Meetings online have become our normal way to meet now and this is showing on the attendees we have been having. On our last meeting we welcomed a new member. At this meeting we had 3 new members!
We spent time introducing ourselves and getting to know our new members. As always, new topics develop as we talk. This time we talked a lot about shame. We agreed that no matter how accepting we are of our stuttering, the feeling of shame never leaves us completely. Sometimes is worse with strangers because we feel pressure to make a good first impression. But other times is worse when we stutter in front of friends and family because we feel we are disappointing our loved ones.
We realized that we don’t have to prove anything to anyone except to ourselves. One person mentioned that he made a lot of progress on his fluency when he realized that he was his only audience. If the talked just focusing on himself as his audience, he could forget everybody else. We don’t usually stutter when we talked to ourselves. So he too pretended that he was talking to himself when talking to others.
We also talked about shaking things up and practicing being uncomfortable. You can create situations that are uncommon as a way to practice to deal with them. That way when something unexpected happens that is beyond your control, you can react to it better.
Lastly, we talked about interviewing for a job and difficult it is now that a lot of the conversations are over the phone or on a video call.
We finished with the closing words. It was great to meet our new members!
After the Welcoming Words we introduced ourselves since we have a new member attend. A few of us shared that we have noticed an increase on our stutter recently. We wondered if the lack of socializing due to the coronavirus lock down restrictions has had an impact. Is it the lack of practice? is it that we are talking more on the phone and less person-to-person?
One of our members has graduated from college and is looking for a job. We talked about interviewing and whether he is planning to advertise his stutter to potential employers. He is very comfortable doing that and he does plan to let them know. We talked about how to advertise in other situations too.
One of our members was teaching a class about stuttering in the graduate program of Salus University. A few of us participated last month on one of his class projects in which his students interviewed us individually to learn more about stuttering. The sessions were short but we were able to provide a lot of information to the students.
A reminder to everyone about the upcoming NSA @Home Conference.
We continue with our virtual Zoom meetings and it is still not clear when we will be able to resume in person meetings. But everyone has been enjoying the virtual calls. We are seeing chapter members that have not been able to join us in a long time due to the distance or schedule conflicsts.
We took a poll on whether coffee affects our stuttering and the results were mixed. It does to some of us and it doesn’t to others.
We also talked about whether we introduce ourselves and say our name when we make a phone call. I always say it at the beginning but other don’t to say their name if they don’t have to.
We talked about the recent NSA Lounge meetings on Friday nights. They have been a lot of fun. We played online games, karaoke, or just chill in a chat room and make friends with other NSAers from around the country. Going forward, the NSA Lounge will be held the last Friday of the month. Stay tuned for the schedule and the link!
Last Tuesday, members from the Philadelphia, South Jersey and Atlantic chapters participated in the Panel of People Who Stutter at La Salle University. This panel is part of the curriculum for the Speech Language Pathologist Graduate Program. It is a great opportunity for us to educate future SLPs on what it means to be a person who stutters.
This year the panel took place online but it was as fun and engaging as it ever was in person. The students had a lot of questions and we ran out of time to answer more.
I received the following message from the professor, Dr James Mancinelli:
“The students are still raving about the panel experience. Their comments include praise for the panel members’ courage and growth that developed through self-help groups like yours. They now see how a self-help model like the NSA’s facilitates social involvement, communicative confidence, and authenticity among its members. One student commented, “The panel brought it all together for me. Now I get it.” They have been listening to me blab on since January but it wasn’t until the panel experience did they connect stuttering with real people living real lives.
On a personal note, I want to thank you for your flexibility and willingness to participate in the clinical education of our students. The benefits they reaped are immeasurable.”
Thank you very much to Katherine Filer, Maria Turner, Jim McFarlane, Mykia Daniels and Nick Bruno for sharing their experiences and feelings with the students. We hope that activities like this will help broaden their understanding about stuttering and make them better clinicians.
This was our third online meeting and it was another fun event.
We were joined by Tammy Flores, the NSA Executive Director and Mandy Finstad, the NSA Projects Director. They gave us an update on steps the NSA is taking to keep everyone involved and engaged through online meetings.
We talked about how Covid-19 stay-at-home mandate is affecting all of us. In particular, we talked about the impact of having to talk through a mask when we go outside. The mask makes difficult to see people’s expressions. If the listeners cannot see us blocking, how do they know we are having difficulty speaking? For some of us, wearing the mask makes it easier to talk, while others think it is harder. Sometimes it feels like we are shouting through the mask.
There are students in our group that are taking lessons online. However, internships, clinical rotations and other activities that requiring in-person interactions cannot take place.
We were relieved to learn that family members of one of our attendees had fully recovered from Covid-19.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those that are suffering the physical or economic effect of the coronavirus. We hope that we can return to the new normal very soon safe and sound.
Yesterday, we had our first chapter meeting online and it was a great success! We were a total of 9 people, more than we get at a regular meeting. It gave an opportunity to attend to people we had not seen in a very long time. Also, we had two attendees from the South Jersey chapter. We used Google Hangouts and no one had issues connecting into the call. We took turns at reading the Welcoming Words at the beginning and we read the Closing Words together at the end. We talked a lot about the coronavirus and how it is impacting our lives, our jobs and everything around us. It was a great meeting and we all enjoyed it. It went so well that it was proposed we hold an online meeting on a regular basis once our schedule goes back to normal and we will definitely do that. For now, the NSA has declared all on-site chapter meetings cancelled through April. We will have the next two scheduled chapter meetings online. I will send the links for each meeting as the date gets closer. I encourage anyone that has not been able to come to a chapter meeting in a long time to join us online. Some of you that move out of the Philadelphia area but are still on our mailing list, join us and let’s catch up. The next two meetings will be online at 7:00 PM:
Thursday, April 2
Tuesday, April 21
Stay safe and take care of yourselves and your families. Carmen
I am very pleased to announce that on Saturday November 7, the NSA and Temple University will host a One-Day NSA Conference in Philadelphia!
The event will take place at Temple University Main Campus in Center City Philadelphia. Now that the date and location are confirmed, we will start the process of defining the workshops and activities.
Nothing has been decided yet but I can tell you that the plan is to have simultaneous tracks, such as one for adults, one for children/tweens and possibly one for family/friends. In addition, there will be a few sessions that will provide CEU credits for speech language pathologist. We are also looking into screening the move “When I Stutter”.
Please hold the date and stay tuned for more updates! Carmen
After a slow start, this was our first meeting of the year at Temple University. We had a newcomer and a couple of regulars.
We read the Welcoming Words and went through introductions and check-ins. The new member shared information about himself and we talked a lot about issues with phone conversations.
We watched the video of the last Democratic Townhall with Joe Biden in which a woman asked him for his advice to young people who stutter. You can watch it here:
It seemed clear to us that he stutters voluntarily in some key moments to make a point. This is something you don’t see frequently when famous people talk about their stutter while they talk fluently.
One key takeaway from what Joe Biden says is that you cannot let stuttering define you. We started talking about how this applies to each of us. Does stuttering define you?
It has certainly influenced our lives. We all agree that it has made us more empathetic to people with other disabilities. But it has also been a source of frustration and held us back from being good communicators.
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!