February’s Spotlight of the Month Honors Max Schnitzer!

Max was born and raised in North Dallas and graduated from Tulane University in 2018, where he studied psychology. Following graduation, Max backpacked throughout Southeast Asia and Europe for three months, seeking to immerse himself in new cultures and environments. His travels led him to converse with people of all backgrounds and perspectives. He is a lover of all things basketball, the outdoors, music (sans country—sorry to his fellow Texans), and has a keen interest in the world of design. Today, he is pursuing a career as a digital designer/creative.
Max’s stuttering journey has been the proverbial roller coaster. He is a covert stutterer, and mostly experiences long, harsh blocks on certain sounds (mainly b’s, d’s, and g’s). For most of his life, many of his peers have been totally unaware of his speech difficulties—he has the ability to disguise himself as a “normal speaker” in many situations. His frustrations and anxieties hit a tipping point while travelling abroad: travelling required near-constant interaction with strangers, which, while fruitful, required a great deal of patience and effort to push past blocks. Max promised himself he would seek out speech therapy once he returned home and since April of 2019, he has been working with Tricia Krauss-Lehrman (shoutout to Tricia, she’s the best). In therapy, he has undertaken an avoidance reduction program, and has felt a positive shift in his feelings towards stuttering. He has become active in the local stuttering community, attending NSA chapter meetings and speaking on stuttering panels at universities.
Speech differences have presented challenges for Max, but he maintains that ‘he is not his stutter’—stuttering doesn’t single-handedly define or detract from his experiences, relationships, or life pursuits. And his stuttering journey is far from over. As he strives to gain confidence with his own speech, he also feels a responsibility to the greater stuttering community. Max feels that stutterers are underrepresented in a number of fields and disciplines, and he is excited to advance the conversation around stuttering through everyday discourse. Professionally, he hopes to use technology and visual design as tools to educate, and show that communication—in all its forms—is capable of telling a beautiful story.

Next time you see Max ask him about backpacking tips and where to find the best food while traveling!

#NSASpotlight #GetToKnowUs #WeStutter