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.
We covered a lot of topics on this meeting.
There is a perception that stressful situations make us stutter. That is true for some people. However, many times is not that the situation is stressful but that is a new situation we haven’t encountered before. This can be a new location, a new person, a new topic or a variation of any of them.
We also talked about “time pressure” but from a different point of view. Many times we talk about how we get pressured to speak fast. But there is also pressure about saying something at a precise moment. The timing of when we say something can be very important before the moment passes. For example, some of members are nurses and they have to communicate important information at the right time or else it can be missed and cause problems for the patient.
Removing the anticipation to stutter and its secondaries can lead the way towards becoming more comfortable. We tend to dread those blocks when we see them coming. How about removing that anticipation and that dread and just focus on the successes? Reminding ourselves of the moments that we are fluent and communicate well leads to less stress and eventually to less blocks.
We talked about work situations in which people have not been nice towards our stuttering. Most times is more important to have a good group of people and a good environment at work than higher pay or benefits. Those relations have a lot of impact on our live and our levels of stress. We can ignore the people that hurt us but in the end, running away from the problem makes things works.
We talked about what to do when people ask us questions. Kids are naturally curious and we shouldn’t be offended when they ask. Some adults have no idea of when they are being insensitive. We have to educate them and show them the right things to do or not do when talking to a person that stutters. But some times it feels that we are the ones that have to do everything to make others comfortable as if it is our responsibility that people don’t have common sense about what to do when a person is stuttering. It is a difficult balance.
We all feel fortunate to be having these problems now and not in the 1920s when there was very little know about stuttering and a lot of misconceptions. It was considered a mental illness back then and many experiments, some of them very inhuman by today’s standards, were run in order to cure people from it. We are thankful that organizations like the NSA exist to help us. Children and young adults have a lot more resources now than many of us had when we were growing up. In a way, it is easier to be a person that stutters now than it was when we were growing up. There is more awareness and more support that there ever was.
Lastly, one of our members proposed organizing a book club as a social activity to get together and talk about other things besides stuttering. Stay tuned for more info!
Hi! We are back from our summer recess. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer.
We had a very good meeting. One new person joined us and we had some very interesting conversations.
We talked a lot about educating others about stuttering. It is not about telling them what they did wrong or what hurt us about their behavior towards us. It is about making them aware of what they do so that they don’t repeat the same behavior the next time they encounter another person that stutters. We shared stories about how each of us has approached situations like this.
We also talked about things we don’t like about our stuttering: people finishing our sentences, feeling obligated to speak fast or in perfect full sentences, seeing the reactions from people, the physical tension that holds us back, having to substitute words instead of saying what we want. It is a long list and we all had examples about all these situations. We also shared advice on how to deal with many of them
We were only two people at this week’s meeting. It was nice to catch up on recent events and plans for the Summer.
We are taking a break for the month of July.
Have a nice 4th of July and enjoy your Summer!
We started the meeting with the Welcoming Words and introductions.
Our first topic was regarding secondary characteristics associated with our stutter and Terets in particular. One of our attendees was diagnosed with a very mild form of Terets and he questions whether stuttering could be a symptom developed from it or a form of Terets.
Another person has noticed that older people don’t seem to stutter as severely. Currently, he can’t imagine being fluent as an older version. Some reasons for it can’t be that people are more mellow. They accept themselves more easily and they have less to prove to others or to themselves. All of which contributes to more self-confidence and more fluency.
We were four people at this meeting, all regular members..
One of our young adult attendees has been giving presentations about stuttering to a couple of student groups in her school as part of the end-of-year activities. She told them about how it feels when she stutters, she dispelled myths about what stuttering is and it is not. She gave tips about how to interact with a person who stutters and had a fellow student to role play a typical situation. Way to go! What a great opportunity to educate others.
We talked about how disclosure sometimes can backfire at you. It happened once to one of our members during a job interview. There are other times when the non-stutterer doesn’t feel comfortable after disclosure has happened. We talked about a comedian that stutters and makes jokes about himself in stuttering situations. Many times people don’t feel comfortable laughing at those jokes. But you can also say that the comedian is not doing a god job if is making people uncomfortable. How would you feel?
The topic about therapists that stutter came up. Some people would not choose one because they don’t think that a person that has not overcome their own stuttering can help them with their own. One of our attendees was an SLP that stutters and this is what he tells people about it. Michael Jordan is one of the best basketball players of all time and he had a coach. Was his coach better than him? Why would Michael Jordan need a coach? A coach is not necessarily better than the athlete. A coach has experience, tools and knowledge about the sport, observes the player and sees things that the athlete doesn’t notice and is able to offer advice.
We finished the meeting with the Closing words and wished everyone a good Memorial Day weekend
We met at Temple University. We had three new people, one of them a friend that came to support a new attendee on her first meeting.
One of the new members came as a way to challenge himself to talk to groups of people. We talked about Toastmasters as another venue to learn and practice talking to audiences, improve communication skills and remove bad habits.
The second first-timer is a young person that has fear of speaking and fear of what people would think if she stutters. We all shared experiences like that but we also encouraged her to not focus on what people will say but on what she wants to communicate. We agree that we are all our worse enemies and we think that what people see when we stutter is worse than what we feel. It is not easy to take that step but I hope we encouraged her enough to try.
Four of us met at the Bala Cynwyd Library, one of them a family member. After the Welcoming words, we introduced ourselves and shared a movie that we have enjoyed recently.
Three of us had attended the previous week’s Panel of People that Stutter at La Salle University and we talked about the experience.
We talked about the difference between identifying ourselves as “stutterer” versus saying “I stutter” or “I am a person that stutters”. We prefer saying “I stutter”. “Stutterer” feels like a label, which can have a lot of negative connotations. It feels like it is a definition of all we are, as opposed as just one more quality about us.
A question was posed that made us think a lot: Would you go to a therapist that stutters? You would think that it would be an advantage because that person would understand a lot of what we go through. But some wouldn’t go to a therapist that stutters because if he/she is still stuttering, can the therapist help you? It was an interesting question and we spent quite sometime talking about the pros and cons. What would you do?