Make Room For The Stuttering

Speaking Of Courage – Episode 28

Posted on: October 1, 2010

Episode 28 features Carolina Ayala,who hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Carolina works supporting people with intellectual disabilities. She is passionate about putting a positive spin on the label”disability”, and shares her personal perception of stuttering as a disability.

Carolina attended York University in Toronto and fulfilled the requirements in 2009 for a Master of Arts  in the graduate program in Critical Disability Studies. She wrote a thesis research paper on stuttering, identity and acceptance.

I met Carolina at a NSA Conference in New Jersey in 2008, but really got to know her better this year at the NSA Conference in Cleveland. We spent a lot of time talking and she gave me a copy of her thesis research paper. I read it over the summer and asked Carolina to consider sharing her story in this forum.

Listen in as we discuss self image, friends and fitting in, discrimination, authenticity, or as Carolina puts it, being robbed of her true self. Carolina also discusses her role as a child in a documentary about stuttering called “Speaking of Courage.” And she reminds us of the importance of “listen to what I say, not how I say it.”

Credit for the podcast safe music “Scott Waves to April’s Salty Grace” goes to ccMixter.

Feel free to leave comments. Carolina would be especially interested if anyone would like to further discuss her thesis research on stuttering as related to a disability. She welcomes feedback or questions.


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8 Responses to "Speaking Of Courage – Episode 28"

Thanks for giving me a voice & forum!

Carolina…What a great interview! You are who you are and you don’t hold anything back! I really admire how you stick up for yourself and demand respect. You are a great portrayal of how i would like to be as a women who stutters. I need to demand the respect i deserve, just like you did!
All the best, Rebecca

Thanks Rebecca…I’m a little late but better late than never :)

Great podcast, but oh man that taxi story was hard to listen to. That’s one of the things I fear–if I am ever in an emergency situation where it is imperative for me to speak and I will not able to get the words out. You definitely did the right thing by talking to a supervisor, though, and I think the supervisor did the right thing by letting that woman go. Let’s just hope she learns from this and does not “seek revenge” on other stutterers–but hey, if her livelihood means anything to her, she should not.

I also sat down to talk to the supervisor of a worker in my college cafeteria after he smirked and laughed a little as I tried to order and after I looked him straight in the eye and said, matter-of-factly, “I stutter,” he smirked some more and said “I know.” After that, I really knew there was no more to be done with a person like that, so I finished ordering, filled out a complaint form, and a couple of days later was invited to talk to the supervisor about the situation. She said she gave her entire cafeteria staff a reminder about how to treat people with disabilities, so that was good enough for me.

Even though some people might see it as petty or vindictive, it is totally not that way. I don’t like complaining about people or taking extra time to contact supervisors, but it is so important for us to speak out against these injustices, however little (and yours was quite a big one), so that yet another person is educated and that lessens the likelihood of it happening again.

@Cheryl: you reacted really like a “grande dame” with this supid worker in the cafeteria. I wonder how you could stay so calm. He deserved to be slapped in public. And then, fired.

This applies to Carolina’s taxi story too, but obviously -and to my dismay- you can’t slap someone over the phone.

It’s always great to hear my friends on podcasts :) And a great interview it was.

@Cheryl: You’re right. I tend to dismiss people like the one in the taxi story and your cafeteria story as idiots and go on with my day but it is important that we take the time to contact supervisors. As Carolina said, we need to educate.

Indeed it’s as if the title of that documentary has been designed for Carolina. Again, a very inspiring interview, with lots of deep insight.

I liked in particular the part where Carolina explains about the voice she takes using speech techniques is not really her voice. That’s very deep, and it makes me think a lot.

Carolina, may I ask you how you came to that realisation? And whether there are times where you prefer using that other voice even if it is not yours?

Hi Burt…I am just seeing this now. I would like to chat with you on FB about this, if you are still interested. Thanks for listening!

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2014.
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