We hope to see you all tonight, Monday, April 16th, for our April Meeting. And for those of you who didn’t make it out last month, here is a recap of our meeting.
We had a turnout of about 30 of us, and as usual, we split into 3 smaller groups to discuss what was on our mind.
One first-timer started out the night by sharing that he recently has had to do a lot public speaking at work. It’s become something habitual and he is able to stutter and get through the presentation without the shame and anxiety that we can so often feel when stuttering. The same first-timer also shared that with all this public speaking, he has become more open and vulnerable at work. Some of us can probably relate to this.
Another topic that was brought up was how we verbalize our experiences. The way we talk about our stuttering story can often be so telling to who we are and where we are in our journey. It is so interesting to look back into different times of our life and compare how we talked about stuttering then, to how we talk about stuttering now.
The talk about our stuttering journey then brought us to discuss the balance of pushing ourselves vs. being self-passionate to ourselves. We ended the group talking about this feeling of camaraderie and comfort we feel when we are around other people who stutter. It really is an unexplainable connection that we all have with one another. But the true task that many of us face is how do we feel this kind of psychological safety in a room full of people who don’t stutter.
Another group talked about how stuttering can sometimes become the sole focus..to a fault. For example, one person shared how he went on a job interview and was so worried about not stuttering and being fluent that he totally forgot to plan and prepare for the interview. He didn’t get the job. He was laughing because now in retrospect, but his point was that stuttering can overtake everything if you let it.
In one of the groups, we decided to do some job interview role-playing. We experimented with how it felt to advertise to our interviewer, and how it felt to not advertise. As many of you know, the job interview is a topic that comes up almost every month, and taking the opportunity to experiment with this can be an effective way for some of our attendees to experiment with the different feelings we may encounter during our job hunt.
Women’s Group Recap:
A big thank you to all who attended our inaugural women’s group on Monday, March 5! 12 of us sat together, ate Ruffles and discussed gender, group dynamics, stuttering and more. Couldn’t make it? Don’t worry, we hope to host it a few times a year. We also talked about what we want to see more of, one of which is discussions or events that center the different identities, ages, and experiences that make up our community in NYC. Have other ideas for dynamic events in NYC? Email us!
– Roisin, Spring, Chaya, Emma
Our very own Marc Winski will be leading an improv workshop on Sunday, April 29th.
Did your heart just pound a little by reading something that had to do with ‘acting’ or ‘improvisation?’ Have you ever seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? and thought….”Wow, this is hilarious!!”? Come for an afternoon of judgement-free exploration and improvisation. “But Marc, I’m not an actor…” NOT TO WORRY. This is for everyone! This will introduce you to the the freeing benefits of “I don’t give a damn” and the lasting effects it can have on your daily life (including stuttering)! Click here for more details.
When I Stutter: Screen Film
Screening of the award-winning documentary, WHEN I STUTTER, followed by a Q & A with the Director/Co-Writer, John Gomez and Co-Writer, Scott Palasik. WHEN I STUTTER is a documentary that reveals the humanity that exists within an often mysterious malady. Over the course of 4.5 years, 19 people shared stories about how stuttering has impacted their lives. These stories run the gamut of human emotion… Some are dark, some are funny and others are triumphant! Additionally, there are “educational vignettes” interspersed throughout the documentary to help illuminate some of the mysteries surrounding stuttering.
Tonight! Same time same place. We hope to see you. Click here for the details.
Thank you to everyone who came out last Wednesday for our February meeting. Despite it not being our regular meeting day (because of President’s Day), we still had an amazing turnout with over 25 people in attendance, including about 8 new comers and plenty of old-timers. After we read opening words and did introductions, we split up into 3 groups of about 8 people each. After the meeting, as per usual, many of us went over to Juniper, our trusty old bar that we go to after every meeting, and talked and stuttered even more. Below is a quick recap of a few things we discussed in our groups.
In one group, people shared that they didn’t like to advertise because they felt it was simply stating the obvious, that there is no point in telling people what they already know. While in another group, members felt that advertising was necessary in order to take ownership of the situation. Despite the different opinions, both groups also brought up that when we tell people we stutter, we are telling them so much more. The way we talk about it also communicates how we feel about it – and by extension how we hope the listener will respond to it. If we act like it’s okay with us, it indicates to the other person that it can be okay with them too. This can lower our own discomfort very effectively, and also theirs. When people respond poorly to advertising, it’s often because they’re picking up that we are ashamed to be advertising or to be stuttering. Usually people react well, and especially so if we feel good about ourselves when we advertise.
Regret and Fear
As people who stutter, we have experienced fear of being held back because of stuttering. And when this fear actually manifests itself, we feel regret. As shared by one group, we can be so afraid of stuttering that we opt out of a class we want to take, speak a second language, and choose specific field to work in. In retrospect, we wish we hadn’t let fear of stuttering hold us back. But when it does hold us back, it is okay too. Because as validated in one group, our experiences of stuttering are very real. There is such a psychology behind growing up and feeling like you don’t have a voice. However, a few things to always remember is that it is never too late and that you are never alone.
One topic that was brought up in every group was the importance of this stuttering community. These friendships inside can help alleviate our shame. When we respect and value other stutters, it can make it easier to respect and value ourselves. In one group, we shared how humbling our first meeting can be. To be around so many people who stutter can help us normalize stuttering in our own lives. From being a better listener to developing lifelong friendships, we can learn so much each other.
Exciting Announcement about our first Women’s Group on March 5th!
Have you ever arrived to a stuttering support group and thought, “Wow, look at all these cool people who stutter. But why are there only five women and nineteen men here?” You’re not out of your mind — the math backs you up! Out of every five adults who stutter, only one is female. On March 5th @7-9pm at ART (Manhattan meeting space) we will host a special group meeting to give women who stutter a restorative space to connect and share with one another. ALL women who stutter are welcome. Feel free to shoot us an email (email@example.com) with any questions or concerns.
- Monday, March 5 at 7-9pm
- 520 Eighth Avenue, 3rd Floor (Room D)
Next Manhattan Meeting
Our next Manhattan meeting will be back on our regular 3rd Monday of the month.
- Monday, March 19 at 7:30-9pm
- 520 Eighth Avenue, 3rd Floor
Next Brooklyn Meeting
If you are looking for additional meetings, the Brooklyn chapter meets on the 2nd Monday of every month in downtown Brooklyn.
- Monday, March 12 at 7:30-9pm
- 30 Third Avenue
Getting Involed: We value each member of our community and 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. We’d love to hear from you!
Until next month..
– Manhattan Chapter Leaders
Thank you to all who joined us last Monday, on a cold Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We had two first-timers, welcome to you both, about 25 participants in total, and all of us where PWS (people who stutter). We weren’t sure if we had enough attendees to split up into three groups, but as people kept on coming in during our introductions, we decided three groups would be just fine. Here is some, but not all, of what the groups discussed:
Stuttering and our identity
One conversation that came up had to do with a few different aspects of what stuttering means to us. For those of us heavily involved in the stuttering world professionally outside of the meetings, how do we (or can we?) draw lines around our “stuttering selves” and our “true selves”? Is part of our personality and identity tied to stuttering, while other parts of our personality and identity remain completely separate? Or is every part of ourselves united with every other part somehow? This then led to a conversation of how stuttering has shaped us. For example, some of us proposed that stuttering has built our character or made us better people. Others expressed their belief that our character is probably independent of stuttering.
Knowing when we’re going to stutter
And we talked about how our attitudes about our stuttering can affect us. Disfluency often triggers negative emotions in ourselves so quickly that we don’t recognize in the moment that they are really separate things. When stuttering leads immediately and automatically to self-criticism, stuttering is really painful. The emotions are so painful that we often avoid speaking situations altogether, but that avoidance often fuels our negative emotions. One of our first-timers brought up the question whether we can predict our own stuttering? She wishes she had less awareness so that she could speak more spontaneously because when she does feel a stuttering coming on, she finds it difficult to continue talking and saying what she wants since she knows she’s going to stutter. We then shared about how helpful advertising can be in this situation. However, whether we want to advertise or not is up to us and how it makes us feel.
When we have some distance from our emotions, and can separate our stuttering from our reaction to it, and can have some compassion for ourselves, stuttering is not as painful. On the other hand, it’s also important not to push ourselves too hard and too fast. Sometimes it might be ok to avoid a difficult situation if we don’t have the emotional energy to deal with it at the moment.
Excluding ourselves as barrier from achieving a goal
Another member brought up how he was contemplating on whether he should pursue a potential professional opportunity, which would involve quite a bit of speaking. But it seemed, at least to him, that there were one or two reasons as to why things wouldn’t pan out, as he was discussing this with the group. Many of us people who stutter have also found ourselves in this position, coming up with reasons (maybe even excuses), since the road we’ll take on pursuing a goal may be painful one at times, and maybe it is just that it is easier to stay in our comfort zone, at least for now. Another member expressed how she has similarly been in somewhat of an idle state with pursuing a different job, but recently she’s had a shift of mentalities. She expressed, if someone will prevent her from achieving a goal, it will no longer be her, but instead it will have to be someone else. There are already too many obstacles we all face in life, why act as one yourself?
Thank you again for all those who made it out. Many of us then made it out to our usual hangout spot, Juniper, right after for a drink and some catching up. Until next time.
Exciting Research Project
Do you want to help people who stutter and participate in science, and get paid for it? 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. Please view details here, and reach out Dr. Eric S. Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.
Next Brooklyn meeting
The next Brooklyn meeting will be at their regular time and place. That’s always a great group, so if you’re looking for some more support, or if you’d like to meet some new people in our community, definitely join them. More info can be found here.
February Women’s Meeting
Thursday, February 8, from 7-9pm, at our Manhattan location. Stay tuned for more details!
Next Manhattan meeting
Next meeting will not be on our regular 3rd Monday of the Month, because of President’s Day, but instead, it will be on the 3rd Wednesday, February 21. Also, for anyone who may not have noticed, as soon as you get out of the elevator door, there is a big whiteboard with info of the room that we’ll be in.
Staying in touch
If you’re interested in staying in touch with events happening in the NYC stuttering community, check out our Facebook Page here, and our Facebook Group here. We’ll have a February outing, and Facebook is the place to find out about that.
To round out the dynamic year, we had our last meeting of 2017 on Monday December 18th. With over 30 attendees and a handful of new comers, the night was filled with the spirit of resilience.
We reflected on the highs and lows of our stuttering year. Self-compassion seemed to be a common theme. Many of us shared how important it was and always will be to remind ourselves to be more self-forgiving when things don’t go as we hope. As for some New Year’s resolutions, a few members expressed that they would like to practice more patience and be more proactive in recognizing small successes in order to achieve a bigger goal.
As we brace for wintry weather, another group discussed the age-old stuttering superstition of whether we stutter more as the weather gets colder. Whether we believe that we do stutter more or we don’t stutter more, one member flipped the perspective and shared how the colder weather is simply a memento to remind us that with seasons come change. This inspired us to think about what was stagnant in our lives. Whether it is to take a step closer to attaining the dream job or being more positive in mornings, we ended the meeting feeling more connected to one another.
January Meeting Reminder – Monday, January 15
We will be meeting on the 3rd Monday of this month on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Please join us to welcome the new year and decompress with all things stuttering!
- Date – Monday, January 15
- Time – 7:30-9pm
- Location & Details – 520 Eighth Ave (between 36th and 37th Streets)
- A.R.T./New York
- Third Floor
- Please arrive a couple minutes earlier with photo ID
Social Outing This Weekend, Saturday, January 13 – Bowling!
One member of our chapter (shout out to Marvin) has graciously planned a stuttering social get together for THIS WEEKEND! Feel free to reach out with questions and stay tuned for details on our Facebook page.
- Date – Saturday, January 13
- Time – 8-11pm
- Location & Details – Gutter Bar LIC
We hope you had the happiest of holidays and we can’t wait to experience 2018 with you! As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions.
Hope to see you all soon!
Manhattan Chapter Leaders
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.
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.
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.
We’ll be meeting on Monday, December 18th at 7:30 pm at our usual time and place
• 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 email@example.com .
Thank you for your consideration!
We had an wonderful turnout on Monday night, with 28 people in attendance, including 3 newcomers and many old-timers. We warmed up quickly and got talking about stuttering, the thing most near and dear to our hearts. Thank you Tom Pascal for capturing the highlights of the night and writing this recap. We value your insights, understanding and talent that you bring to our community.
When asked if there was anything on their minds, it didn’t take long for one group’s pensive silence to melt away into a thoughtful, emotive discussion on the nuances of the meanings and effects of self-acceptance in those situations where it might matter, or cost, the most.
One member shared that he was happier and more emotionally free than he could remember, even after suffering the ultimate consequence of prejudice toward PWS in the workplace. Being let go, he has chosen to fight back, and took the opportunity to advertise and educate fearlessly. In doing so, he found a bigger life, and that that he had more friends, both within his former workplace and the larger community, than he’d ever imagined.
Another member spoke eloquently about how his own journey as a PWS will have ultimately made him the best possible father for his son, who is also beginning to stutter.
This was encouraging to another person who had just begun to take stock of the costs of being covert and wondered what moving forward as a proud member of the community will mean for not only his children and marriage, but for his own understanding of who he was. He had always described himself as an introvert, but was this his truth or a story he’d been telling himself? The discussion became peppered with stories of how some found an ebullient personality and visceral, satisfying happiness, brought about by the shared vulnerability we’re all gifted with as people who stutter.
Another group focused on that constant, sometimes deafening static that trickles, and then inundates our headspace as we anticipate a communicative interaction, often drowning out any sense of self-assurance. The conversation quickly pivoted to the professional setting, where this anticipatory anxiety can sometimes manifest itself in a forced vulnerability that many see as the antithesis of competent professionalism. One member, drawing from their experience as an SLP who stutters, wondered what this might look like in a classroom setting where if, when coming to pick up a child for therapy, the SLP stutters in their exchange with the teacher and is met with that oft-parroted, ever-frustrating line “ Did you forget your name?” Some members felt that it would be prudent to address such a lack of professionalism on the part of the teacher after class, so as to spare all involved possible embarrassment and a disruption of the learning process.
Others argued that in fact, there was no more important lesson, both for the teacher, should they wish to think of themselves as a compassionate and learned member of society, and for her young brood, than to know that such comments are in poor taste and that you can, in fact, stand your ground as a professional advocate and a competent adult, stutter or not. Most importantly, this would leave a lasting impression on the child in therapy, at an age where so many impressionable minds look to adults to define the boundaries of what’s possible.
It’s always important to advocate in ways you’re comfortable with. But by addressing such comments then and there, in an educational and assertive manner, you’re able to demonstrate how to win a battle that most children who stutter will find themselves party to countless times in life, the prize being a truly boundless, curious and confident sense of self- not something you could ever hope to recreate in a therapy room. It is by our courage that we will ensure the next generation truly knows no limits.