Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘National Stuttering Association

PamEpisode 124 features Natalie Bragan who hails from Fairfield, Maine. Natalie works for the state of Maine as a managing accountant. She is also a member of the Maine Chapter of the NSA.

Natalie recently returned from her first National Stuttering Association conference. She discusses what it was like, describing the gamut of emotions from overwhelming to empowering.

Listen in as we also discuss covert stuttering, the road to confidence and acceptance and stuttering more in intimate situations. Natalie also shares about her home schooling experience, which gave her many opportunities to be covert.

This was a great conversation and a chance to relive conference moments through the eyes of a first time attendee. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions, as feedback is a gift.

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

PamEpisode 123 features Carmen Shapiro, who hails from Downington, PA. Carmen is originally from Spain and has been in the US for 23 years.

She works as a project manager in an IT department of a pharmaceutical company. She is also the new leader of the Philadelphia NSA Chapter, since November 2013.

Carmen recently returned from her first conference of the National Stuttering Association and we discuss her experience and reflections. She shares how welcome she felt at the conference and how that made her feel more confident about introducing herself to so many people.

We also spend a good amount of time discussing disclosure and why it can be so hard to do. Carmen opens up to her fears and we talk about some different ways to disclose.

This was a wonderful and insightful conversation. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions or just let Carmen know what a great job she did.

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

No words needed for this one – watch this truly inspiring video of a dad talking about what he learned at the recent National Stuttering Association 2014 conference.

One of the best workshops I attended at the recent NSA conference was called Creative Movement and Storytelling for People Who Stutter. The workshop gave people a chance to see how well their bodies can work, while also helping them express their stories.

It gave people the opportunity to express themselves in different ways than just our verbal communication.

The session was facilitated by Barry Yeoman, an award-winning journalist who has studied dance and story telling.

The workshop included ice-breaking exercises, improvisations and simple movements. By the end, we all worked together to create a more complex piece that we all built together as a group.

I had marked this workshop as one I really wanted to attend, but also told a friend I was nervous about it, because I feel I have two left feet and I am not very good at creative, expressive movement. It takes me way out of my comfort zone to do things like this.

In the end, I was very glad I attended. It was a beautiful, simple, fun way to let go and be creative and not have to worry at all about our speech.

Below is a brief clip of what some of the free expression looked like.

 

 

This is the talk that I gave at our “TEDs Talk” workshop at last week’s NSA conference. Lot’s of people gave me positive feedback and asked if I would post it.

My self and 7 other amazing people gave brief talks about our take on something from our stuttering journey. Mine is about using our stuttering to our advantage. I’d love your feedback.

NSA DCI just returned from the NSA annual conference in Washington DC. This year’s conference had a record number of 975 attendees, one third of whom were first timers.

I met a lot of new people and connected with friends that I really only see once a year.

It was a great experience. I co-facilitated several workshops and attended several that pushed me out of my comfort zone.

The best workshop I was part of was the First Timer’s Orientation. I co-facilitated this with friends Landon and Lott. Over 200 people came to the workshop, where they had the chance to meet and interact with each other. I met some of the people I had called in advance of the conference.

Some of my favorite moments:

16 year old Jeremy came and introduced himself and his parents to me. Jeremy told me that he and his speech therapist have used articles from this blog and some of my YouTube videos in his speech therapy sessions. Jeremy was thrilled to be at his first conference and had set as a goal for himself to speak at an Open Mic session. He came and told me about it afterward and said it was a success and that he felt great.

Rehan, who I corresponded with pre-conference, came up to me and said he was glad I had been so honest in my introduction during the workshop by saying that it can be overwhelming and scary to introduce yourself to strangers. He acknowledged that he was feeling nervous about doing that, as he has never introduced himself to so many people.  After the conference, he told me he had met many people and was grateful for the opportunity to stay in touch during the year. He also said in an email:

As per my thoughts … well, wow. It was way beyond my expectations. I didn’t really know what to think going in to it, but when I got there and [tried] to introduce myself only to have people patiently wait for my name, I knew I was in the right place. I was definitely apprehensive about continuing to go up to people and introduce myself, but everybody was just so friendly about it! I stuttered, they stuttered, and it was fine!

Natalie came up to me one of the first evenings and introduced herself to me. We had talked on the phone before the conference and she recognized me from some YouTube videos.  Natalie had traveled to the conference alone from Maine and was nervous about what to expect. Here is an excerpt from an email Natalie sent me the day after the conference:

Pam, you are a lovely person and I want to thank-you for all that you did for me at the conference.  You may not think it was much, but simply being kind, talking to me when I first got there, inviting me out with you and others, calling me before the conference and just being around really made me feel at ease.  You are an asset to the stuttering community.

I also met Rohan, who was one of our keynote speakers. I had the opportunity to speak to him before the conference as well, so it was pretty cool to meet up and talk a bit during the conference and then hear his amazing speech about “making things happen” and “no excuses.”

There were so many other amazing moments, but these are an example of how little moments can easily add up to a really big deal.

 

 

 

I’ve been working on a talk I will give at a workshop this week at the annual NSA conference. It’s about being memorable and using what makes us different as an asset.

I’ve talked about this before on this blog – the idea that stuttering makes us memorable. My talk for the workshop centers on the premise that if we have something that makes us stand out, why not use it to our advantage?

Stuttering is unique. It applies to only 1% of the population. It makes us different. We stand out because of it. Is that a bad thing?

I remember when my sister told me about six years ago that she was jealous that I stuttered and she didn’t. I had to really wrap my brain around that at the time.

But it makes sense. In today’s world, we need to be remembered in order to get ahead.

Why not use what makes us unique? What do you think?

 

 

PamEpisode 120 features Gina Davis who hails from Oakland, CA. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is working on getting licensed. She plans to start off gradually with a small private practice in psychotherapy.

Gina is also a writer and film maker. She has a book, True Rock, scheduled to launch this fall. The book is about a rock band who wants to be terrible, in order to desensitize themselves to their fears of failure and being held back. The book has many parallels to stuttering, which we discuss, of course.

Gina has also started a blog, which showcases her writing, her book and her film making. Check out Cracklebash here.

Listen in as we discuss the covert lifestyle, perfectionism and dealing with the tough emotions of fear and shame. Gina shares an interesting observation about stuttering she once heard: “Stuttering is a disorder of self-presentation.” This was a deeply honest and insightful conversation.

Feel free to leave comments for Gina here on the blog, especially since she is not on Facebook. Remember, feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

You can see the You Tube video we discuss in this episode below.

 

 

 

 

 

PamEpisode 119 features Heather Cazares, who hails from Edinburgh, Texas. Heather is studying to be a speech language pathologist at The University of Texas – Pan American. Heather is also mom to a three year old daughter.

Heather is a NSA Chapter leader for a new chapter she founded just last August. Heather was looking for ways to advertise her new chapter and sought out an opportunity to be interviewed on TV.

Listen in as we talk about Heather’s experiences with leading a new support group. We also talk about the importance of self-advocacy.

Heather also shares that stuttering runs in her family, on both sides. I ask Heather if she worries about her own child stuttering.

This was a great conversation with a strong young woman who is making a difference in her community. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions in the comment section, for feedback is a gift.

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

David Haas, from Syracuse, New York, gives a great talk about his experience with stuttering at TEDx Syracuse University 2014.

He gave me permission to share his talk here on the blog. Great job, David.

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.

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.

Pam

Episode 110 features return guest Carolina Ayala who hails from Ajax, Ontario, Canada. Carolina and I are friends from attending the National Stuttering Association’s annual conferences and we stay in touch throughout the year.

Carolina works in the disability field with adults with intellectual impairments and is also a part-time educator at a local college. She also does volunteer work.

Listen is as we talk about the struggles Carolina has experienced at work related to her stuttering and the strategies she uses.

We also talk about the humanitarian mission work that Carolina has had the opportunity to do. She has gone on mission trips to Mexico, El Salvador, Thailand, Cambodia and most recently India. She shares some of the significant memories of the recent trip to India, of which she is very passionate about.

Carolina worked with exploited women in the Red Light District of Kolkata, and also spent time working with children whose parents are on the street.

She had the chance to meet a child who stutters, named Nata and tells us how she was able to share the stuttering experience with him.

Below is Carolina’s favorite picture from her trip to India – giving first aid to children on the streets.

The podcast safe music used in today’s episode is credited to DanoSongs.

givingfirstaidinINDIA

Pam

Episode 109 features Nelly Foster, who hails from Seattle, Washington. Nelly and I met at the National Stuttering Association conference in July 2013, her first conference.

Nelly recently graduated from college with a degree in psychology, but has decided she wants to pursue a career in speech language pathology.

Nelly attended the American Institute for Stuttering  (AIS) in 2012 because she was looking to become more confident with her stuttering. At AIS, she met a SLP who stutters and was inspired by his confidence.

Listen in as we talk about job interviews, advertising stuttering, not letting stuttering define us, Toastmasters and the importance of role models.

We have a moment during our conversation where Nelly has a block and I am not sure when to resume talking. Nelly had to tell me she was done speaking. We were able to honestly discuss how that sometimes happens with two people who stutter.

I really enjoyed this conversation and the chance to get to know Nelly and hope you do too.

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


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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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