This was our third online meeting and it was another fun event.
We were joined by Tammy Flores, the NSA Executive Director and Mandy Finstad, the NSA Projects Director. They gave us an update on steps the NSA is taking to keep everyone involved and engaged through online meetings.
We talked about how Covid-19 stay-at-home mandate is affecting all of us. In particular, we talked about the impact of having to talk through a mask when we go outside. The mask makes difficult to see people’s expressions. If the listeners cannot see us blocking, how do they know we are having difficulty speaking? For some of us, wearing the mask makes it easier to talk, while others think it is harder. Sometimes it feels like we are shouting through the mask.
There are students in our group that are taking lessons online. However, internships, clinical rotations and other activities that requiring in-person interactions cannot take place.
We were relieved to learn that family members of one of our attendees had fully recovered from Covid-19.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those that are suffering the physical or economic effect of the coronavirus. We hope that we can return to the new normal very soon safe and sound.
Yesterday, we had our first chapter meeting online and it was a great success! We were a total of 9 people, more than we get at a regular meeting. It gave an opportunity to attend to people we had not seen in a very long time. Also, we had two attendees from the South Jersey chapter. We used Google Hangouts and no one had issues connecting into the call. We took turns at reading the Welcoming Words at the beginning and we read the Closing Words together at the end. We talked a lot about the coronavirus and how it is impacting our lives, our jobs and everything around us. It was a great meeting and we all enjoyed it. It went so well that it was proposed we hold an online meeting on a regular basis once our schedule goes back to normal and we will definitely do that. For now, the NSA has declared all on-site chapter meetings cancelled through April. We will have the next two scheduled chapter meetings online. I will send the links for each meeting as the date gets closer. I encourage anyone that has not been able to come to a chapter meeting in a long time to join us online. Some of you that move out of the Philadelphia area but are still on our mailing list, join us and let’s catch up. The next two meetings will be online at 7:00 PM:
Thursday, April 2
Tuesday, April 21
Stay safe and take care of yourselves and your families. Carmen
After a slow start, this was our first meeting of the year at Temple University. We had a newcomer and a couple of regulars.
We read the Welcoming Words and went through introductions and check-ins. The new member shared information about himself and we talked a lot about issues with phone conversations.
We watched the video of the last Democratic Townhall with Joe Biden in which a woman asked him for his advice to young people who stutter. You can watch it here:
It seemed clear to us that he stutters voluntarily in some key moments to make a point. This is something you don’t see frequently when famous people talk about their stutter while they talk fluently.
One key takeaway from what Joe Biden says is that you cannot let stuttering define you. We started talking about how this applies to each of us. Does stuttering define you?
It has certainly influenced our lives. We all agree that it has made us more empathetic to people with other disabilities. But it has also been a source of frustration and held us back from being good communicators.
We met at Temple University. We were joined by a newcomer, a student from another university in town.
We talked about how different the perception of stuttering is nowadays vs how it was decades ago. For many of us, there weren’t support groups and all the resources that exist today back when we were younger. People were on their own or had to work with therapists that didn’t know much about stuttering. Today there is more openness and acceptance towards people with all types of disabilities and conditions. There is more information about stuttering and therapists are trained better to deal with it. There is still a lot more work to do to educate people, but things are better now.
We also talked about getting ready for the holidays and plans for the new year.
We wish all happy holidays and a very happy new year!
We shared a lot of Thanksgiving stories from this year and past ones.
One of the attendees was someone that has been almost completely fluent for many years. He sometimes wonders if he belongs at our meetings. Even though he is very fluent now, he was very severe when he was younger and took him many years to find what worked for him. His experiences are very valuable to all of us and he has a lot of insights to offer to rest of us. Everyone with experience or an interest in stuttering is welcome to our meetings.