We were 9 people at this meeting, including a newcomer and three students for the La Salle graduate program.
Thales is new to the Philadelphia area. He is a person who stutters but he is also finishing his research study to become an SLP. His research project focuses on finding out what techniques used by people who stutter are more socially acceptable to non-PWS. He was able to get more than 100 participants and now he is compiling and analyzing the results. We look forward to learning what he finds out!
We discussed the topic: “What has stuttering done for you that is positive?” We all know the hurdles we have to overcome and the difficulties we have in many areas of our lives due to our stuttering. It is good to take a little time to notice what good things have come out of it too. For some, stuttering has given us a “jerk-filter”. We are able to filter out shallow people and get closer to those that are good and want to be close to us too. For others, it has made us more sensitive to others’ disabilities and we are more able to accept people with challenges. It puts things in perspective when compared to much bigger issues. For some of us, it gives us challenges we set out for ourselves.
We also talked about the differences between fluency and control of our speech. You can be in control whether you stutter or not. For example, you could have a very fluent day and you realize that eventually you will “crash” and the fluency will be gone. You can take control by adding some volunteering stuttering while still being fluent. This way when the “crash” comes, it won’t be so bad. You are still successful because you were able to control when and how you stutter. The success is in the control, not in the fluency.
This was a fun meeting. We were four people, with one newcomer, Josh, a freshman from Drexel university. Josh was very curious about our organization and what we do and somehow we started talking about the NSA Annual Conference and our experiences there. Mitch, Bill and I had a lot to say and we all recommend to experience it at least once. As you all know, this year’s conference will be in Atlanta Georgia from July 6 – July 10. (for details on the conference go to http://www.westutter.org/annual-conference/).
We talked about difficulty talking to inanimate objects, such as giving voice commands to a phone, car or other electronic devices. Why do we stutter when we talk to an object that cannot judge us, give us bad looks and has no influence over our lives? I don’t know, but I personally find it difficult to speak to an electronic device. I feel the pressure of having to say the command within the few seconds that the device is expecting to receive it. I also have a strong Spanish accent which means that I have to repeat the command more than once. We thought that the time pressure was one of the key factors. The device does not judge, but it reacts and responds, and when it doesn’t understand or doesn’t get what it expects is almost like saying that we didn’t say it correctly. What are your experiences and opinions on this?
We played Trivial Pursuit during the last half hour of the meeting. We played a condensed version where we just took turns to reading and answering questions. Interestingly, one of the clues was: “What was a popular song in the 1910s about a boy that stutters? The answer was “K-K-K-Katy”. If you are curious about the lyrics, you can find them here: http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/scriptorium/sheetmusic/lyrics/OHara__K_K_K_Katy.html. You can hear an old recording at: https://ia902606.us.archive.org/35/items/BillyMurray_part3/BillyMurray-K-K-K-KatyStammeringSongWorldWarISong_2.mp3
See you at our next meeting!
We were 10 people at this meeting! We are very happy to see such a turnout. We had two new attendees, 5 returning chapter members and three students from the SLP graduate program. We had pizza donated from Giovanni’s.
Rohan came back recently from vacation in India, his home country, and commented that he stuttered more there than in the US and wondered why. Talking about stuttering is not as common there as it is here. There is more emphasis on covering it up rather than disclosing , all of which could impact your fluency.
We talked about apologizing when we stutter, why do it or why not. Even though we are always told that we should not do it, sometimes it is hard to break that habit, especially when you feel that you are taking time away from people. However, not apologizing can be freeing and empowering, you feel that you have more control. What do you do?
Mitch proposed the topic: Why do you come to meetings? We all had different answers: share experiences; being in a safe environment; give each other support; take time to focus on stuttering; a place where you can’t use stuttering as an excuse for all your problems.
We played a game where we were given the name of a person but we didn’t know who we were and had to go around the room asking yes/no questions until we figured out who we were. It was a lot of fun.
We finished by covering some administration items: The upcoming national conference (http://www.westutter.org/nsainatl16/ ) and plans for organizing social activities for the chapter.
See you at the next meeting!