Last Monday night, we said good-bye to spring and welcomed in summer with some of New York City’s finest. There were 22 of us in total: 20 People Who Stutter, including three newcomers (welcome!) and two SLP graduate students. Our group split into two, after which we engaged in stimulating and inspiring conversation. Here is some of what we discussed:
We spoke about the pros and cons of advertising, letting people know that you stutter. One member shared that he was on the fence about advertising during an upcoming presentation that had the potential to land him a job because he was concerned that he would be hired out of pity rather than being recognized for his hard work and accomplishments. This led to a great conversation about the courage it takes to advertise, and how in most cases, advertising is looked at as a strength, not as a weakness.
Getting Out of Our heads
This segued to another very prevalent topic, how we often worry too much about what other people may be thinking about us when we stutter. We had a good laugh when one member shared that his longtime friend had no idea that he stuttered, despite him thinking that his stutter was the most obvious thing in the world. It confirmed for us that most of the time other people are wrapped up in their own thoughts and worries, and that we can let go of the self-imposed pressure to speak fluently.
Did someone mention the subway challenge? Oh yes they did! When talking about overcoming fears and challenging ourselves to grow, a member shared how he broke through barriers by advertising his stuttering on the subway to group of complete strangers. He did this exercise while participating in the American Institute for Stuttering’s summer intensive program, and absolutely loved it. He was so brave he even did it twice! This got us talking about the times we’ve pushed ourselves and how facing challenges gives us that “on top of the world” feeling that only comes from taking risks and facing our fears.
The idea of authenticity came up, and what that meant to us. For some people that meant stuttering openly. For other people that meant sometimes being perceived as being ‘nice’, a characteristic a couple of members agreed to be a weak compliment when the depths of our personality are misunderstood by some. One member discussed the importance of examining our own self, and what authenticity means beyond stuttering openly or not. Are people who stutter usually the empathic type? Are we generally sensitive? These were some of the questions raised, which followed with more conversation and lots of food for thought.
Our Chapter and Beyond
We discussed, as People Who Stutter, what we want in our support groups, and what we want in our organization as a whole. One member brought up the recent StutterTalk episode, The Future of the National Stuttering Association with Dr. Gerald Maguire (Ep. 578) , with the National Stuttering Associations’ new Chairman, which is definitely worth a listen. With the idea of our organization focusing on medical research brought up, one member said that he would definitely take the pill if given the opportunity. Other members agreed that what we are doing now, coming together and sharing ideas that can lead to important actions and changes for our community as a whole, is what was important to them. If you are reading this recap, share your thoughts with us! We would love to hear them.
Upcoming NSA Conference
If you want to meet close to 1000 people who stutter and have an experience of a lifetime, join the NSA’s Annual conference in Atlanta, GA this July 4rth weekend. Registration is still open. Click here to find out more.
NYC Initiative: Educating Human Resources
In the spirit of educating the public and ensuring equal rights for people who stutter, a member at the Brooklyn chapter brought up the idea of approaching the mayor’s office with a plan to educate human resources departments in New York City about stuttering. Are you interested in being part of this initiative? If so, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll keep you informed of what to expect next!
Let’s get involved
We are always looking for new ways to make our chapter better, spread stuttering awareness, and empower people who stutter. Please share with us if you have an idea or initiative that you think could make a difference in our community. Email us at email@example.com or stop in to our next meeting, July 18th.