Last night the Dallas Chapter of the National Stuttering Association held it’s March meeting, and here’s a quick recap of everything that happened.

With 11 members in attendance including a new face (welcome Scott!) we were ready to rumble, and to go with Spring and the idea of new beginnings, our Icebreaker question this month was “What is something new you are learning right now?” 

What did we find out? Our chapter loves languages and communicating! We had a couple people learning programming languages (which sparked a debate about old school vs new school languages), Lee is learning Italian to go on a trip with his lovely wife, and a weird guy is learning Danish. We also had a few people saying that they were actively working in improving their communication by having more conversations and increasing their confidence. Our chapter is all about communicating!

After that we moved to announcements, and we have plenty of those:The 36th Annual Conference, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is just around the corner. From July 3rd-7th, Fort Lauderdale is about to become the stuttering capital of the world, and we want you there! If you want to read the conference brochure you can read it HERE, if you are ready to register you can do that HERE, and if you are not sure you can attend because of lack of funds….Scholarships ARE available to attend! Between flights, hotel, food and whatnot, expenses can add up quickly, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for you to miss the party of the year. Luckily, the NSA and their generous donors, have made available a sizable amount of scholarships for those cases. To make sure you qualify and to fill your application, head HERE. Make sure you read all the information and don’t let too much time pass because the funds are limited!Panels, panels, panels! We have two stuttering panels in the next couple weeks. First one is at TCU on April 2nd, and the next one is April 15th at UNT. If you missed the emails, you can read all the information HERE. If you want to participate you should’ve signed up weeks ago… but we never say no to a volunteer! So check availability, reply to this email and we’ll put your name down.
And then we moved to a very interesting conversation about “Stuttering and Role Models.”

Role models are defined as “a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated,” and as a person who stutters, sometimes it’s hard to find somebody that you feel identified with. To start the conversation we talked about the importance of chapter meetings and surrounding yourself with people who share your experiences, because that also allows you to follow their steps, or get different perspectives on issues.

Then I shared a story about my first conference in Ft. Worth in 2011, where I had the opportunity to meet and hear David Seidler. David had just won the Oscar for writing the screenplay for The King’s Speech, and he gave a fantastic and inspiring keynote speech.

Going from feeling alone in the world… to a chapter meeting when you get the chance to meet 5-20 people like you… to then attending a conference where you are in the same room with 900+ people who get you, was nothing short of life-changing. It opened up the world for me and showed me that I might have been wrong about stuttering all along.

At the meeting I mentioned that I had a recording of the speech, but since it is 40+ minutes long, we didn’t get to listen to it, so here it is for everybody, as promised:

What we DID watch was a video from another person who stutters, Ed Sheeran, speaking at the American Institute for Stuttering Gala in 2015:
Ed Sheeran – American Institute for Stuttering Gala 2015
And here is where the conversation got interesting because Ed said a couple things that did not go well with everybody, and while it’s not possible to share the whole discussion, some of the questions raised are worth sharing.What do you feel when you hear a successful person or a celebrity say to “get over it”, or that “they overcame their stutter”? Is it a positive message? Is “overcoming stuttering” possible? What exactly means “overcoming”?In the case of Steve Harvey: what happens when a celebrity says on national TV that stuttering is curable and he knows how to?What kind of advice you would actually like to hear from celebrities?
These kind of conversations are always fascinating, because everybody has their own perspective and expectations, and if we had the time we would probably still be there sharing opinions… sadly, our time at the meeting ran out.

We agreed that this conversation was worth continuing next month and on that note: what else would you want us to discuss? Is there something else in your mind?

Remember that our meetings are what we made of them, and every opinion and topic suggestion is welcome. 

Keep an eye on your inbox for our next Chat n’ Chew and see you next month!

Dallas NSA