Posts Tagged ‘advertising stuttering’
Episode 84 features Miranda Smith, who hails from Florence, Kentucky. Miranda is a full-time college student at Northern Kentucky University, studying computer information technology, with a minor in computer forensics. She also works as a waitress.
Listen in as we talk about how she got involved in the stuttering community, her feelings about stuttering, confidence and self-consciousness, and how she balances a very full plate. Well, waitresses are exceptionally good at that, right?
Miranda also talks about fund raising she has done for the National Stuttering Association and advertising she has done about stuttering. She shares how the “Stutter Like A Rock Star” bracelets were a big hit.
Even though I am the original “stutterrockstar” (@StutterRockStar on twitter and the url for this blog) it’s cool that Miranda took “stutterlikearockstar”as her email address. We are both making room for our stuttering and there is certainly enough room!
Please be sure to listen in and leave comments or questions for Miranda. Or just let her know what a great job she did.
The music clip used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.
A reader sent me this note recently. It made my day, so thought I would share it here with you!
We’ve never met before but we have something very much in common and that is we both stutter. This past year I’ve started on a new journey with my stutter as a friend instead of a monster. It feels so good. I’ve found your blog and podcast on the web and find it very intriguing. I was curious how you got started with that? What motivated you? It gives other PWS a chance to relate to how others cope and manage their stutter.
What I like is that you can listen to people who stutter carry on a conversation despite the stutter. That’s what gave me courage to keep moving forward. It gives us courage and hope. Keep it up.
Now I’m hoping to go to the NSA conference in Florida this year.
I wrote back to her and shared a little bit about how I got started with this blog and she wrote a little bit more about herself.She has never had much contact with others who stutter.
I am hoping she will indeed go to the NSA conference and make some strong and lasting connections.
Episode 83 features Nina G, the only female stuttering stand-up comic. Nina hails from Oakland, California. She has been doing stand up comedy for two years now, and making a real name for herself.
Nina believes comedy is artistic expression that is also a social change vehicle. Nina is a huge disability advocate, and hopes that people are thinking differently about stuttering due in part to her comedy and advocacy.
Nina recently auditioned for the television show America’s Got Talent. We talk about the how and why, and what motivated Nina to audition.
Nina shares in this conversation, as she has in previous episodes, that the only person she ever knew who stuttered publicly in the media was Stuttering John of the Howard Stern show. When Nina found out that Stern was a judge on the America’s Got Talent TV show, Nina decided that she wanted to try and interact with Howard Stern.
We also talk about the continued absence of role models who actually stutter in the media or high profile leadership positions.
Change is needed. Listen in as these two women who stutter share our feisty opinions on why women who stutter are needed as positive, visible role models.
Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Remember, feedback is a gift.
This was very interesting to me. In a very succinct way, this quick comment by a friend sums up the covert stuttering experience for some people.
A friend asked how my new job was going. I started a new position in mid November, something that is quite different for me and out of my area of expertise. Part of my responsibilities include providing resources and support to 15 adult education teachers.
In an email, my friend commented, “Wow Pam, you are amazing. You have to manage 15 staff and they let you stutter the way that you do. That is very inspirational.”
To me, this spoke volumes about how we hide our true selves, and how we feel about exposing our differences at work and in professional environments.
What do you think?
Episode 81 features Vivian Sisskin, who is a SLP and Board Recognized Specialist in Fluency Disorders. Vivian is on the clinical faculty at the University of Maryland. She has specialized in stuttering for over 30 years, and has “loved every minute of it.”
I have heard Vivian speak at a number of stuttering conferences over the last several years, and got the chance to really talk with her quite a bit at last year’s FRIENDS conference in Washington, DC. Vivian has also been very supportive and encouraging of this podcast that gives voice to the stories of women who stutter.
When I first heard Vivian present a session about her avoidance reduction therapy, I found I couldn’t get enough of it. Learning how to avoid avoidance behavior resonates strongly with covert stutterers, which I “thought I was” for many years.
I am privileged and honored to have Vivian as a guest, to share what avoidance reduction therapy is, why it is so powerful, and how she specifically approaches the work in therapy.
One of the themes Vivian shares in this powerful episode is change – the act of doing leads the way to change. Be sure to check in, and feel free to leave feedback.
Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.
A friend and I were at a tavern over the weekend. We were meeting in person for the first time, so I chose a place that I have been to before and is close to where he is living temporarily.
We had originally planned to meet at a coffee shop, but we changed up because it was so COLD the day we met and it was easier for my friend to just cross the street.
A tavern meant we could grab a beer together instead of just coffee.
When our waitress came over to take our orders, I stuttered on what I wanted, and she filled in the word for me. No biggie.
My friend blocked and stuttered, and she proceeded to finish the word for him as well. When they were done speaking, I piped up, “Hey,just want you to know, we both stutter, so you may hear a bit of that while we are here today.”
She responded back quickly, “Oh, so what would you prefer? Should I finish the words for you or would you rather I just patiently listen?”
I said I prefer that she be patient and allow me to say my own words, and then I said, “but I can’t speak for my friend. (Looking at him, I asked him) what do you prefer?”
He said, “the same thing, please patiently listen for me to finish my own words.”
I was so impressed with this little 45 second exchange. This waitress showed a respect, tolerance and understanding for difference that we often don’t see.
By bringing it out in the open the way I did (I hope I didn’t embarrass my friend!) we clearly advertised and educated.
And to me anyway, we got the by-product of a greater sense of permission to stutter away. Both of us seemed to stutter more freely for the remainder of our visit there. (Or maybe it was the alcohol. I’m not telling!)
What do you think?
Episode 79 features Jacquelyn Revere, 25, who hails from Los Angeles, CA. She is presently in NYC attending the The New School for Drama, and is in her last semester. She is getting her Master’s degree in Acting.
Jacquelyn has loved drama and acting from a young age. She stopped acting in high school though, thinking it wasn’t realistic. She switched her interest to entertainment law, where she interned with Johnnie Cochran (yes, O.J. Simpson’s lawyer!)
Her internship taught her that she did not want to be a lawyer! She changed her major to theater in her junior year of college, giving in to her heart’s passion.
Jacquelyn and I met one night through the Stutter Social Google hangout, then became Facebook friends, which led to this chat!
Jacquelyn discusses her speech therapy experiences – school based, which was not helpful and her experience with intensive therapy at the Hollins Institute.
I had no idea that Jacquelyn works with Lee, as I have been involved with FRIENDS and edit their newsletter, since 2008. What a small world! Jacquelyn found Lee through Taro Alexander, of Our Time, of which I am also familiar!
Jacquelyn discusses challenges and opportunities, advertising, stress, stuttering while acting and pity parties!
This was a great conversation with a confident, courageous young woman whom we will see on stage one day. Feel free to comment or ask questions. Feedback is a gift.
Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.
Don’t ask how it started, but she has become friends with several people and was “added” to a forum by a member.
Some people might have a problem with a non-stutterer being a member of such a group. Personally, I think it’s a great idea that anyone interested in learning more about stuttering be “allowed” to engage and participate in group discussions.
My sister mentioned that she has chatted quite a bit with one person, including chatting over the phone a few times. This woman who stutters has mentioned to my sister that the group has been a great source of support for her.
Many of the group members have talked her through various confidence issues and encouraged her to take chances with speaking that she previously never would.
My sister mentioned that when they have talked over the phone, this woman sounds great and that her stutter is very mild, saying, “it’s like yours, Pam.”
My sister also went on to say that she doesn’t really understand why then this person would seem so overly concerned about talking and taking chances publicly.
I reminded my sister that there is a huge amount of shame involved in stuttering and that’s why these stuttering forums are so popular and successful with people who stutter. If you look at some of the forums, it is not uncommon to see 50 or 60 responses to questions or posts by members.
Why? Because it is infinitely easier to express ourselves in writing, behind the relative safety of a computer screen, than it is to have real-time conversations over the phone, Skype or in-person. My sister said “no, that can’t be true. Look how much back and forth there is. Look how much this woman has been helped.”
I said, “yes, but it is all through writing. It is much safer to express our self in writing. We don’t stutter then. It becomes the safety net for the huge amount of shame that a lot of people who stutter still deal with.”
My sister just looked at me and said, “I never thought of that. That makes sense. Wow, you’re probably right.”
What do you think? Do you think online stuttering groups or forums become a safety net for some people, a way to not have to talk?
For the past several months, I have been communicating with a young man who stutters from Mumbai, India. His name is Devayan, and we started emailing each other in September.
Devayan connected with me by email in the fall, after realizing that I live in upstate New York, close to a college he was interested in attending. Devayan was hoping to come to the United States to pursue graduate studies in speech language pathology.
He asked my opinion on the graduate essays he was submitting to two colleges. He wanted my honest feedback. He got that, maybe even more than he bargained for!
Devayan didn’t mention in his first draft essay to The College of St Rose that he stuttered. I thought he should, as that would set him apart from other candidates. That and the fact that he is also a HE. Male SLP students are fairly rare.
So I suggested that Devayan rewrite his entire essay! He did, and soon after sending it in, he emailed me to let me know he had passed the first phase of admission. He would now be invited for a face-to-face interview.
We discussed that, and I suggested he ask if he could interview via Skype. It took a while for the college to confirm that a Skype interview would work. So in the interim, Devayan asked if we could chat via Skype. He wanted to pick my brain!
We coordinated the time zone difference and finally “met” over Skype, where we had a great conversation about what to anticipate in the graduate admission interview. Since that time, we have chatted via Skype a few times.
Soon after Devayan had his graduate student interview, he emailed me to let me know he was accepted. Then, in the course of just weeks, he satisfied his student visa interview and purchased his plane tickets to fly from Mumbai, India to Albany, New York, USA.
Devayan is scheduled to arrive here sometime in the first week of January 2012. We plan to meet in person soon after that, which to me is amazing and so meaningful.
It is amazing to think that one person can impact another in such a huge way that one is willing to make such a leap of faith and move half way across the world. It shows the power of connection, and what happens when we share our personal experiences honestly with another.
I don’t think either of us thought in September that we would be really planning to meet in person in January. But we are!
And the flurry of emails continues. I have given Devayan some ideas of what clothing to pack and buy for the cold Northeastern part of the USA, which is quite different from India. And he has asked me about joining Toastmasters here, as he joined a club recently in Mumbai, and wants to stay involved with that once here.
I am excited to introduce him to some of my friends here in New York, and get him involved in our monthly Chat & Chew social gathering of people who stutter.
This will be a huge change for my young friend from India. One that will change his life. And one that will likely change many lives when he eventually returns to India, armed with new tools and resources to help other people who stutter.
People who stutter can help other people who stutter, one person at a time, just by opening up, talking, sharing and connecting.
I look forward to adding more details to this story as it continues to unfold, and adding a picture of the two of us when we finally meet in person.
Episode 75 features Kelsey, who hails from Biggar, Saskatchewan, Canada. Kelsey is 22 years old and currently attends Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. Kelsey plans to graduate in April 2012 with an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, with a minor in Psychology.
Kelsey has always been fascinated with learning about people and understanding differences and similarities. She has just returned from a unique experience studying abroad for a full semester in the Middle East. She spent the majority of her time in Israel and Palestine, as well as two weeks in Turkey and Jordan.
We have a great discussion of life in the Middle East, how Western women are received, and how Turkey is the only secular Muslim state. I ask questions about the food, cultures and how visitors should dress.
We talk about advertising stuttering with different groups. Kelsey touched on how insecurities re-surfaced, especially while she was taking an Arabic language class. We talked about how women often feel inferior because of stuttering and often feel we need to compensate or prove our worth.
Kelsey has deep faith, and talks about how her faith has helped her accept her stuttering. Kelsey shares how she has always felt inspired by Moses, who is thought to have stuttered.
We also talk about Kelsey’s other interests. She is actively involved with wheelchair basketball, and talks about how enriching it is to be fully accepted as an able-bodied player in the wheelchair basketball culture. She has been involved in competitive league play for over a year.
Kelsey loves being welcomed into communities that she is not naturally part of. This was an incredibly fascinating conversation, that illustrates how you can ask personal questions about others after sharing experiences.
Be sure to listen in, and feel free to leave comments or questions for either of us. Remember feedback is a gift! Music used in this episode credited to ccMixter.
This is my friend Lisa giving a talk at a local TEDx conference in Albany, NY last month. I had the privilege of being there in person to see and hear her talk, and more importantly, the audience reaction. They loved her. She was the best presenter by far, of 16 speakers.
TED talks are global. If you have never heard of them, check them out. It’s a simple, yet profound idea. Get people who have something to say to say it. Like Lisa does here.
I met Lisa a little more than a year ago, after “stalking” her (her words!) and convincing her to meet me. We found out through email and social media that we live and work very close to each other.
Lisa has a severe stutter, and works in an industry where she helps other people find their voice. As we began to get to know each other, Lisa shared that she has never talked publicly like this. Until this year. Like NOW!
She spoke at a major industry conference in LA about a week before she did this talk. I think it’s safe to say Lisa has found her voice.
I am glad I stalked her and we have become friends. She inspires me. She has also been a guest on my podcast!
Last night, after our Toastmaster’s meeting, some of us went to dinner to celebrate the holidays as a group. It is always nice when we can get together to socialize outside of the regular meeting. It allows people to get to know each other in a more casual, relaxed setting.
After dinner, our small group chatted and laughed about a number of things. As it got late and people began to leave, just three of us women were left and we were still chatting and enjoying ourselves.
At one point, I got stuck on a word and JC finished it for me, then immediately touched my hand and apologized. She said, “I’m sorry. I know better than that. It’s just that I am amazed each time I hear you get stuck. I say to my self, ‘ah, that’s right, she stutters!’”
For some reason, that struck me as something I wanted to ask her about. I said, “Why does that amaze you?”
JC said, “Oh, I just forget you stutter. And then when you do get stuck, it always amazes me. I guess with my ADD, I just have to remind myself, oh yeah, she stutters.”
She further went on to say, “every time I hear you get stuck, my brain sends me this reminder, oh yeah, she stutters, oh yeah, she stutters, that’s why I should have known better than to finish your word for you.”
The other woman sitting with us was just looking at us in amazement and taking in every word. I said something like, “you look stunned!”
She said, “No, not at all. It’s just amazing to hear the two of you so comfortably talking about stuttering and ADD, like it’s no big deal.”
It’s not, right? When we put ourselves out there, it’s no big deal. People then know how to respond to us, if we show our own comfort level with whatever it is that makes us unique.
Earlier this week, I visited some classes and met teachers and students that I will be working with in my new position of Adult Literacy Program Manager.
My goal is to introduce myself personally to all of the teachers I will work with, and to as many of their students as possible. I think this is the best way to navigate my way through a new position that includes programming I am not familiar with yet!
I visited one of the adult high school equivalency classes. I introduced myself, and personally shared a little about who I am and what my goal is with my new position. That is important to me, since this is adult education. Adults should know who I am and what I will be responsible for, so when they see me walking around or pop into a classroom, they won’t be wondering, “Who’s she?”
It is also important for me to be humble and acknowledge right from the start that adult education is new for me. My learning curve includes honesty and asking for guidance and for people to be upfront with me.
People seem to really appreciate that, and are more willing to reciprocate when I ask them to introduce themself to me and tell a little about why they are taking this particular class at this particular time in their life.
Adults have many different reasons for taking literacy classes. For some, it’s not easy to tell their tales. I had thought that it must be hard to “tell their tells” to a total stranger. It would be for me!
But it has not been an issue so far. Every student I have engaged with has been honest and told me stark details, in front of their classmates and teacher. It was evident to me that the teacher in this particular class did not know all of the details shared on this day.
One woman, in her late 40′s, acknowledged that she is ashamed that she never finished high school and doesn’t want to live with shame anymore. She said it embarrassed her to admit this to her classmates, all of whom were male and considerably younger. Not one batted an eyelash. It is what it is. It may have been their story too.
Another young man shared that he dropped out of school only 3 months before the end of his senior year, because he knew he wouldn’t graduate. He went to school only to leave school. He was bored and unchallenged and didn’t see any value in what high school was teaching him.
He is in this class now because he knows he can’t go any farther without a diploma and he is sick of his life being a dead-end.
I responded to some of what he shared, and got caught in a good stuttering block, followed quickly by lots of repetitions. It seemed a good time to share about my stuttering. I mentioned that I stutter (like I just had!) and that I am OK with it, and hoped they were too. I also mentioned that, like the woman, for different reasons, I used to feel shame and embarrassed to acknowledge that I stutter.
From there, I matter-of-factly moved on and asked the last student to introduce himself. Since he was last, he shared that since everyone else had been so honest, he was going to be as well. He shared a quick story of drugs, wrong crowds, bad decisions, loss and finally “seeing the light.” Everyone nodded and made eye contact, and you could tell everyone understood everyone’s stories as partially “their own.”
This last man further offered, “And you know what else? I stutter too! Not as bad as I used too, but every once in a while you can still hear it. And my mother stutters too. Sometimes her stuttering was so bad it was almost laughable. Not in a mean way, but she stutters really bad, you know. But she doesn’t let it “tense her” as much as it used to.”
He added, “me either. When I stutter sometimes now, I don’t let it “tense me” like it used to. It’s good to talk about it once in a while.”
I was kind of blown away by all that had been shared in 35 minutes. I told the class that and thanked them for their honesty, and smiled and wished them a good day before leaving. And as I left the classroom and looked back through the window, I saw the class turn their attention back to the math “brain squeeze” on the white board.
As I drove home, I processed all I had learned and shared that day. And wondered if that man would have shared that he, and his mother, stuttered if I had not shared it about myself.
I really don’t want to be identified as the lady who stutters at work. But I know darn right well that is how some people know me and remember me.
I stutter during one-on-one conversations, I stutter on the phone and I am known to stutter when making small or large group presentations. Contrary to what I used to think, most people in my world know I stutter.
There’s certainly worse things to be known for, right?
I could be known as the one everyone hates dealing with because she never follows through.
Or I could be the one that everyone knows is always late.
Or I could be known as the one that you can’t tell anything to because she can’t be trusted.
On one of the stuttering forums I visit, someone was talking about how it’s too bad some people reach “old age” and never come to terms with the fact that they stutter.
He shared an observation that he had when he had a group of people over to his home recently. People were gathered around, talking, laughing, chiming in when they had something to contribute. He also noted that there were several different conversations actually going on at the same time.
He found it interesting to watch how people jockeyed for the right moment to jump in and add something to a conversation when they had something they wanted to contribute. Sometimes people talked over one another and interrupted.
He also mentioned that he didn’t contribute much because he really didn’t have much to say, and was rather busy keeping people “watered and fed.”
But when he did have something to say, the conversations stopped and everybody listened. Because this guy insists that he not be interrupted when he speaks. Sometimes he struggles to get his words out, so when he does want to contribute, everybody listens.
I likened this to being memorable. People remember people who stand out and say something compelling and valuable, even when stuttering while sharing their point.
A friend and I talked about our stuttering last night. He was venting how frustrating it feels to him to have conversations at work with colleagues or people in authority. He feels like no one knows who he is.
I told him what I thought about that! My take is that he feels that way because he rarely takes opportunities to initiate conversation and “make people want to hear more from him.”
When I said this, he looked at me with this “raised eyebrow look” of his that means, “What the hell are you talking about?”
I said to him, “You have to be memorable. You stutter, so be so compelling in what you say while stuttering, that people will definitely remember you.” I had his attention. I could see his wheels churning.
There’s worse things, right?
I had the honor of writing a piece for another blog, Hiten Vyas’ wonderful The Stuttering Hub. This is the first time someone asked me to write a guest piece on their blog!
Hiten published it yesterday. Be sure to check out his site. In addition to offering regular gems of wisdom about managing stuttering, Hiten also offers mentoring for others who stutter/stammer.
I wrote about my experiences so far at my new job, which I started two weeks ago. I shared how I have gone about disclosing and advertising my stuttering to new colleagues and students.
Those same colleagues and students taught me how the human spirit is still alive and well. See my post here.
My job experiences so far, and being featured on another blog, reinforce to me how powerful human connection really is.