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.
Thirty of us came out to our July meeting – 25 people who stutter, one committed SLP, and 4 awesome SLP students from Chaya’s class who came to observe. Chaya teaches the stuttering course at LIU by the way. And I hear she’s a pro at it. Also, a warm welcome to our good friend Eric Jackson who is back in NYC. Eric co-founded the NSA Brooklyn Chapter, and is a pioneer in the NYC stuttering community.
We started with intros, we then split into 3 smaller groups, and here is some of what we covered:
The phone can really suck at times, especially for interviews because you may be stripped away from the opportunity to make a positive impression with anything other than your speech. This lead the conversation to the benefits of advertising up front, during an interview, over the phone. Usually, people seem to respect you for it, as it builds a human connection. Not advertising during an interview may force you to continue to hide it. It might feel uncomfortable and even ‘unprofessional’ but many members expressed that the outcome is almost always a positive one.
Two stutterers on television: George Springer, a particularly good player on the Houston Astros, who was set up with a live mic while he was playing in the recent Major League Baseball All-Star game. He gave live commentary which was interesting, and stuttered openly. He has been open about stuttering and has received positive feedback both professionally and in the stuttering community about his stuttering. Also Jeff Zeleny, Senior White House Correspondent for CNN, who has discussed his stuttering in the public eye and stutters subtly while on air.
A few of us discussed that we felt that recently on the internet and in the media, we seem to be finding more examples of stuttering being spoken about as something negative, as an indication of dishonesty or stupidity. Some of us mentioned that we worry that people will think we’re stupid when we stutter.
We talked about whether we advertise or make jokes about stuttering at work. Does joking about stuttering, like advertising, help to put people at ease? Does it put us at ease? Someone questioned to what extent advertising really puts other people at ease, saying that he wouldn’t want other people to open up to him and disclose all their personal issues right away.
When people say, “Oh, I used to stutter, but now I don’t”, do those people really understand what stuttering is?
We talked about the high of advertising when first starting a job, and how we may be able to maintain these positive vibes. But what do we do when some of this novelty wears off? This lead to a conversation on why we advertise, and a couple members expressed that the goal for them was simply to better connect with your listener, nothing more nothing less.
Many of us went out for a drink, per usual, at our nearby hang out bar, Juniper. Come join us next time around if you weren’t able to be there. And now, three quick…
Mock Interview Event at Goldman Sachs
We are excited to tell you about the upcoming mock interview event at Goldman Sachs which some of you have heard a little about. George Daquila, a passionate member of the New York City stuttering community, works at Goldman Sachs and is leading their initiative to hire more stutterers. Event is on Friday, August 11, 1:00pm–5:30pm, and you can click here for more details
Get your tickets today and join us as we take Stuttering out to the Yankee Game. On Sunday, August 13th at 8:05 pm. An email will be sent out shortly about tailgating for this event. See you then! – Nina
Brooklyn and Manhattan meetings are at their regular meeting times this month. Click here for more info for Brooklyn meeting. They’re a good group. One of the best, actually. We love them. Every one of them.
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.
“ 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!
Hello NYC Crew,
On Monday May 22nd, we met for our May meeting, and per usual we had some interesting conversations. It was the second meeting out our new location at 520 Eighth Avenue, and it looks like we’ll be meeting here going forward. 25 people of us came out, with two first timers – welcome Chris and Jaymie. We split up into three groups, and here are some topics that people brought up:
1. Stuttering is hard and we know it, but what are some of the positive things?
Our vulnerability and authenticity give us the ability to connect and empathize with others.
– We become resilient and relentless in the things we pursue.
– We can break down communication and pick up on social cues.
– Because stuttering is so isolated in the world, when we come together it brings about a feeling of connectedness like no other.
2. What causes stuttering? Habit? Genetics?
– One member asked how we all started stuttering. He believes that he was imitating his neighbor’s stutter and eventually “caught” stuttering.
– Hector seemed to debunk this and went on about stuttering research and the enigma of genetics.
3. Speech therapy and why we go to speech therapy?
– We had one member really interested in speech therapy, so we went around the room sharing our experiences with it and what it meant to us.
– Many of us seemed to agree that speech therapy provided support in our lives and can add to a sense of relief when going through a rough patch of stuttering.
You may be thinking to yourself, ‘cool, these are some pretty good topics.’ You may also be thinking to yourself, ‘why am I getting this recap almost a month after the meeting?’ That’s a really good question, and we don’t have a really good answer, but we’ll get it out to you a bit sooner next time around, we promise
NYC Stutters Conference
But it has been a busy month for many of us here on the volunteer front. Almost a week after the NSA Manhattan May meeting, we had our second annual NYC Stutters Conference: A One Day Conference By and For People Who Stutter. It was a special day for our community here in NYC, and we had an amazing turn out of over 70 adults who stutter. Coming together made many of us realize how important it is for people who stutter to come together, and ask some of the significant questions about who we are.
On a similar note, 8 hours of coming together are not enough, so let’s have some social outings! And other events that you may be interested in. Please reach out with your ideas, or better yet, go to our fairly new Facebook Group here, and start the conversation.
A little reminder that we will be meeting this upcoming Monday. We’ll talk about our most recent NYC Stutters conference, the warmer summer weather, and anything that’s on your mind! We hope you can make it!
• Date: Monday, June 19th
• Time: 7:30–9pm
• Location: 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets
Please arrive a little early is possible. There may be a short line to get past security. At the security desk, say you are going to A.R.T./New York on the 3rd floor. (This is the Alliance of Resident Theatres.) For security purposes, you will need to present a photo ID and have your picture taken. Take the left side elevators to get to the 3rd floor. On the 3rd floor, follow the signs to Studio B.
Social Outing today: Friday, June 16th
This is a bit last minute, but our friends at AIS will be having an outing this evening and you are invited. They will be meeting at the Rubin Museum of Art for Happy Hour (google search “rubin museum happy hour”) at 6pm. Address: 150 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011 Also, they will be doing an Escape the Room activity nearby after that, and there are still a few spots open, so reach out to Noura @ email@example.com if you’re interested ASAP! This will be a lot of fun, so if you don’t have any plans at this time, go!
On Monday May 1st, our Manhattan chapter met for our long awaited “April” meeting. We had 21 people show up, all of whom were people who stutter, including two first timers (welcome Daniel and Mark!). After getting settled with opening words and brief introductions, we split up into 3 smaller groups for intimate discussions.
Within each group, we talked about similar topics of shame and avoidance. One of the groups touched on how the amount of shame we feel might not be necessarily correlated to how much we’re stuttering. It can also be dependent on our surroundings and how we are treated. In another group, members opened up about avoidance behaviors and destructive thoughts following shame. Wherever we are in our journey, most of us agreed that the vulnerability and affinity we share and experience in these meetings is something special.
Thank you to everyone who came and we can’t wait to see you all again!
NYC Stutters Conference:
The NYC chapters of the National Stuttering Association are holding our 2nd annual stuttering conference! This is a conference for people who stutter by people who stutter. It will be on Sunday, May 28th, and we would love for you to join us!
This will be an introspective day for all people who stutter from all walks of life to reflect, connect, and grow with stuttering, with oneself, and with one another. There will be interactive workshops, with free lunch and lots of time to socialize. So if you haven’t already, tickets are available here on Eventbrite! You can also go to our conference website for more detail. (Please let us know if you are hesitant to come because of cost – we want to accommodate everyone, so feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if so.)
Another reason to attend.. The organization SAY, the Stuttering Association for the Young, is offering anyone going to the NYC Stutters conference a free ticket to their gala performance on Monday, May 22. Here’s all the info from SAY. A few of us have worked with them in the past and they’re doing awesome things with kids who stutter.
• For 15 years now, SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young has held an annual gala fundraiser to celebrate children who stutter and the adults that inspire them. This year, SAY has partnered with us at NYC Stutters to offer complimentary gala performance tickets to our participants!
• So, if you are attending our conference, you can also attend the SAY Gala performance for free on Monday, May 22. Click here to learn more about the gala, which will include celebrity guests and musical performances. To obtain tickets to the SAY Gala, be sure to RSVP by emailing Ryan (email@example.com) before May 16
Date – Monday, May 22 (Same day as SAY gala)
Time – 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Address – 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets
Instructions – Please arrive at 7:15pm if possible. There may be a short line to get past security. At the security desk, say you are going to A.R.T./New York on the 3rd floor. (This is the Alliance of Resident Theatres.) For security purposes, you will need to present a photo ID and have your picture taken. Take the left side elevators to get to the 3rd floor. On the 3rd floor, follow the signs to Studio B.
Pesach Sameach to all of our Jewish members!
This email is more of an announcement email than a recap one. But first, we wanted to thank everyone who joined us a couple weeks ago for our Manhattan meeting. We had 33 people in attendance, we split up into 2 groups, and had some great conversations. Important note, our next meeting will be on the 4th Monday of the week, not on our 3rd usual Monday. More on that in a minute. But first…
On Sunday, May 28th, the NYC Chapters of the NSA will hold our second annual conference by and for people who stutter.
Last year we gathered over 60 people who stutter to explore the “Past, Present & Future of Stuttering” via workshops like the history of stuttering and the accomplishments of the disability rights movement. This year, we plan to bring 100 people together for an introspective day of “Reflection, Connection and Growth”.
The day will consist of 3-4 core workshops exploring topics like stuttering without apology, the vulnerability of stuttering, and how to advocate for oneself. The workshops will be facilitated by people who stutter, including NSA chapter leaders, people who research and write about stuttering, long-time self-help activists, and relative newcomers to the community.
Click here to find out more and to buy your ticket asap.
Brooklyn meeting will be on the usual time, 2nd Monday of the month, so that’s this evening, from 7:30pm to 9:00pm
NSA Manhattan Meeting and Venue
Our next meeting, like mentioned above, will be on the 4th Monday of the month (not our usual 3rd Monday), due to Passover and Easter. During the last couple months, during our free time, we have been reaching out to dozens of venues across the Midtown area. We have visited several of these places, and are continuing to narrow down our search on what we believe is the best for our group – based on cost, location and the size of the rooms.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you all for staying patient with us as we finalize this process, and we promise you that you will all be happy with our final venue selection very soon.
On that note, one of the most important things we can do as a Chapter, is to provide a safe space for our attendees, especially our newcomers, not only to feel comfortable speaking, but to also ensure each person has the opportunity to speak. As we have continued to grow during this last year, we usually split up into 3 groups during meetings. Given the large turnout of participants during our last meeting, this, unfortunately, was not possible. And we sincerely apologize to everyone who did not have the opportunity to speak. We want you to know that we are committed in finding the right venue for our upcoming meetings, and we thank you for your patience during this process.
We hope you to see you all soon, and you can expect to hear from us by the end of the week for our April location, for our meeting that will be on the 4th Monday. Also, make sure you are following us on Facebook.