We were four in attendance at our second meeting at La Salle University. Our sponsor, Giovanni’s Pizzeria, provided two pizza pies once more!
We had a new attendee, Jennifer, Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at La Salle, who is a person who stutters. She is very fluent but struggles with some words (“statistics”). She finds that she tends to be more physical and uses gestures to help her through her blocks.
Arsen and Mitch had just come back from the NSA conference and they shared their experience with us. It was Arsen’s first conference and he had never met so many people who stuttered before. It was something he used to avoid and now it was as if he was looking at himself in the mirror. He feels that he is ready to open up more to others about his stuttering.
Mitch and I talked about Alzheimer’s: The Musical, the play we are rehearsing with other chapter members. We are in the thick of rehearsals and starting to work on our songs. I have been observing myself and notice that I am fluent if the scene develops naturally, but when the director makes me stop and start in the middle, I start stuttering in places where I never did before.
We also talked about our goals. I am focusing more on the play and how my stuttering evolves with it. Mitch wants to do more voluntary stuttering around some new people he has met. Arsen would like to focus more on eye contact. He will practice using a technique he learned at this year’s NSA conference: use a mirror and looki at yourself while you talk on the phone with someone else. Jennifer wants to not be fearful or certain words.
Towards the end of the meeting Mitch introduced us to Stutter Social. The conference room at La Salle has a great multimedia set up with video camera, large screen and computer. Mitch had agreed to host a post-conference meeting and he was one of three people hosting a virtual room. Several people joined our session and they could all see us in the room. It was very interesting and fun.