Make Room For The Stuttering

Check out this great panel of strong women who stutter engaging in a conversation to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Pam


Episode 114 features Courtney Luckman who hails from Virginia, and presently lives in Chicago, Illinois. Courtney is a research intern at Lincoln Park Zoo, working as a primate behavior monitor. She is doing Great Ape behavioral research.

Courtney also has a part-time hostess job at an area restaurant and for fun enjoys reading and working on a memoir of her stuttering journey.

Listen in as we talk about why Courtney chose her career path. She never felt connected to people because of her stuttering, but could talk fluently to animals. She always knew she wanted to work with animals for her career.

Courtney also talks about pushing out of comfort zones, stuttering well, advertisement, control and the National Stuttering Association.

Courtney was influenced in different ways by John Harrison and Alan Badmington, who both were featured on my “men who stutter” podcast!

We also talk about the journey Courtney is taking by writing her book and how she realizes that she has had many moments that have shaped the person she has become.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter. Feel free to leave comments below. Feedback is a gift.

At a recent Stutter Social Hangout,  I had the chance to witness a powerful moment of courage. It was two weeks ago, but the impact still resonates.

Real quick, a hangout is a virtual group video chat where up to 10 people can talk with each other about stuttering, or anything for that matter.

I host a Hangout every other Sunday, which lasts for 90 minutes. People are free to “come in” when they can, and stay as long as they wish. There are no time pressures.

As a host, I try to welcome people as they come in, and if they are new, facilitate introductions, just like we would at a real-time support group.

As we know, introductions can be very stressful for those of us who stutter. The pressure may be magnified for some because we use microphones and video.

A newcomer, Sydney, joined the hangout and during a lull, I welcomed her and asked her to introduce herself to the group of about 8.

Sydney found herself in a mighty, stubborn block as she attempted to say her name and where she was from.  We could see her effort and struggle as she stopped and started several times. The darn block was digging in its heels. Sydney stayed with it, for several minutes, and maintained eye contact and a smile.

You could feel the energy of the 8 of us who waited  for Sydney. That energy seemed to fuel Sydney as she stayed courageously in the moment and waited out the block and she told us her name and where she is from.

Sydney smiled, we all smiled and we carried on in conversation.

What a moment of courage! Maybe not to the average person who doesn’t stutter, but it was. A powerful moment of courage and self-truth.

It would have been so easy for Sydney to give in and not stay with it.  But at that moment, Sydney showed the rest of us a quiet moment of grit, persistence and courage. And she won – not that darn block!

I was glad I was there to see it. Go Sydney!

(Author’s note: Sydney gave me permission to write about this and to use her name.)

Pam


Episode 113 features Sarah Onofri who hails from Boston, MA. Sarah is an elementary ESL teacher, a Girl Scout leader and is also on the Board of Directors of the National Stuttering Association.

Sarah talks about how she got into teaching and how she handles her stuttering when it comes up with her students. Sarah was introduced to a teacher who stutters when she was 16 at her first NSA conference, which really reinforced to Sarah that she could indeed be a teacher.

Listen in as we talk about advertising, acceptance and actually talking about stuttering, which Sarah never did when she was young.

We talk about her early speech therapy experiences and how she first learned about the NSA. Sarah also talks the bond she and her mom have formed after attending annual conferences together.

Feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

He-Stutters


It’s been a while since I hosted a conversation with a guy about stuttering. So, I’m delighted to bring you today’s show.

Episode 20 of the conversations with men who stutter features Oli Cheadle, who hails from South London, in the UK. Oli is a student at University College London, studying to be a speech language therapist. He enjoys music, playing the guitar and singing.

We discuss the speech therapy that Oli had as an adult that strongly impacted how he really feels about his stuttering. He has decided that he wants to work with people that stutter once he is qualified.

We also discuss Oli’s interest in mindfulness. He runs two blogs about mindfulness – about stuttering and walking. Oli describes what mindfulness is and how helpful it is to be more aware and get into the moment of stuttering when it happens. Oli is currently on a clinical placement with a speech therapist who is well known for using mindfulness in the UK.

Oli shares how he has been influenced by Ellen-Marie Silverman’s book Mindfulness & Stuttering: Using Eastern Strategies to Speak with Greater Ease. He also references a book titled Stammering Therapy from the Inside, for which his placement supervisor wrote a chapter.

This was a great conversation that only scratched the surface about mindfulness. We were both so amazed how quickly the time flew.

Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Feedback is a gift and is encouraged.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

When I was asked to be a Stutter Social Hangout host last July, I figured it would be something I’d try and do for about three months. I wasn’t sure I would like it and I also wasn’t sure if I could make the commitment to host every other week.

I’ve been hosting since August and find that I really like it. In fact, I find myself looking forward to it when my turn to host rolls around.

For those of you unsure what a Hangout is, here’s a quick description.

The Hangouts run through Google + Hangout software, which is free and easy to download. Using a computer or mobile device equipped with a microphone and some type of camera device, up to 10 people can meet up in a video conference and have a conversation about anything and everything.

It’s like having a support group that you don’t have to drive to. You can “hangout” from the comfort of your own home, car, office or where ever you are, and dress casually too. You can even wear your pajamas!

I like the diversity of people that come into the hangout sessions. In some of my hangouts, I’ve had people from as many as 6 different countries hanging out and talking at one time. We talk about stuttering, and lots of other things. Sometimes we don’t talk about stuttering at all.

But everybody stutters and everybody feels comfortable stuttering. It’s a safe and supportive environment to talk with other people. And you can come in to the group when you can, and leave when you have to. It’s a wonderful sense of support and camaraderie, among people who “get it.”

If you’re interested, visit the Stutter Social website for a calendar of when hangouts are held during the week.

I host every other Sunday, from 7:30-9:00pm, EDT. I host this Sunday. I’d love to see you there. It’s a great experience.

I just finished the excellent book Paperboy by Vince Vawter and couldn’t stop smiling.

Paperboy is the story of an 11-year-old boy who takes over his best friend’s paper route for a month during July in Memphis. Victor is happy to help his friend out, but secretly obsesses over having to communicate with customers when he collects the weekly fee.

Young Victor stutters and the author perfectly captures the feelings, fears and worries that come with being different. We are able to get right into Victor’s head as he practices speaking to some of his customers and as he fervently switches trouble words for words he can say without stuttering.

The author uses a unique style to depict dialogue throughout the story and conveys through words what Victor’s stuttered speech sounds and feels like.

This story will resonate with young people and adults who stutter, as it depicts a real life situation that all of us who stutter can relate to. Victor uses some speech therapy techniques to make his stuttering easier, and he also uses avoidance, which will be all too familiar to many of us who try to be covert!

Paperboy is the story of a kid who is a great baseball pitcher, a friend and a youngster who is learning how to communicate with adults, stand up for himself and learning about empathy.

We learn about his relationships with his parents, his Mam, his peers and the adults he encounters on his paper route. And we root for him as he finds himself in some tough situations and as he gradually becomes more self-aware.

This is a great book about stuttering, life and coming of age. It’s geared for young people, but adults (including parents of kids who of stutter) will love it too.

Put it on your reading list. You won’t be sorry!

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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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