January Meeting

January Meeting

Thank you to all for coming out last Monday, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 
Chaya kicked things off and we started the night by reading the NSA welcoming words. Then we went around the room and introduced ourselves, which is always optional. We learned what each of our favorite winter drinks were, and we also got to meet five awesome first-timers – a special welcome to you guys for making it out! We then split into two groups, and below is a bit of what we discussed during the following hour.

In the one group, we discussed the different goals we had when it comes to our speech, and it was clear early on, there were different goals in the room. Some members wanted to allow themselves to stutter more openly, whereas others were instead hoping to learn more about techniques in order to not stutter. Although these goals can be quite opposite ones from one another, we were all united in coming out to the meeting, and in learning and supporting one another. We live in a fluent world and for most of us, we were taught that stuttering was unacceptable. How would our lives be different today if we heard stuttering in the media, out in public, from celebrities, or from an uncle of ours who stuttered openly, maybe even who stuttered proudly? How would we view our stuttering today if a parent or a sibling of ours convinced our 8-year-old self that our voice was just as important as their fluent voice, regardless of its fluency? We may never know the answers to these questions, but we have one another now to explore these issues and to move forward in a way that works best for us.

In the other group, we talked about how stuttering on the job can be tough. One member expressed a recent challenge as they are transitioning from intern to full-time employee with increased responsibilities such as presenting. Stuttering at work is an issue that comes up almost during every meeting, as all of us are well aware that with work usually comes communication. This is particularly challenging during a moment when you may not only have to prove yourself to your co-workers but may even have to educate them about this thing we call stuttering. Group members were encouraging, sharing their experiences of being the ‘newbie’ and how they made it through the tough challenges that arose at the workplace.

Thank you for reading our recap. Also, a reminder that our next meeting, our February meeting, will not be held on our regular 3rd Monday of the month, since this day falls on Presidents’ Day. Instead, we will be holding the meeting the following day on Tuesday, February 18th.  

December Recap

December Recap

Thank you all for coming out last Monday, on a cold dark wintery evening, which also happened to be our last meeting of 2019! And thank you to Tammy, our executive director of the NSA who came by and dropped off some super delicious holiday treats! One of our members had seven cookies, that’s right seven! But there were plenty to go around. 🙂 

Per usual, we started off the group with our opening words, and then intros which are always optional. And we met three first-timers to our group – a special welcome to them for taking a very important step in their stuttering journey! We then split up into two groups, and below is a bit of what we discussed.

In the one group, we talked about the idea of vulnerability and confidence as it pertains to our stuttering. We posed the question of whether confidence helps us be more authentic with how we view our stuttering, or if the act of deciding to be vulnerable in situations is what makes us more authentic. Some of us had slightly different definitions of the two, but we largely agreed that the two are related, and that this issue is far from binary. Many of us are faced with many opportunities throughout the day that test us, and give us the opportunity to be vulnerable. In turn, is it these little situations that can often lead to us being more confident. We also agreed that we don’t consistently have to put ourselves out there, and by not doing so, this doesn’t mean we have failed ourselves.

In the other group, we talked a lot about advertising and what it means to us. Sometimes, advertising can be very powerful and can provide us with a sense of security in our stuttered voices. While other times, our internalized shame can feel too overwhelming and not even advertising can help make us feel safe. We asked questions like do we feel freedom when we advertise. What do we want to feel free from when we advertise? It is always changing. Sometimes, we advertise to feel free from the pressure to be fluent. While other times, we advertise to simply just acknowledge this part of ourselves.

And an upcoming event organized by our very own Kunal!
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Mock Interview Event
January 21st from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Whether you’re looking for a new job or want to work on your interview skills, this event is worth checking out. It’s specifically for people who stutter, and it’s being organized by Kunal, one of our members. Reach out to Kunal to sign up or ask questions: kunal_mahajan@smbcgroup.com


Happy Holidays to everyone celebrating during these next few weeks, and a Happy New Year to All! We look forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks, in 2020!
– Stavro and NSA Manhattan co-leaders
Nov. Recap & Holiday Party & Mock Interview!

Nov. Recap & Holiday Party & Mock Interview!

Hey All,

We hope you all are doing well. We’d like to include an abbreviated summary of our last month’s meeting, and also mention some announcements right below that.

November Meeting Recap
We chatted about the mini traumas stuttering inflicts and how skilled therapy supports the process of healing. As many of us know firsthand, speech therapy has come a long way since the days when many of us were told to do all type of bizarre things, in order to be fluent. The group talked about the benefits of today’s therapy where mindfulness, facing fear and social support (therapeutic and otherwise) can provide.

The second groups talked about some very interesting topics. But the thing is, I wasn’t there that night. Of course I reached out to the facilitators of each group, asking them what they talked, but I did that 3 weeks after the meeting. Could they have reached out to me with their recaps? Yes, they could have. Did they? Well, let me put it to you this way. You are reading this. I got back some obscure texts about how group B talked about dating. What am I going to do with that? If you are reading this, and if you read these recaps every month, I promise you, we’ll do a much better job next time around and jot down some notes of what each group talked right after the meeting, while things are fresh in our minds so we can then share with you all.

Holiday Party
We’re holding our Holiday Party this Saturday, December 14th, from 7 to about 11 p.m. Friends and family very welcome. It’s at the same location as last year: the Ivy Tower (a high-rise building at 350 West 43rd Street, on 43rd between Eighth and Ninth avenues), in the Ivy Club Room. An NSA member generously provided the space!! Thank you again David!

Feel free to bring any snacks or wine/beer (we’ll have cups and plates), but no pressure — you can come solo, or better yet, bring a plus one. We will have this large space to ourselves for the entire evening, and there is no cost. Instructions upon arriving at building: Tell the doorman or concierge that you are going to the Ivy Club Room for the NSA party, and you’re a guest of David Friedman. You can also text Stavro (570.269.1154) if you need anything upon arriving.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Mock Interview Event
January 21st from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Whether you’re looking for a new job or want to work on your interview skills, this event is worth checking out. It’s specifically for people who stutter, and it’s being organized by Kunal, one of our members. Stay tuned for details or reach out to Kunal to sign up or ask questions: kunal_mahajan@smbcgroup.com
November Meeting Reminder

November Meeting Reminder

Hope to see you all at the Manhattan meeting this evening – same place  and same time. And in case you weren’t there, here is our recap from our October meeting.

One group discussed that insecure feeling when starting a new job and attempting to be social. We discussed feelings of being an impostor in a new field, trying to maintain social standing while “putting yourself out there,” and trying to tackle job responsibilities while trying to show you are capable. Throughout this conversation, the stuttering experience crept in. The feeling of needing to be more, the feeling of not being able or capable to interest others in a conversation, the feeling of being disfluent when meeting new people. In quite a natural way, the conversation shifted to what fluency meant to each of us. Some of us shared our experiences with trying to shape our speaking towards some ideal of fluency, and we ended on how chasing that dragon prevented us from being comfortable in our own skin.

In another group, we also talked about work, specifically about the internationalization of stuttering and how it affects our confidence in the workplace. For too many of us, we are still finding ways to heal our emotional trauma from our youth. Coupled with the strive for perfection and exhaustion in the workplace, it is hard to balance and stay mindful of covert behavior and toxic self-talk. We are constantly interacting with the fluent world, so we spent some time validating our feelings and reactions to stuttering. In the end, we agreed that we can change the way we react to stuttering. We focus on what we gain as people who stutter – honesty, empathy, grit, and so much more. And through some self-compassion, resilience, and time, we let go a little more each time.

And in the last group, we spent most of the evening  doing some role playing. During our meetings we often talk about all the benefits of advertising (self-disclosing) but we don’t usually do this during the meetings. So we did just that. We took turns being the person who stutters and being the fluent strangers in the scene. We had patient and not so patient characters, and even an obnoxious ones during the skits. This group was a safe environment where we were able to plan the skit, put ourselves in the position of how it looks and feels like to stutter and advocate, or not advocate, for yourself, and then debrief thereafter. We’ll be doing these role-playing sessions more regularly moving forward. 

Holiday Party

We’re very excited to announce that on Saturday, December 14th we’ll be having our Holiday Party! It will be held at the same place we had our New Year Get Together last January – at the Resident Lounge of an apartment building called Ivy Tower, at 350 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan. Many thanks to our good friend David Friedman for securing this lovely, large space for us! Tell the doorman or concierge you are going to the Ivy Club Room or to the NSA party or that you’re a guest of David Friedman. We’ll send out more details about this event as the date nears. 

June Recap | July Beach Outing

June Recap | July Beach Outing

Last Monday, the 17th, about 35 of us came together for our June meeting, and it was one of our largest gatherings to date. There was a dedicated SLP student who came to learn, and the rest of us were people who stutter looking to share and connect with one another. After the opening words and introductions, we split up into 3 smaller groups. We did something different this time, and for one of the groups we had an impromptu workshop led by one of our co-leaders, Chaya, who is presenting the same workshop at an upcoming conference in Iceland. About 10 members volunteered to try something different and join Chaya! The workshop focused on identifying and celebrating the current successes in life and used that as a platform for healing from the past. As one may expect, it turned out to be a meaningful and touching experience for those who participated. 

In another group, we discussed how it can sometimes feel like all the hard work we’ve put into accepting ourselves as people who stutter can be undone in an instant when we revert to feelings of shame in reaction to a listener’s disrespectful response to our speech, and about how it might be worth remembering at those times that such feelings of shame are happening less often and for shorter duration and with less intensity and that the hard work we are putting into accepting ourselves is actually paying off after all. We’re sorry for the run-on sentence here. Sometimes this sort of thing happens. We’re a volunteer based chapter, and are human, just like you. We also discussed the positive aspects of stuttering and a number of other topics as well, in this same group.

And in the last group, the topic of control came up, as it often does, as it pertains to stuttering. A couple of members in the group expressed that they often didn’t see any sort of pattern when it came to their frequency of stuttering. On some days, or in specific situations, there was just more struggle and hardly any sense of control. Another member expressed what usually worked for him in hopes of achieving control and  shared an example. When meeting someone for the first time, he explained that he would try to introduce himself first in order to take the pressure off of having to say his name on command. And if he were to then stutter on his name, he would simply just make a joke about it. Although the following didn’t come up during our group, many of us would consider an attempt to control the flow of an interaction as an avoidance technique, and joking about your stuttering, of course, doesn’t sit very well with others. In any case, the group, and this conversation was a constant reminder that we are all different, we have different goals, we’re on different paths, and we all stutter differently. 


July Beach Outing
On July 14th a group of us will be making the trek down to Coney Island, at noon (until 4pm) for a little beach action. A couple of us will bring drinks and some snacks, but also feel free to bring whatever you’d like – and feel free to email (manhattanStutters@gmail.com) if you’d like to coordinate. A few of us may decide to stroll over for a Nathan’s hotdog at some point as well, or to any of the many eateries nearby. The exact location of our meetup at noon will be shared as the day approaches, so stay tuned for that!

NSA Annual Conference
If you are thinking about going and have never been to the NSA Conference before, you should definitely try to make it to this one. Go to the NSA site for more details, and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

NYC NSA Chapters
Brooklyn Meeting: Their meetings are on the 2nd Monday of the month. 
Bronx Chapter: Their meetings are on the 4th Tuesday of the month.
Queens Chapter: Their meetings are usually on the 1st Monday of the month. 

Women’s Group
If you’re a woman and you’re reading this, and you would like to be around more women who stutter during these support group, instead of 32 other male dudes, guess what? You’re not alone! Fortunately, our community has some amazing women, and you can join them during our next women’s group – organized and run by women. This meeting will most likely be sometime in July, so please stay tuned for the specific date. Also, please email us if you have any thoughts on how we may be able to improve attendance among women in our community. We’re always looking to learn from you all, and hear ANY feedback.