November Meeting Reminder & SLP Group!

November Meeting Reminder & SLP Group!

Come join us this coming Monday on November 19th for our regular NSA Manhattan meeting! We’ll decompress with old friends and new friends, and talk about all thing stuttering related. We’ll meet for an hour and a half and afterwards, grab a drink at a bar nearby!

DATE: Monday, November 19
TIME: 7:30–9pm
LOCATION: 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets – 3rd Floor

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.

 

Also as many of you may already know, the NSA Manhattan chapter will be having an extra meeting this month, Wednesday, November 28th from 7:30pm to 9:00pm, at the same place above!

The format will be different, as it will be a combination between a support group and a panel to educate SLPs (Speech-Language Pathologists) and SLP students, like we did last year. This will be a great opportunity for members of our stuttering community to come and engage in dialogue with SLPs and educate about what it means to be a person who stutters. We hope that events like these can help foster connection between SLPs and people who stutter by helping SLPs learn how to be an ally and supporter for people who stutter, both in and out of the therapy room. For more information, please email manhattanstutters.slp@gmail.com for any questions!

DATE: Wednesday, November 28
TIME: 7:30–9pm
LOCATION: 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets – 3rd Floor

October Meeting Recap

October Meeting Recap

On Monday, October 22, about 30+ of us gathered in a room for our Manhattan October meeting. Feeling high from our local NYC Stutters one-day conference just the day before, we had meaningful conversations and connections, and explored some more what it means to be people who stutter. As per meeting tradition, we went to a bar after and decompressed with a drink or two.

One topic that came up in the groups was disability and whether and in what sense stuttering is a disability. We discussed how the definition of disability depends upon whether we are thinking about it from a medical, legal, or personal perspective. We also explored how their own reasons and motivations for considering stuttering to be a disability or not a disability might be similar to or different from the reasons and motivations that non-stutterers might have for thinking that it is or is not a disability.

No matter the relationship, talking about stuttering with parents can be delicate. In one of the groups, we talked about balancing the feeling of not wanting to disappoint your parents with the feeling of not wanting to disappoint yourself and your stutter. In another group, we opened up about how parents do not necessarily understand stuttering sometimes, and as a result can have unrealistic demands of our fluency and need for self-help. As much as parents want to help and protect us, our stuttering journeys are inevitable and unavoidable.

One topic that overlapped all groups was the uniqueness of each of our stuttering journeys. We are all in such different places in our stuttering journeys, and it is always significant to be reminded of it. We have members who stutter proudly, and others who use language that judges stuttering harshly, i.e. “he was stuttering so badly.” We have members who have been covert for most of their lives but just recently have allowed themselves to stutter openly, and in doing so have unlocked the many beauties of life. Some of our members are at a place where they have been fluent for a while, and for some, this ‘fluency’ has come at a cost. These groups where we can process our (sometimes absurd) beliefs, is a critical space, which can allow us to grow. Nevertheless, at times this can be a painful process.

We want to thank everyone for coming and sharing. We are committed to enriching our already abundant community, and we love you all deeply. Until next month!

 

Announcements:

SLP student Informational Group: Wednesday, November 28th @ 7:30-9pm

We are hosting an NSA meeting for SLP’s and SLP graduate students to learn from our community. We’ve been hosting these meetings once a year for a few years now and they are always a huge success for both SLP’s and the members of our community. This meeting will be at our regular Manhattan meeting space. Stay tunes for more details!

Brooklyn Meeting: The next Brooklyn chapter meeting will be Monday, November 12th. Check out their site here for all info.

Next Manhattan Meeting: The next Manhattan chapter meeting will be back on our regular 3rd Monday on Monday, November 19th at 520 8th Avenue, 3rd floor. We’ll be sure to send out a meeting reminder the week before. 

Getting involved: We’re always looking for new ways to continue to strengthen our growing stuttering community. Shoot us an email: manhattanstutters@gmail.com with any ideas!

September Meeting Recap

September Meeting Recap

On Wednesday, September 26, around 25 of us, people who stutter, met for our long awaited September meeting. During the meeting, we shared parts of ourselves and connected with one another. And after the meeting, we went over to a near-by bar and decompressed with casual conversations, catching up over a drink or two. For those of you who couldn’t make it and for those of you who were there, but just need a little reminder, below are some of the topics we discussed in groups.

In one of our groups, we discussed the different ways people view their stuttering. Is it a disability? Is it not? We noted the “perks” society gave to some who were officially disabled and the struggles they endured when in no man’s land, not identifying with a disability but still experiencing stuttering in a world that has a hard time making space for the grey. Within the same group, someone shared how he had a negative experience recently when he was judged at a party to be drunk and high (when he was neither) because of his stutter. This hit him hard and affected him negatively. It led to a great conversation around how we handle crushing moments. Identifying our locus of control and making choices from that point was the resounding way to get out of a negative spot and move forward.

In another group, the conversation started out a discussion on anxiety. Many shared their thoughts and conversation moved a bit faster than usual. The focus on the conversation was how we felt within the meeting – while speaking, while not speaking, and when we anticipated to speak. Several members felt different levels of anxiety, but for different reasons. One member talked about the adrenaline of being around so many other people who stuttered. Several members talked about where they physically felt the anxiety. One member talked about her though process while anticipation to speak in a group, as a person who stutters, something we can all relate to. It was powerful to talk about our feelings, collectively as a group, and explore these feelings with each other.

In our last group, we jumped around from a few topics – stuttering during a new job, speech therapy, and raising a family. One member began the conversation by sharing that she recently started a new job. With all that she’s been through in her previous jobs with her stutter, it was a sigh of relief to start something new, feeling supported by the resilience she’s gained and this newly found community. Although feeling anxious at unknown, she shared her new outlook on stuttering in the workplace and was determined to feel comfortable and allow stuttering in. Another member shared how she was interested in speech therapy and we went around the room and shared therapy that worked for us, and therapy that didn’t. We all agreed that speech therapy was a form of support, and we owe it to ourselves to seek it if needed.

We are grateful for everyone who showed up, was vulnerable, and shared, and we hope to see everyone again during our October meeting on Monday, October 15.

August Recap

August Recap

We ended summer with a bang with 31 people in attendance at our August meeting. Summer adventures, new semesters, and job challenges were some of the rich, relevant, and important topics of the night. Take a read here to see what was discussed:

 

Discrimination at work

 

We had an important conversation about experiences of subtle and overt discrimination at work. One person shared that he was recently hired at a new job and was experiencing extra scrutiny despite excelling at his position and having disclosed that he was a person who stuttered at the time of his hire. Several of our members were well versed in discrimination laws and asked probing questions to help him discern if this scrutiny for new employees was common practice, or subtle or overt discrimination. It left many of us reflecting on the common practices at work environments, and a heightened awareness of the importance of looking out for and ensuring equal treatment for all employees with differences and disabilities.

 

The Upside of Advertising

 

In our groups we often discuss how helpful it is when we advertise our stuttering. Advertising, another word for disclosing, is the term used to let someone know that you stutter. Saying something like “you may notice that I stutter” (no apologies!)  is helpful because it gets stuttering out in the open and reduces tension and anxiety for the speaker. It also  provides knowledge for the listener so they understand what is happening. Advertising is incredibly helpful because it allows the content of the conversation to be primary rather than secondary. It increases the chances for  authentic connection in the conversation. One of our members shared how he recently advertised on the phone at work to a new superior and how as a result felt exceptionally more confident in himself. He was now excited to approach his new experiences at work with his supervisor because he took the reigns in his hand and set the stage for success. Members echoed shared experiences of positive advertising experience and how they felt a sense of empowerment when stuttering in a confident way.

 

The Joy of Sharing

 

One member shared how she advertised her stutter to her extended family while visiting them this summer. She found the experience to be empowering and joyful. Our group members applauded her for her courage, and had a great conversation about the best ways to go about advertising to people who know you already but you may never have created the opportunity to explicitly share with them about stuttering. It got others to also share about their positive experiences, and gave some people who never considered the idea, something to think about.

 

Liked these conversations? Join us at our monthly meetings to hear, share and experience these conversations together. We look forward to seeing you there!

-Manhattan Chapter Leaders

 

 

 

 

July Recap

July Recap

Many of us in the group had attended the NSA annual conference the week before, so we started out the night by trying to put into words the high we felt in those few days in Chicago surrounded by so many fellow people who stutter. We talked about how in those few days a completely different culture with different sets of social norms and values are set in place. Some members shared as they transition back to their everyday life, they’re trying to maintain that high. Others questioned whether it was possible.

The conference also inspired other topics of conversation: stuttering, identity, and shame. One first-timer shared how the conference got her thinking about all her interactions with the fluent world and how she has internalized them. Although not every interaction is meaningful and poignant to our stuttering journey, each interaction slowly but surely builds on top of each other like laying bricks to form a foundation to get through another day. As that foundation gets stronger with more experience and resilience, the more we are able to tackle the shame that we feel and reclaim who we are meant to be.

One member shared how she was told by her friend that she first had to “work” on her speech to succeed in interviews. This led to a good conversation about what is effective communication. Is stuttering the main problem, or is it a lack of good communication? Another member shared how it took him taking a hard look at himself and realizing it wasn’t his stuttering that was holding him back. Instead, he felt that his overall communication could have been improved. With this awareness, he was able to do just that – show up differently, which helped me land a job!

Although the annual conference had come to an end for those who made it out to Chicago, a common theme seemed to emerge as we went around the room this evening. Several people expressed how grateful they were to be at the group, surrounded by over 30 others who stutter. It is rare to have such a strong support network so close by. Our NYC stuttering community is an exceptional one. Together we are strong.

Announcements:

Bronx Meeting: Check out the newest NYC chapter. They meet up on the 4th Tuesday of every month.

Brooklyn Meeting: The coolest group in town. They keep it real. Their meetings are on the 2nd Monday of every month.

NYC Mock Interview Day at Goldman Sachs: This is a unique opportunity to practice interviewing skills in a stutter-friendly workplace. Registrants will participate in two mock interviews and receive valuable feedback and interview strategies and tips.

Take Stuttering out to the Ballgame!: Join the Queens Chapter of the NSA as we Take Stuttering Out to the Ballgame to see the New York Yankees take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, August 19th at 1:05pm.

NYC Stutters Conference: We’re preparing our 3rd NYC Stutters conference this Fall, most likely on a Sunday in October. We’ll send out a save the date this week as we finalize venues. Stay tuned!

May Recap | Barbecue in Prospect Park This Weekend

May Recap | Barbecue in Prospect Park This Weekend

We had a fantastic May meeting with around 24 members and 5 first timers. After sharing and connecting for the hour and a half meeting, we met up at our usual bar to decompress and talk some more. We are so thankful for everyone who showed up and below is a short recap of some things we talked about.

First Times

In one group, we had a number of first timers and second timers, so we starting sharing all the forces in our life that brought us together that night. A few shared that they were going through a pivotal moment in life where stuttering felt relentless and all other efforts felt futile. Others shared how they wanted to meet other people who stutter and share stories and listen to experiences. Whatever the reason, we all agreed that we were all present in this moment and here to ask and receive support from people who just get it.

Stuttering at Work

One member opened up about his recent experiences with avoiding stuttering at work. He posed a simple, yet loaded question to a room: how do you confidently say what you want to say when you stutter? Body language was brought up, from having good posture to eye contact, and the saying “fake it till you make it” resonated with everyone in the room. We all generally agreed that we are our own toughest critics when it comes to stuttering. Many people often don’t care and yet we put so much pressure on ourselves to speak and come across a certain way that we sacrifice our sanity, comfort, and words. However on the flip side, we also talked about how there needs to be a balance. Even though it is completely valid to reclaim power of how we control our emotions and perception, the fact is our spontaneous internal reactions are important to us and we can always leave more room, self-compassion, and patience for us when dealing with stuttering.

Another group discussed brought up that when we most want to make a good impression on someone and not stutter, we tend to be more likely to stutter, and to stutter more. For example, some of us want to not stutter around co-workers, which leads us to stutter more around co-workers. Telling our co-workers and bosses that we stutter can feel liberating.

Speech Therapy and Meditation

Another group talked about how a lot of us had speech therapy when we were young that consisted entirely of the therapist telling us to practice making certain sounds or saying certain words. We noted how unhelpful and hurtful this therapy was; and in retrospect, how unsurprising it was that it was unhelpful, given that most of these therapists had little to no actual training in or understanding of stuttering. On the other hand, some of us more recently have had really helpful speech therapists, or psychotherapists, or speech coaches who were helpful, so we discussed that too. The bad speech therapy we had was misguided in part because we “know” how to say the words. Our inability to say certain words seems to be situational, happening randomly to a certain degree, but also more likely to arise in certain situations than in others.

The power of meditation and guided imagery techniques was brought up in one group. Someone expressed that it can feel relaxing to focus intensely on an imagined scene of talking to people and not stuttering. Someone else, agreeing that meditation is powerful, and inspired by the idea of Metta meditation, suggested a different focus. What if instead we concentrated on the image and feeling of stuttering, and imagined the feeling of being loved by our audience and ourselves in that moment? Mentally rehearsing kindness toward ourselves when we are alone and calm can make it easier to feel acceptance of our speech later during a real stuttering moment. Shifting our goal from not stuttering to acceptance of our speech can feel so good.


Announcements!

 

Barbecue This Weekend in Prospect Park – Sunday, June 3

Join us for a fun afternoon of barbecue and sun in Prospect Park this Sunday from 2-5 pm! We will be posting more information on our Facebook page here the next few days. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

National Stuttering Association Conference – July 4th Weekend

Our annual National Stuttering Association Conference held July 4th weekend is coming up very soon! If you haven’t booked your hotel room and signed up for the weekend of awesomeness, now’s the time! Check out all details  and make your reservations here: https://westutter.org/.

 

Next Brooklyn Meeting Reminder – Monday, June 11

If you’re looking to attend an additional meeting every month, come and join the Brooklyn group at Brooklyn YWCA (30 Third Ave) the second Monday of every month. Their next next meeting will be on Monday, June 11 from 7:30pm-9pm.

 

Next Manhattan Meeting Reminder – Monday, June 18

Our next meeting will be held on Monday, June 18, 7:30pm–9pm at A.R.T./New York, located at 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets. Security in the lobby will ask to take a picture and look at ID. Say you are going to the third floor, or to A.R.T./New York. Take the elevators on the left to the third floor, and then look at the whiteboard to find out which room we’re meeting in. Check out all the details here!