild will stutter. Wouldn't you want them to be treated with the same respect that you get? 

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