February Recap

February Recap

We were back at our usual venue for our February meeting. About 30 of us came out, including a few brave first-timers and some SLP students who were there to see what it is that we do at these meetings. We started off with our intros, which are of course optional, and then split into three smaller groups. Below are a few topics that were discussed during the meeting. Also, a special thank you to Chani for helping co-facilitate one of the groups.

One of the groups started with a question from a first timer to the group about whether people have found that their stuttering has changed as they have gotten older. Many members expressed that their feelings about their stuttering had more to do with where they were on their stuttering journey than a specific age or decade of their lives. Some members shared that stuttering was more challenging for them as children growing up because often their teachers in school did not understand stuttering and would often call on them to read aloud or present in front of the class. Another difficult time period for being a PWS that was expressed was adolescence because of the social pressures to fit in. It can be challenging to handle stuttering at any stage of life, but as many members shared, our stuttering journeys are unique in that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can change the way that you think and feel about your stuttering and not let it hold you back.

One topic that we discussed in one of the groups was advertising when applying or interviewing for jobs/school. One member shared that he was applying for graduate school and was contemplating disclosing stuttering on the application. Many people in the group agreed that this was a personal decision and that advertising most of the time is for yourself and not for the listener. By advertising, most of us do not magically become more fluent. For many of us, it is a significant mindset shift since it actively goes against years and years of conditioned shame and trauma. From there, we delved deeper into this trauma, and how so many of us believe that stuttering has and often still holds us back from our true potential – especially in a society in which we are often commoditized. We agreed that we need to find ways to grieve this shame and idea of fluency in order to move forward, and it is groups like this where we can allow ourselves the space to learn how to do so.

In another group, the topic came up with introducing ourselves at work, specifically when a new hire shows up at the office. One member expressed how he likes to make people feel welcome and comfortable and values introductions, but sometimes puts them off. The group expressed how it is important to keep a few things in mind when processing this sort of behavior. Being too hard on yourself, like if you do not always go up to someone to introduce yourself and then feel bad about it, probably will not be a super helpful feeling to carry around with you. It is also important to try to distinguish what your current behavior actually is. Are you not going up to introduce yourself during the first day of each new hire, or do you actually avoid all introductions at all costs – or are you somewhere in the middle? The point is, sometimes we focus on just the one side of things, many time the negatives, and we do not give enough credit to ourselves when it is due. tl;dr: Love yourself and screw introductions.

See you all soon!

Stavro and Manhattan Chapter Co-Leaders

July Meeting Recap

July Meeting 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!

March Meeting Recap

March Meeting Recap

We hope to see you all tonight, Monday, April 16th, for our April Meeting. And for those of you who didn’t make it out last month, here is a recap of our meeting.

We had a turnout of about 30 of us, and as usual, we split into 3 smaller groups to discuss what was on our mind.

One first-timer started out the night by sharing that he recently has had to do a lot public speaking at work. It’s become something habitual and he is able to stutter and get through the presentation without the shame and anxiety that we can so often feel when stuttering. The same first-timer also shared that with all this public speaking, he has become more open and vulnerable at work. Some of us can probably relate to this.

Another topic that was brought up was how we verbalize our experiences. The way we talk about our stuttering story can often be so telling to who we are and where we are in our journey. It is so interesting to look back into different times of our life and compare how we talked about stuttering then, to how we talk about stuttering now.

The talk about our stuttering journey then brought us to discuss the balance of pushing ourselves vs. being self-passionate to ourselves. We ended the group talking about this feeling of camaraderie and comfort we feel when we are around other people who stutter. It really is an unexplainable connection that we all have with one another. But the true task that many of us face is how do we feel this kind of psychological safety in a room full of people who don’t stutter.

Another group talked about how stuttering can sometimes become the sole focus..to a fault. For example, one person shared how he went on a job interview and was so worried about not stuttering and being fluent that he totally forgot to plan and prepare for the interview. He didn’t get the job. He was laughing because now in retrospect, but his point was that stuttering can overtake everything if you let it.

In one of the groups, we decided to do some job interview role-playing. We experimented with how it felt to advertise to our interviewer, and how it felt to not advertise. As many of you know, the job interview is a topic that comes up almost every month, and taking the opportunity to experiment with this can be an effective way for some of our attendees to experiment with the different feelings we may encounter during our job hunt.


Announcements

Women’s Group Recap:
A big thank you to all who attended our inaugural women’s group on Monday, March 5! 12 of us sat together, ate Ruffles and discussed gender, group dynamics, stuttering and more. Couldn’t make it? Don’t worry, we hope to host it a few times a year. We also talked about what we want to see more of, one of which is discussions or events that center the different identities, ages, and experiences that make up our community in NYC. Have other ideas for dynamic events in NYC? Email us!
– Roisin, Spring, Chaya, Emma

Improv Group
Our very own Marc Winski will be leading an improv workshop on Sunday, April 29th.
Did your heart just pound a little by reading something that had to do with ‘acting’ or ‘improvisation?’ Have you ever seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? and thought….”Wow, this is hilarious!!”? Come for an afternoon of judgement-free exploration and improvisation. “But Marc, I’m not an actor…” NOT TO WORRY. This is for everyone! This will introduce you to the the freeing benefits of “I don’t give a damn” and the lasting effects it can have on your daily life (including stuttering)! Click here for more details.

When I Stutter: Screen Film
Screening of the award-winning documentary, WHEN I STUTTER, followed by a Q & A with the Director/Co-Writer, John Gomez and Co-Writer, Scott Palasik. WHEN I STUTTER is a documentary that reveals the humanity that exists within an often mysterious malady. Over the course of 4.5 years, 19 people shared stories about how stuttering has impacted their lives. These stories run the gamut of human emotion… Some are dark, some are funny and others are triumphant! Additionally, there are “educational vignettes” interspersed throughout the documentary to help illuminate some of the mysteries surrounding stuttering.

Manhattan Meeting
Tonight! Same time same place. We hope to see you. Click here for the details.

January Meeting Recap

January Meeting Recap

Thank you to all who joined us last Monday, on a cold Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We had two first-timers, welcome to you both, about 25 participants in total, and all of us where PWS (people who stutter). We weren’t sure if we had enough attendees to split up into three groups, but as people kept on coming in during our introductions, we decided three groups would be just fine. Here is some, but not all, of what the groups discussed:

Stuttering and our identity
One conversation that came up had to do with a few different aspects of what stuttering means to us. For those of us heavily involved in the stuttering world professionally outside of the meetings, how do we (or can we?) draw lines around our “stuttering selves” and our “true selves”? Is part of our personality and identity tied to stuttering, while other parts of our personality and identity remain completely separate? Or is every part of ourselves united with every other part somehow? This then led to a conversation of how stuttering has shaped us. For example, some of us proposed that stuttering has built our character or made us better people. Others expressed their belief that our character is probably independent of stuttering.

Knowing when we’re going to stutter
And we talked about how our attitudes about our stuttering can affect us.  Disfluency often triggers negative emotions in ourselves so quickly that we don’t recognize in the moment that they are really separate things. When stuttering leads immediately and automatically to self-criticism, stuttering is really painful. The emotions are so painful that we often avoid speaking situations altogether, but that avoidance often fuels our negative emotions. One of our first-timers brought up the question whether we can predict our own stuttering? She wishes she had less awareness so that she could speak more spontaneously because when she does feel a stuttering coming on, she finds it difficult to continue talking and saying what she wants since she knows she’s going to stutter. We then shared about how helpful advertising can be in this situation. However, whether we want to advertise or not is up to us and how it makes us feel.

When we have some distance from our emotions, and can separate our stuttering from our reaction to it, and can have some compassion for ourselves, stuttering is not as painful. On the other hand, it’s also important not to push ourselves too hard and too fast. Sometimes it might be ok to avoid a difficult situation if we don’t have the emotional energy to deal with it at the moment.

Excluding ourselves as barrier from achieving a goal
Another member brought up how he was contemplating on whether he should pursue a potential professional opportunity, which would involve quite a bit of speaking. But it seemed, at least to him, that there were one or two reasons as to why things wouldn’t pan out, as he was discussing this with the group. Many of us people who stutter have also found ourselves in this position, coming up with reasons (maybe even excuses), since the road we’ll take on pursuing a goal may be painful one at times, and maybe it is just that it is easier to stay in our comfort zone, at least for now. Another member expressed how she has similarly been in somewhat of an idle state with pursuing a different job, but recently she’s had a shift of mentalities. She expressed, if someone will prevent her from achieving a goal, it will no longer be her, but instead it will have to be someone else. There are already too many obstacles we all face in life, why act as one yourself?

Thank you again for all those who made it out. Many of us then made it out to our usual hangout spot, Juniper, right after for a drink and some catching up. Until next time.

Announcements:

Exciting Research Project
Do you want to help people who stutter and participate in science, and get paid for it? Participants will be compensated $40 for Experiment 1 and up to $100 for Experiment 2. Additionally, subjects will be reimbursed for train travel to/from Yale University, if applicable. You can participate in one or both experiments. Please view details here, and reach out Dr. Eric S. Jackson at eric.s.jackson@nyu.edu for any questions.

Next Brooklyn meeting
The next Brooklyn meeting will be at their regular time and place. That’s always a great group, so if you’re looking for some more support, or if you’d like to meet some new people in our community, definitely join them. More info can be found here.

February Women’s Meeting
Thursday, February 8, from 7-9pm, at our Manhattan location. Stay tuned for more details!

Next Manhattan meeting
Next meeting will not be on our regular 3rd Monday of the Month, because of President’s Day, but instead, it will be on the 3rd Wednesday, February 21. Also, for anyone who may not have noticed, as soon as you get out of the elevator door, there is a big whiteboard with info of the room that we’ll be in.

Staying in touch
If you’re interested in staying in touch with events happening in the NYC stuttering community, check out our Facebook Page here, and our Facebook Group here. We’ll have a February outing, and Facebook is the place to find out about that.

Research Opportunity

Research Opportunity

Researchers at NYU and Yale are conducting a joint research project which examines the brains of people who stutter during social interaction. We are seeking adults who stutter for two experiments. Both experiments use functional near-infrared spectroscopy to monitor changes in brain activity during a series of simple tasks (e.g., reading aloud, talking to the researcher). The experiments are safe and non-invasive, and involve wearing a stretchy cap with light emitters and sensors. Experiment 1 will take place at NYU and Experiment 2 will take place at Yale. Both experiments will last approximately 60 minutes.

Participants will be compensated $40 for Experiment 1 and up to $100 for Experiment 2. Additionally, subjects will be reimbursed for train travel to/from Yale University, if applicable. You can participate in one or both experiments.

If you are interested in participating in either study, please contact Dr. Eric S. Jackson at eric.s.jackson@nyu.edu.