We met on Monday night for our last meeting at Aspire Center with a mixture of sadness and great appreciation. We spent the first few minutes expressing gratitude to Diane Brown, a true friend and wonderful SLP at Aspire who made it all possible, and then shifted to our regular sharing. With a nice turnout of 23 individuals, including 2 first timers and 5 SLP’s, we broke up into 3 groups for individualized sharing. Here is some of what we discussed:
Techniques Under Fire
We spoke about how techniques work in the therapy room but often don’t transfer to real life. Members shared how frustrating this experience can be and how it can increase feelings of worthlessness and self-blame. This led to a conversation about negative and positive therapy experiences, as well as the benefits of attending support groups.
The Positive Side of Stuttering
This topic was brought up when one member said he would not take a magic pill to cure his stutter. He agreed that living with a stutter is difficult, but appreciated how it built his character. This sparked a great talk about the positive outcomes that resulted from stuttering including building real connections, increasing empathy, and increasing confidence.
Advertise Your Stutter
The idea of advertising was discussed, including the benefits of using it even when we are speaking fluently. This opened the conversation about how advertising may initially make you feel uncomfortable, however the long-term benefits include feeling comfortable across many different contexts, which is invaluable.
Members discussed the complex feelings that accompany stuttering, specifically when speaking publicly. Two individuals who taught classes on the graduate level shared the ups and downs of the experience. This led to a great conversation about how emotions impact how we feel about ourselves, and impact our perception of what we think others think about us (Phew!)
We discussed whether maintaining eye contact helps build an emotional connection with our listeners when speaking. Most agreed. However, one member said he doesn’t like maintaining eye contact because then he notices when the speaker looks away. Someone else said that he used to like it when people looked away. This highlights how our own interpretation of what other people mean when they interact with us can be important.
Stuttering in Different Contexts
We compared notes about stuttering in different contexts and the difficulties that arise accordingly. We touched on the difficulties of maintaining sufficient oxygen when stuttering while walking, and the difficulties that arise while trying to eat gracefully and talk. We talked about whether we stutter when we talk to our pets, ourselves and when making an audio recording. The way we speak differently under different circumstances is very interesting indeed.
Till next month friends,
The Midtown Co-Leaders