Finding a job is one of life's little nightmares. And although pounding the pavement is nobody's idea of a good time, a recent study indicates the going may be parrticularly tough for the nation's 2.5 million people who stutter.

A University of Alabama survey indicates employers may attach a certain stigma to stutterin, which could interfere with the hiring process.

May 9-15 has been designated as National Stuttering Awareness Week by Congress to generate understanding of this disability.

Of the 644 employers questioned in the study, 85 percent say they; feel being a stutterer decreases a person's chances for employment. Thirty percent believe stuttering affects job performance, and 60 percent say they themselves feel uncomfortable when talking with stutterers.

"These statistics are probably applicable to all disabilities," says Jane Fraser, president of the Speech Foundation of America. "A closer look has shown that the performance of disabled employees is equal if not superior to that of others. Therefore, the key to increased opportunities for stutteres lies in better education of the public."

Fraser also pointed out that there is hope for those who stutter, regardless of age, through the help of a trained, licensed speech-language pathologist, preferably one who specializes in stuttering.

The Speech Foundation provides free referrals to all those interested in finding a trained, licensed speech-language pathologist through its toll free number.

For more information about stuttering, or for a list of publications that can help, write the Speech Foundation of America, P.O. Box 11749, Memphis, TN 38111-0749, or call 1 (800) 992-9392.