Hold Samsung Accountable: Inclusive Tech for People Who Stutter Now

We, a collective of stuttering self-advocacy and activist organizations, are calling for action from Samsung regarding their new technology, the Impulse watch app. Impulse is marketed as an "invisible assistant" that uses tactile rhythmic impulses delivered at the wrist to promote fluent sounding speech, as well as "confidence" and "autonomy" among users who stutter. This technology and its marketing are deeply problematic and perpetuate, rather than improve, issues faced by people who stutter. Though Samsung claims to create products "built around a human-centered philosophy that recognizes diversity and embraces our differences," Impulse actively undermines their own ideals. Society's punishments for stuttering teach people who stutter that they are only valued if they speak without stuttering and this technology reinforces this harmful view. 

Impulse falls short because it oversimplifies what effective help with stuttering looks like. Fluency shaping approaches, like the rhythmic and metronomic methods used in the ad (and depicted in the historical film The King's Speech), have been employed for over a century and are far from "innovative." Despite their long history, these methods are known to have only short-term effects and are often described by people who stutter as effortful, distracting, and unpleasant (citations 1-3 below). Additionally, fluency does not necessarily improve the quality of life for people who stutter, as their experience of fluency is often effortful and fundamentally different from the effortless fluency experienced by non-stutterers (citation 4 below). Effective therapy should instead provide empowering narratives that validate the community and highlight how dysfluency can positively change our relationship to time.

One area of concern regarding the technology is Samsung's marketing approach. Their video suggests the app can eliminate stuttering –without offering supporting research– and uses stigmatizing language describing it as something people "suffer" from. Such marketing is problematic and risks being exploitative, especially considering the app is only available for purchase. While Samsung may intend to help, the stuttering community has endured endless such attempts to leverage the hope of a quick fix. It is not wrong for people who stutter to want to speak fluently in a world that punishes them for stuttering. However, it is essential that treatments are evidence-based, holistic, and do not exploit these desires.

Samsung's goal of erasing stuttered speech is in direct opposition with their mission to "contribute to a better global society" and "championing inclusive technological innovation for all," which they would know if they included a wider range of people who stutter in their development process.

We demand that Samsung:

1. Engage with stuttering self-advocacy and activist organizations to better understand the needs and wishes of the stuttering community.

2. Discontinue the practice of marketing an app without research to support its utility in terms of impact on quality of life

3. Refrain from using stigmatizing language in marketing materials and instead focus on empowering
narratives that validate the stuttering community.

4. Collaborate with tech organizations already engaged with stuttering communities to learn best practices for inclusive technological innovation, like AImpower, SuperPenguin and withVR.

5. Develop products that promote the belonging of people who stutter and truly innovate in the field of assistive technology for speech variations, instead of offering just "more of the same."

We are long accustomed to having quick fixes dangled before us, but believe in 2024 that we can demand better.


Adult Stuttering (USA)
AImpower.org (USA)
Association Bégaiement Communication (Canada)
Association des jeunes bègues du Québec (Canada)
Brown Cub Speech Therapy (USA)
Cadence Speech Therapy (USA)
Canadian Stuttering Association (Canada)
Centro Especializado en Tartamudez (Perú)
Clinique spécialisée en bégaiement et bredouillement (Canada)
COACER Colombia: Awareness, Acceptance, and Respect for Stuttering (Columbia)
Colombian Stuttering Foundation (Columbia)
Dysfluent (UK)
Escuela Con-Confianza Peru (Perú)
Fluir + Chile, Abordaje Clínico de la Tartamudez (Chile)
Friends: The National Association of Young People Who Stutter (USA)
Front Range Speech & Stuttering Specialists (USA)
Henderson Stuttering Therapy (USA)
Ibero-American Stuttering Association (International)
Iowa State University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (USA)
Iowa Stuttering Lab (USA)
Labo IV, the laboratory for innovations in Speech Language Pathology of the University of Montreal (Canada)
Lebsack Speech Therapy (USA)
Martha Speech (USA)
Myspeech (USA)
National Stuttering Association (USA)
Peruvian Stuttering Association Habla Libre (Perú)
Proud Stutter (USA)
Redefining Stammering (UK)
SAY: AU The Stuttering Association for the Young of Australia (Australia)
SPACE (Stuttering, People, Arts, Community, Education) (Canada)
Specialized Center for Stuttering (International)
Speech Bubbles Therapy (USA)
Spero Stuttering, Inc. (USA)
Stamily (International)
Stuttering Commons (Canada)
Stuttering Therapy Resources (USA)
Stuttering Venezuela (Venezuela)
Take Courage (UK)
Vermont Stuttering Therapy (USA)
withVR (International)

1 Cream, Angela, et al. "Protection from harm: the experience of adults after therapy with prolonged‐speech." International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders 38.4 (2003): 379-395.
2 Cream, A., A. Packman, and G. Llewellyn. "The playground rocker: A metaphor for communication after treatment for adults who stutter." Advances in Speech Language Pathology 6.3 (2004): 182-187.
3 Corcoran, Joseph A., and Moira Stewart. "Stories of stuttering: A qualitative analysis of interview narratives." Journal of Fluency Disorders 23.4 (1998): 247-264.
4 Constantino, C. D., Eichorn, N., Buder, E. H., Beck, J. G., & Manning, W. H. (2020). The speaker's experience of stuttering: Measuring spontaneity. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 63(4), 983-1001.

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