Fall 2017 Recap

Fall 2017 Recap

These past few months were filled with exciting new initiatives and fun events! We welcomed in fall with some serious stuttering style starting with our ISAD day of awareness, followed by our SAP mock interview and networking event, and our annual speech-language pathologist education meeting. Check out our whirlwind of goodness below.

October Recap

We had over 30 individual present at our meeting. It was night filled with curiosity, positivity and support. Our conversational topics ranged from what kept us going as children, to the ways we currently give back to our community, to the ‘stages of change’ (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983) we experience as we travel on our stuttering journey. It was a great night that ended with us heading to Juniper bar for some shared drinks and more socialization.

ISAD 2017- International Stuttering Awareness Day

Twenty of us headed to Astoria Park on October 22nd 2017 for a day of awareness and education. We had posters, pamphlets, banners, and lots of spirit and spunk! We got to meet people who never heard about stuttering, others who had friends or family who stuttered, and people who stuttered themselves. We dispelled myths, shared knowledge, and handed out lots of resources. Our highlight was when a teacher shared that he was a person who stuttered and was eager to share stuttering resources with his students when he went to work the next day.

SAP Mock Interview and Networking Event

Our second-ever mock interviewing and networking event was a real hit! Here’s Stavro’s recap of the night:
“Our Manhattan chapter had a stuttering awareness and mock interview event at SAP, one of the largest tech companies in the world, in Lower Manhattan. The group of NSA chapter members and SAP employees started the evening by mingling a bit, and we learned about SAP as a company. Two of us co-leader then facilitated a conversation about communication (along with the COO of the company) and then did some stuttering Q&A and talked about the mission of the NSA.

For the second portion of the evening, we split off for some mock interviews, with mutual feedback exchanged between SAP participants and people who stutter. NSA chapter members who attended enjoyed educating people about stuttering in a professional space (several of the SAP employees expressed knowing very little about stuttering) and SAP employees shared some helpful interviewing tips. It was a constructive night for all participants. We look forward to more similar events in the coming months.”

November SLP Meeting Recap

We continued our tradition we started last year of having a meeting specifically designed for Speech Language-Pathologists (SLP’s) and graduate students who are interested in learning more about stuttering. It was an engaging night of learning and sharing with questions and insights from SLP’s, graduate students and people who stutter. Different perspectives were given on the understanding and experience of voluntary stuttering, the role stuttering support groups play in the lives of people who stutter, and what people who stutter want current and future SLP’s to know. Many SLP’s expressed a desire to better understand stuttering and were so grateful to our chapter for providing the opportunity to learn and grow. A special thank you to Chani Markel who helped co-facilitate the night and kept things running smoothly.

November (regular) Recap

With so much happening in the weeks leading to this meeting, our regular meeting was a breath of fresh air! It was good to unite with our cohesive group and reconnect in our natural setting. The one theme that stood out from the night was the theme of belonging. When one of our chapter leaders shared how she loves being part of our ‘tribe’ the word stuck like glue. We all agreed that there is something so special about our community, our family, or ‘stamily’, and now stuttering tribe! If you are reading this and haven’t joined us yet, this is a personal invitation to come see what it’s all about. Hard to put in words but so easily understood in person-come and join us! You won’t be disappointed.

Holiday Party

It’s that time of year again! Join us this Saturday night for our annual holiday celebration. Bring you loved ones and friends. The more the merrier! We’ll be meeting at Juniper Bar 237 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001 at 8:00 pm.

Next Meeting

We’ll be meeting on Monday, December 18th at 7:30 pm at our usual time and place
• 7:30pm–9:00pm
• Please arrive a couple min earlier with photo ID
• 520 Eighth Ave (between 36th and 37th Streets)
• A.R.T./New York
• Third Floor, Studio B

Do you want to help people who stutter and participate in science?

Researchers at NYU and Yale are conducting a joint research project which examines the brains of people who stutter during social interaction. We are seeking adults who stutter for two experiments. Both experiments use functional near-infrared spectroscopy to monitor changes in brain activity during a series of simple tasks (e.g., reading aloud, talking to the researcher). The experiments are safe and non-invasive, and involve wearing a stretchy cap with light emitters and sensors. Experiment 1 will take place at NYU and Experiment 2 will take place at Yale. Both experiments will last approximately 60 minutes.

Participants will be compensated $40 for Experiment 1 and up to $100 for Experiment 2. Additionally, subjects will be reimbursed for train travel to/from Yale University, if applicable. You can participate in one or both experiments.

If you are interested in participating in either study, please contact Dr. Eric S. Jackson at eric.s.jackson@nyu.edu .

Thank you for your consideration!

June Recap

June Recap

The intense rain and flash flood warnings didn’t keep 16 determined folks from coming to our meeting on Monday night. We had a fair share of wet socks, squeaky sneakers and messy hair, which made for good jokes and lots of laughter. We split into 3 groups for connecting conversation and heartfelt talk. Here’s a glimpse into some of our conversations:

A Safe Place
One person shared how he appreciates the safe space the NSA meetings provide because it gives him opportunities to share his innermost thoughts and feelings about stuttering. This opened a conversation about why people come back month after month despite doing well at work, socially and otherwise. Most agreed it is refreshing to come to a place where others “get it”; a place where they feel free to be themselves, vent frustrations, share struggles and celebrate victories. We talked about how we always feel replenished when leaving the meeting and how it’s a highlight of our month.

Stuttering, Minorities and Disabilities
The topic of kinship and relating to minority populations and individuals with disabilities had the room abuzz with conversation. One member said he felt a deep connection to people who are deaf since they too struggle with communication. Another member shared how stuttering opened his connection to minority populations, whom he now represents at work. Members expressed gratitude for having opportunities to connect with wonderful people they otherwise would not relate to, if not for their stutter.

Shaping Personality
“ Does stuttering shape one’s personality?” This question arose when someone shared how he struggles to be assertive and believes it is because of his stutter. Some members shared this sentiment while others said stuttering pushed them to become more assertive, bold, and even daring. However, even those who felt empowered by their stuttering agreed that stuttering strongly impacts one’s personality and can shape them for better or worse.

Stuttering and Relationships
We talked about how stuttering and relationships can be tricky. Some people shared that their friends and families didn’t understand them and put them in uncomfortable positions (i.e. handing them the phone to talk.) Others shared that, although not innate to understanding the struggle, their spouses or close friends put in an effort to empathize and understand them. This led to a great conversation about communication, intentionality and the willingness to be vulnerable. It reminded us of how letting our loved one’s know how to respond to our stuttering can prove to be incredibly helpful and liberating.

Keeping it Simple
We talked about the complexities of stuttering and ways to keep it simple. Complexities included stuttering being something we cannot hide, stuttering being an isolating experience, and being misunderstood by people who don’t know what stuttering is. Things like transparency, not taking things personally, and choosing to educate people about stuttering were discussed as ways to simplify these complexities. This led to several members sharing how when they took the opportunity to share with others about their stuttering, it often turned out to be a positive experience for all parties involved.

Join us for our next meeting this Monday, July 17th from 7:30-9:00 at A.R.T./New York, Third floor, Studio B. Because of the location policy, please arrive a couple minutes early with a photo I.D.

We hope to see you there!

 

February Recap

February Recap

We met on Monday night for our last meeting at Aspire Center with a mixture of sadness and great appreciation. We spent the first few minutes expressing gratitude to Diane Brown, a true friend and wonderful SLP at Aspire who made it all possible, and then shifted to our regular sharing. With a nice turnout of 23 individuals, including 2 first timers and 5 SLP’s, we broke up into 3 groups for individualized sharing. Here is some of what we discussed:

Techniques Under Fire

We spoke about how techniques work in the therapy room but often don’t transfer to real life. Members shared how frustrating this experience can be and how it can increase feelings of worthlessness and self-blame. This led to a conversation about negative and positive therapy experiences, as well as the benefits of attending support groups.

The Positive Side of Stuttering

This topic was brought up when one member said he would not take a magic pill to cure his stutter. He agreed that living with a stutter is difficult, but appreciated how it built his character. This sparked a great talk about the positive outcomes that resulted from stuttering including building real connections, increasing empathy, and increasing confidence.

Advertise Your Stutter?

The idea of advertising was discussed, including the benefits of using it even when we are speaking fluently. This opened the conversation about how advertising may initially make you feel uncomfortable, however the long-term benefits include feeling comfortable across many different contexts, which is invaluable.

Complex Emotions

Members discussed the complex feelings that accompany stuttering, specifically when speaking publicly. Two individuals who taught classes on the graduate level shared the ups and downs of the experience. This led to a great conversation about how emotions impact how we feel about ourselves, and impact our perception of what we think others think about us (Phew!)

Eye Contact

We discussed whether maintaining eye contact helps build an emotional connection with our listeners when speaking. Most agreed. However, one member said he doesn’t like maintaining eye contact because then he notices when the speaker looks away. Someone else said that he used to like it when people looked away. This highlights how our own interpretation of what other people mean when they interact with us can be important.

Stuttering in Different Contexts

We compared notes about stuttering in different contexts and the difficulties that arise accordingly. We touched on the difficulties of maintaining sufficient oxygen when stuttering while walking, and the difficulties that arise while trying to eat gracefully and talk. We talked about whether we stutter when we talk to our pets, ourselves and when making an audio recording. The way we speak differently under different circumstances is very interesting indeed.

Till next month friends,

The Midtown Co-Leaders

 

 

November Recap

November Recap

Following our successful first meeting of the month, we held our second meeting last Monday night. It was a small but vibrant crowd with 18 people in attendance, including 2 SLP’s and 2 newcomers. We split into two groups for more personalized conversation. Here is some of what we discussed:

Job Interviews

The important and relevant topic of job interviews was brought up and discussed. Members shared their stresses and anxieties related to interviews, and especially how stuttering played a role in increasing those anxieties.  Sympathies first, then ideas were exchanged on ways to navigate the interview process. Members supported one another with ideas such as advertising, working on positive self-image, and challenging ones self, despite the outcome.

Family Shame

Several members talked about how, especially when they were younger, their parents misunderstood stuttering and treated them poorly because of it. They shared how their families looked at stuttering with shame and struggled to accept them because of their stutter. Members agreed that most of the time parents and family members were uneducated about the disorder, and though hurt, were willing to move past that because they understood the vast gap between the knowledge they had and the knowledge about what stuttering actually is.

Taking the Reigns back

The topic of not letting stuttering take control of your life came up when one member said he didn’t want to let stuttering control his decisions anymore. A wise and caring member reflected on the times he let stuttering hold him back, and how in recent years he’s been much happier because he made choices to do what he wanted, despite his stutter. This opened up a conversation about other times group members made choices to do what they wanted regardless of their stutter, and how doing so often left them empowered and ready to tackle new hurdles.

The Acceptance Continuum

The question about fully accepting ones’ stuttering was asked by a curious and inquisitive member who attended our meeting for the first time. This opened up an insightful and heartfelt conversation of what acceptance truly is. Members discussed how acceptance is more of a journey than a destination, often something that moves along a continuum; something that it is not measured by physical outcomes, but rather by inner peace and joy.

 

Announcements

Holiday Party: We will be having our annual holiday party on Saturday night, December 10th, at Juniper Bar from 8:00-11:00. Bring along your holiday spirit and get ready to have some fun!

Brooklyn Group: The next Brooklyn chapter meeting will be on Monday, December 12th. Check out their site here for more information.

Getting Involved: We are always looking for new ways to expand our chapter. If you have an idea that you’d like to share, or would like to get involved, please email us at nsamidtown@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

November (SLP Meeting) Recap

November (SLP Meeting) Recap

After several months of increased interest from SLP’s (Speech-Language Pathologists) and SLP’s in training to join our meetings, we held our first-ever second meeting of the month. The meeting was geared towards opening the dialogue between professionals in the field and People Who Stutter. This included asking and answering important questions, exchanging stories and ideas, and sharing resources. There was a high turnout, with 30 people in attendance, including 15 professionals, and 15 People Who Stutter.

Two outstanding chapter members, Chani Markel and Hector Perez, facilitated the meeting. They started the night by sharing their stories, after which they handed out index cards for the SLP’s to ask questions to the people in the group who stuttered. The questions included finding out about the effectiveness of stuttering therapy, the hereditary components of stuttering, the role of acceptance in stuttering, and the role the NSA plays in a Person Who Stutters life. Each question was followed by an interactive and engaging conversation, during which new and old thoughts, sentiments, and ideas were shared.

The topic of education and advocacy came up several times throughout the night, and the importance of them was discussed from the perspective of the PWS’s and the SLP. We especially talked about the tremendous opportunity SLP’s have to educate the public and advocate for PWS. We shared the websites of support organizations, including the National Stuttering Association, FRIENDS: National Association for Young People Who Stutter, and SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young. Other resources, such as the Stuttertalk podcast, stuttering therapy resources, and The Stuttering Foundation’s website were shared as well. 

The meeting ended in high spirits, with lots of gratitude and eager anticipation for more meetings to come.  Several people headed over to Juniper’s to share a few more good laughs and connecting moments before returning to the hustle and bustle of the week ahead.

We are always looking for new ways to expand our horizons as a chapter. If you have any ideas that could move our chapter forward, please reach out to us and share at midtownstutters@gmail.com. We are excited to hear them!