February, 2018

At the February meeting of the Illinois State University chapter of the NSA, we had 3 people who stutter in attendance, as well as one school SLP. We discussed how their mindset of stuttering was and how it changed as they grew up. They discussed how their stuttering affects them in school both academically and with their peers. The PWS all agree that having confidence and acceptance is the best way to view their stutter.

This was the Illinois State University NSA Chapter’s first meeting of the new year! Before that, we had something called “Winterfest” where all the registered student organizations set up informational tables to recruit members. We were happy to meet two new persons who stutter.

Along with welcoming members to the new year of meetings, our chapter spent the evening getting to know some fresh faces. In attendance were some of ISU’s NSA board members, our group supervisor, 2 PWS, and 2 speech language pathologists (SLP) from the community looking to learn from PWS on how to be better clinicians. For one new group member who stutters, it was her very first time talking with another PWS. One SLP brought up the theme of a “Stutter Talk” podcast, probing if SLPs should treat PWS by focusing fluent speech with either modification or avoidance reduction. In response, both PWS agreed that stutter therapy should focus more intensely on acceptance than fluency.

The subject of “nervous speech” also arose. One person shared that while stuttering is not caused by nervousness or anger, the element of emotion does increase the degree of the stutter. Emotional reactions of others, particularly pity, was majorly noted as unnecessary and an irritant. Another PWS shared how some peers have asked her why she sounds scared while speaking when she was not feeling scared at all; it’s just her voice and how she speaks. She then compared her brain to a computer with glitches in its speech centers, resulting in stuttered speech.

To end the meeting, both PWS shared their thoughts about their own stutters and how their way of speaking has either “blessed” or “cursed” their day-to-day lives. For one, it has been a blessing that makes him feel more memorable and more human. For the other PWS, she shared how she feels social limitations due to fear of judgement. Some peers who don’t understand her stutter spread false information about her and often talk over her. We are looking forward to the next meeting, which is on February 26th, and the topic will be the “stuttering mindset.”

Date: November 13, 2017

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Fairchild Hall ISU

Number of People in Attendance: 11 (4 ISU-NSA Members, 3 PWS, 2 family members, and 1 SLP for CWS)

To begin our meeting, the welcoming words were read aloud by the leader of our meeting. The leader then had everyone introduce themselves to the group and as an ice breaker everyone shared where they would travel to if they could go anywhere.

We had 3 PWS, 2 family members, and an SLP of the CWS along with 4 members of NSA in attendance. Of the three PWS, one was a college student, one was a second grader, and one was the father of the second grader. The father does not currently stutter, but was supporting his daughter by sharing his past experiences with the group. The mother of the CWS was also in attendance, who believes she stuttered in her childhood as well. The group discussed their first memories of stuttering in their life and how it has affected them, especially comfortable and uncomfortable situations. Acceptance was another big topic of discussion for the night. The PWS had a varying level of acceptance comparatively, but all agreed that acceptance is key for PWS to feel confidant to speak. A great example of this was shown through a video we watched about George Springer, the world series MVP who has a stutter. The CWS in attendance presented a poster she made for her classmates to understand what stuttering is, in hopes to decrease bullying. The child’s family stated that coming to the NSA meetings and learning more about stuttering and acceptance has helped them better understand and spread stuttering awareness.

The closing words were read allowed to close the meeting. The next support group meeting will be on Monday, January 29, 2018 in Fairchild Hall room 315 from 7:00-8:30 pm.

Date: October 9, 2017

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Fairchild Hall Rm. 315, Illinois State University

Number of People in Attendance: 9 (4 ISU-NSA Members, 2 PWS, 3 Community Members)

 

This was the second meeting of the semester for the Illinois State University NSA Chapter. To begin our meeting, the welcoming words were read aloud by the leaders of our meeting.

 

Our co-chapter leader, Jean Sawyer, recently gave a talk about stuttering to a local group of speech-language pathologists.  She handed out information about the NSA.  It was exciting to see a speech-language pathologist who was at Jean’s talk attend the meeting with a mother and her 2nd grade daughter who stutters.  We were glad to see the outreach worked.

 

A general theme of our group discussion was to be better listeners. The group leader opened the meeting with a video by Andrew Lynch, an internet celebrity with a “stutter,” although we discovered in discussion that he actually has an acquired neurological voice impairment resulting in his “stuttered” speech. One PWS and ISU’s SLP supervisor described how the difference between his impairment and how a stutter can be distinguished by an experienced ear. In the end, we all agreed that Lynch’s point was valid: be a better listener.

 

We had a new member at this meeting and it was her first time meeting another PWS! She described stuttering as feeling overexcited to the point where her mouth can’t keep up with her words. She is in grade school, and her and her SLP are making a poster to hang up at her school for stuttering awareness this month. At this age, most children don’t understand what a stutter is, and they may say some hurtful things. Her teacher suggested the best way to resolve this is to promote empathetic listeners by educating her classmates about the myths of stuttering. She described ways she found support from friends and family, mom’s optimism about early intervention, and she shared her ways of coping by thinking to “pause and rewind” then “push though it”. We then shared some other ways that PWS can react to or cope with their stutter, including techniques that have been used to relieve or suppress stuttered speech.

 

The group leader conducted a “fact or myth” child-oriented game of how to respectfully speak with PWS, common misperceptions, stuttering facts, and the structures of speech mechanism. This mechanism was described as a “speech machine team,” and the point was made that it’s hard for all the members of the team to work together perfectly at all times.

 

We then watched a scene from Disney’s Zootopia in which a sloth is continuously having his speech cut off and his sentences finished by rabbit. We discussed how uncomfortable it can be for others to finish sentences for PWS, and one of our attendees expressed that “finishing sentences is situational. It’s awful when they say the wrong word.” We all agreed that this can make for an awkward situation and that patience is key in these situations. Our meeting ended with some thoughtful quotes about listening and being heard, supplied by the group leader.

 

The next meeting will be held on Monday, November 13th from 7:00-8:30 pm in Fairchild Hall room 315.

 

 

 

Date: September 11, 2017

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Fairchild Hall ISU

Number of People in Attendance: 5 (4 ISU-NSA Members, 1 PWS)

This was the first meeting of the semester for the Illinois State University NSA Chapter. A few weeks before the support group meeting, our student members advertised the NSA on our campus in an event called “Festival ISU,” in which about 400 student groups had booths to inform the campus about their group. About 30 students signed up as interested in the NSA, but none indicated that they were persons who stutter

To begin our meeting, the welcoming words were read aloud by the leader of our meeting.

To start the meeting off, the leader had everyone introduce themselves and say a little about themselves to get to know one another better. We discussed our summers as well as this current school year. The leader brought up the fact that in one of the popular movies out right now, It, has the main character as a person with a stutter. Although many of us agreed it seemed too scary to watch, it would be interesting to watch the movie solely to see the impact of stuttering in the movie. It was great to see that a good character in the movie had a stutter; we agreed it was a nice change to see that positivity and would be beneficial to society to be more open and accepting to those with a stutter.

The conversation then switched to how comfortable the PWS is with his stutter and if he knows anyone else with a stutter. This person had never met another person who stutters before joining our NSA group last year, actually when we advertised at Festival ISU. When asked how he felt about his stutter and how it affects his life, he went on to explain how it does not affect him; he stays confident no matter what. Our leader asked if the PWS ever uses any techniques or avoidances while speaking to “stop” the stutter, the PWS explained how he does not do anything and doesn’t worry about it. He has not had any bad experiences with listeners not being respectful to him, which is fantastic to hear that so many people are accepting and patient.

To end the meeting, the closing words were read aloud by the leader of the meeting.

The next support group meeting will be on Monday, October 9th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Fairchild Hall at Illinois State University.

Date: April 24, 2017

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Rachel Cooper 207, ISU

Number of People in Attendance: 4 (3 ISU-NSA Members, 1 PWS)

 

This was the eighth meeting of the school year for the Illinois State University NSA Chapter. To begin our meeting, the welcoming words were read aloud by the leader of our meeting.

 

The leader of the meeting discussed how members of the chapter talked to students about their experiences with having a stutter. The group agreed that talking with others who are unfamiliar with stuttering, as well as stuttering in front of unfamiliar faces, is a great way to spread awareness. The group felt that there is a difference between reading about stuttering versus physically talking to a person who stutters.

 

On April 17th, two PWS talked in front of a group of SLP students at our NSA club meeting. The leader posed a question about that meeting: were there any questions that students asked that surprised you? Members felt that there were no questions asked by students that surprised them, but then discussed how being apart of the NSA can allow those who are pursing a degree in speech-language pathology to become better clinicians. Members of the group discussed how innervating real world situations into therapy could be very beneficial for a person who stutters.

 

The leader then posed another question: are there are things that you wish you had said when discussing your stutter to the students? The group discussed that in many situations, it is easy to think of things that could have been said that were not. This lead the group to discuss support systems that people have while at home and at college.  Members discussed that if they need additional support, they will often go online and read forums from others who stutter. Some members found that when they feel they are having a “bad day” with their stutter, they find it beneficial to tell others “today my stuttering is bad.”  It was also discussed that it is okay to have a “bad day” with stuttering and it is important to remind each other that there is support available.

 

The group began to discuss plans for the summer and things that the group is excited for. This allowed the group to reminisce about our favorite memories of the NSA from this year. Members discussed how the NSA allowed them to meet other people who stutter, which was very beneficial for them.  It was discussed how attending support group meetings, fundraising for the NSA, and hearing others experiences with stuttering were some of the group’s favorite memories.

 

To end the meeting, the closing words were read aloud by the leaders of the meeting. The next support group meeting will be held next school year from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Rachel Cooper Hall at Illinois State University.

 

 

Date: February 27, 2017

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Rachel Cooper 207, ISU

Number of People in Attendance:  6 (4 ISU-NSA Members, 2 PWS)

 

This was the sixth meeting of the Illinois State University NSA Chapter. To begin our meeting, the welcoming words were read aloud by the leaders of our meeting.

 

The leaders of the meeting begin with discussing fluency techniques and which techniques the group finds particularly helpful. Things such as meditating, speaking with our hands, and trying to reduce anxiety were all topics discussed. The group discussed how stuttering can be physical as well as psychological. They talked about how new settings or even lack of sleep can influence the severity of our stutter.

 

The leaders of the meeting then posed a question: how do you feel about other people anticipating what you are trying to say? The group agreed that sometimes this situation can be frustrating and other times it can make continuing the conversation easier. The group talked about how stutter affects our communication with other people such as talking on the phone, talking via computer (Skype or Facetime), or even finding a job.

 

The group then moved on to talking about their first experiences attending an NSA meeting. Some members felt that it was hard to take that first step to attend a support group meeting. The group talked about spreading more awareness to the community and the Illinois State University community. Some members had never met another person who stutters until find the NSA.

 

Then group then talked about “hiding” a stutter and avoiding situations. Some group members talked about avoiding phone calls, ordering food, and even introducing yourself in order to “hide” their stutter. The group talked about how stutter can “get in your head” and how it can really affect your life. The leaders then talked about how we feel other people perceive those who stutter. The Group discussed how they fear other people believe that a person who stutters is not as intelligent as a person who doesn’t stutter. Some members discussed how a huge part of therapy is accepting your stuttering and facing situations that you were once avoiding. Some members discussed how becoming a college student allowed them to become more accepting of their stutter.  The group discussed how using fluency techniques are sometimes hard to use in real life conversation. The group then discussed how stuttering is different for every person who stutters. Some members feel that stuttering can even be different from day to day for a person.

 

The group then discussed a podcast from Stutter talk discussing relationship. The podcast talked about how stuttering influenced a persons dating life. Some people on the podcast described that their stutter helped them find people worth dating.  The group members talked about how their dating life has been influence by stuttering.

 

To end the meeting, the closing words were read aloud by the leaders of the meeting. The next support group meeting will be on Monday, March 27th from 7:00-8:30p.m. in Rachel Cooper Hall at Illinois State University.

Date: January 23, 2017

Time: 6:30-7:30PM

Location: Avanti’s Restaurant

Number of People in Attendance 19 (16 ISU-NSA Members, 3 PWS)

This was the first support group meeting of the semester for the Illinois State University NSA Chapter. We welcomed new members to our organization. This meeting allowed members to get to know each other on a more personal level. We introduced new transfer students to the RSO this semester. This opportunity allows us to discuss last semester activities and provide information for the upcoming semester.

Date: October 10, 2016

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Rachel Cooper 207, ISU

Number of People in Attendance: 10 (7 ISU-NSA Members, 3 PWS)

This was the second meeting of the Illinois State University NSA Chapter. To begin our meeting, the welcoming words were read aloud by the leaders of our meeting.

The leaders of the meeting begin with an opening activity of Pictionary Charades to get the group acquainted with one another. After the opening activity the group leaders begin discussion by posing the question: what is your definition of normal? The group agreed that not being normal is often associated with negative connotations. They believed that our differences are the things that make us unique. The media can influence what we may think is normal but we should embrace the things that make us different.

The leaders of the meeting then posed another question: What don’t you like about the way that you communicate? The group agreed that everyone has disfluencies in their speech. The group has mixed experiences about the things that they do not like about the way that they communicate. Some members thought that talking to new people can be a challenge. Stumbling over words and trying to be fluent can cause stress and anxiety especially when talking to new people.

The group then began to discuss how stuttering can cause a negative impact on the persons self-concept. The group discussed the emotional and psychological impact of stuttering and how sometimes stutter can cause an internal conflict. The group discussed that challenge of knowing what you want to say but not being able to say it as the major internal conflict. This, then lead the group to discuss techniques that they have used to help increase their fluency. The group discussed how sometimes it is hard to remember techniques in social situations. They group also agreed that some days are harder than others- stuttering can be physically and mentally exhausting.

The group leaders then read an article aloud by a person who stutters. The article discussed stuttering pride and what it means to have stuttering pride. There is still a lot that needs to be uncovered about stuttering. The author suggests that people with a stutter should spread awareness of stuttering and should be proud of who they are. The group discussed the idea of what stuttering pride was. They agreed that sometimes stuttering can be negatively portrayed in the media- either negatively or as a joking matter.

For a closing activity, the group participated in some scenarios. The scenario discussed was: how would you act if you were a listener to a person who stutters? The group question what is would be like to be perfectly fluent but also recognized that their stutter made them who they are today.

To end the meeting, the closing words were read aloud by the leaders of the meeting. The next support group meeting will be on Monday, November 14th from 7:00-8:30p.m. in Rachel Cooper Hall at Illinois State University.

Date: September 12, 2016

Time: 7PM-8:30PM

Location: 207 Rachel Cooper, ISU

Number of People in Attendance 7 (5 ISU-NSA Members, 2 PWS)

 

This was the first meeting of the Illinois State University NSA Chapter. The National Stuttering Association reached out to the community at the 2016 Festival of ISU on September 3rd. Because of this outreach, the organization gained a new member. The meeting began with the leaders reading the welcoming words. Each attendee introduced themselves, what brought them to NSA, and something they over the summer. The topic of the meeting was Stuttering in Everyday Life.

Following the introductions, the leaders of the meeting opened the floor to discuss experiences while stuttering, the effects stuttering plays on the individual’s lives, where the individual’s find they stutter the most, and what they wished others were aware of related to stuttering. This eventually led in to further discussion about random topics about the everyday life of a stutterer.

The meeting continued with questions that were stimulated off of the introduction questions. Some topics that were discussed included: preferred therapy techniques with their Speech-Language Pathologists, whether or not a person should continue giving eye contact with someone during their blocks, words of advice for those who do not stutter when speaking to someone who does stutter, what obstacles come when going to new school for a person who stutters, how people react their stutter in their occupation, their lifetime goals, anxiety and stuttering, technologies influence on stuttering, and the onset of stuttering in each individuals life.

A quote from Madeline Wahl saying, “Fluency in speech is something most have the luxury of taking for granted. While living with a stutter, you worry about what to order in a restaurant, how to give a presentation, or even how to say ‘hello’ to a friend. Like an architect designing a building, a stutterer carefully crafts each word and sentence. Sometimes the result is a masterpiece, structurally sound with ornate rooms and gleaming windows. Other times it crashes to a ground,” was included at the end of the presentation. Each group member was encouraged to express how they can relate and talk about any experiences that remind them of this quote. The group decided on a topic for the October meeting and concluded with closing words.

 

 

 

 

Date:  December 2, 2015

Time: 7PM

Location:  207 Rachel Cooper, ISU

Number of People in Attendance:  8 (7 ISU-NSA Members, 1 PWS)

 

To begin our meeting, the welcoming words were read aloud by the leaders of the meeting. Next, all of the participants took a notecard to draw a few of their favorite things, such as their favorite movie. They then shared these with the group. To continue, the group watched a video that follows a girl that stutters. She describes her experiences while stuttering and shares how her stuttering has affected her. She states that her stuttering is inconsistent (on and off) and tells how she is so willing and able to accept herself and not let stuttering define her as a person. The group discusses this video and comes to the conclusion that stuttering is actually about the listener, not about the person who stutters. The leaders of the meeting posed the question, “how does stuttering affect people’s lives?” The member that stutters discussed her own experiences and shared that she tries her best to hide the fact that she stutters. The group discusses whether stuttering affects someone from having a lot to say. The group then discusses acceptance of stuttering.

Next, the group watched another video where many people wrote three words on a piece of paper defining how they feel about stuttering. The group discusses their thoughts on the video and observations. One important observation made was the difference in perception between people in the video. Some words were very positive and others negative and harsh. The group then engages in a similar activity where each participant chooses three words, or a phrase, to describe their feelings toward stuttering. The group then shares their words.

Following, the group plays a game called Telephone Pictionary. Each person wrote a phrase on a piece of paper and passed it to the person on their right. That person then drew a picture of the given phrase. The next person interpreted this picture then write down what phrase they thought this represented. This continued until each member participated with each phrase. Afterwards, each person shared their chain of phrases and pictures.

Lastly, the group brainstormed a theme for the chapter. The consensus was to incorporate the idea of acceptance into every meeting. It was also decided to talk about what general people don’t know and need to be aware of when it comes to handling disabilities in the upcoming meetings. To end the meeting, the closing words were read aloud by the leaders and it was announced that January 13th is next NSA meeting. The group hopes to gain a higher attendance for the following meetings.

Date:  November 9, 2015

Time: 7PM

Location:  207 Rachel Cooper, ISU

Number of People in Attendance:  9 (6 ISU-NSA Members, 3 PWS)

This was the third meeting of the Illinois State University NSA Chapter.  To begin our meeting, the welcoming words were read aloud by the leaders of our meeting.  Next, each attendee stated who they were, why they were in attendance and where they have seen a prevalence of stuttering in the media.

Following the introductions, the group talked about a recent speaker that they had from the NSA.  The main points, interesting information and any advice that was given was discussed.  The group then shared any similarities that they had with the speaker.

This meeting focused mainly on stuttering prevalence in the media.  A clip was played from Harry Potter where a character’s stutter was actually a pseudo-stutter.  The group discussed how they felt that this movie gave stuttering a bad name because the character used stuttering as a cover-up and was able to snap right out of it.  Stuttering should not be taken so lightly and it is an actual road bump that people deal with in day to day life.  Next, the King’s Speech was discussed.  The group considered how they would feel in his situation and their thoughts on stuttering in such a public setting.  The view on stuttering at the time that the movie is set in is much different than the current view.  Even if you stutter or “stammer,” you are still a person.  Lastly, the group discussed the movie Angriest Man in Brooklyn.  The movie was compared to a real life situation.  Would people normally react to a person who stutters in the same manner even though the movie is a bit more dramatic?  A question was posed: “What are some ways to interact in public with people who stutter?”  The group discussed their own experience with people reacting to stuttering.  Stories were shared about how they overcame any hardships that they had faced in their personal lives.

Following, the group plays a game called Telephone Pictionary.  Each person wrote a phrase on a piece of paper and passed it to the person on their right.  That person then drew a picture of the given phrase.  The next person interpreted this picture then write down what phrase they thought this represented.  This continued until each member participated with each phrase.  Afterwards, each person shared their chain of phrases and pictures.

Lastly, the group discusses the overall way that media portrays and affects the view of stuttering.  Ways to improve this view and raise awareness was also talked about.  Some members suggested that not taking it too far and keeping it light is the best way to handle any negative portrayals of stuttering.  To end the meeting, the closing words were read aloud by the leaders.

Date:  November 4, 2014

Time: 7PM

Location:  207 Rachel Cooper, ISU

Number of People in Attendance:  9 (6 ISU-NSA Members, 3 PWS)
The welcoming words were read aloud by the co-chapter leader. As a way of getting to know one another, and form a comfortable environment everyone in attendance paired up with another individual to learn a little more about them and be able to introduce them to the larger group. The first activity of the night was watching a Ted Talk titled “Why I live in moral dread of public speaking”. After the video was played, the leaders of this session posed discussion questions for the entire group to discuss.
In regards to stuttering, a few members in the group explained their worst situation or experience with it. An attendee suggested another video the group should watch called “Honest Speech” by Erin Schick. The group all agreed that the poetry slam video the attendee mentioned had a very powerful message. A brief discussion about the video then occurred within the group. Next, the group leaders posed another question, “what was a time where your stuttering was embarrassing or funny”? As a few members explained situations in which they felt silly because of their disfluency in speech it allowed everyone to realize they are not the only ones who have felt that way before. It was wonderful to hear that one attendee could not find any situation in which she stuttered funny. Our last activity for the night was charades. The attendees separated into two groups of three and four and had to act out for one another, the theme being animals.
Before the meeting came to a close an attendee mentioned the idea that each meeting be based around a theme. In response to this idea, another attendee suggested the topic for the meeting be acceptance. The whole group came to a mutual consensus that this would be a great theme for our next meeting and will be directing our attention on acceptance in our December meeting. We ended our session with the closing words read aloud by the co-chapter leader.
We are so pleased that our first group session went so well and are hoping for an even higher turnout at the next meeting on December 2nd, 2014. This was a great start to our chapter here at Illinois State University and we are all excited to see what else is in store!

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