Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘stuttering self-help

Episode 91 features Annie Bradberry, who hails from Corona, California. Annie was the Director of the National Stuttering Association for 10 years. She has been involved with the NSA all of her adult life.

Presently, Annie works as the Director of Development of The 100 Mile Club, a physical fitness and lifestyles program for kids in schools.

We talk about her involvement in the stuttering community and the growth she has seen over the years. Annie also shares what it was like transitioning from being the face of the NSA to “Annie who stutters.”

Listen in as we also chat about therapy experiences, moments of vulnerability, self talk, small talk and how stuttering has been an asset sometimes. And we really touch on being more open to our authentic self. We also laugh a lot in this conversation.

We invite you to leave comments, or just let Annie know what you thought of her story. Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 15 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Hanan Hurwitz, who hails from Ra’anana, Israel, via South Africa.

Hanan is an electrical engineer, and works for a company that makes server control equipment.

Hanan attended his first National Stuttering Association conference in 2010. We discuss the power of support and community and what a relief it is to realize that we are not alone.

Listen in to a rich conversation about Hanan’s journey, one which he describes as one of incremental steps.  He is excited about sharing his story, as it has been so valuable for him to hear others who have shared their stories.

We talk about avoidance, “mental gymnastics,” losing track of conversations, and talking about stuttering. One thing (among many) things that I loved in this conversation was when I asked Hanan if he does any advertising of his stutter.

His response: “People know I stutter because I stutter.”

Please leave comments for either of us in the comment section, or just let Hanan know what a great job he did. Feedback is a gift.

The music clip in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

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.

Miranda is actively involved in the National Stuttering Association, serving as a board member on the Teen Advisory Council.

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.

The Indian Stammering Association (TISA) is having their first National Conference to promote self help and community for Indian people who stutter at the end of this year.

The conference will take place from December 28, 2011 to January 1, 2012. It is being held at the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS), Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India. Details for meals, lodging and the purpose and agenda can be found here.

I am happy to pass this information along to anyone who regularly visits my blog or listens to any of my podcast episodes.

Stuttering/stammering is universal. We may live in different countries and have different accents, but anyone who stutters understands the fear, shame and stigma that can result from trying to deal with our stuttering in isolation.

I have been very fortunate on many fronts. I found and got involved in the United States National Stuttering Association (NSA) in 2006. I learned how empowering it is to connect with other people from different cultures who experience communication differences in a world where we take talking for granted.

I started writing about my stuttering journey on this blog in February 2009 (almost 3 years!) and have regularly been supported by people who stutter in India. We have shared resources, perspectives and ideas.

I have also had the good fortune to talk with several people who stutter from India via Skype. This has been a wonderful opportunity to prove how important self-help is, as well as paying it forward to others.

If you are an Indian person who stutters who wants to discover the power of meeting others who stutter, do everything you can to attend this first ever Indian National Conference.

Or if you love someone who stutters or are a professional or like me, a person from another country who would like to attend and can afford to do so, GO. (I wish I could!)

It will be a life changing experience.

Producer note: This is the third episode in the very occasional series I do with men who stutter.

As you can see, my graphic designer and friend  (Daniele Rossi)provided me with a new logo. I changed the name slightly to include the word “stutter” in the title so listeners can more easily find these special episodes.

So please look periodically here on the blog for these great conversations. They will also be downloadable on iTunes.

This 3rd episode features Vivek Singh, who hails from Pune, India. Vivek is 29 years old and very active in the self-help stuttering community in India. He is a computer engineer, and leads a weekly self-help group in his workplace that is supported by his corporation. I believe this is the first I have heard of this!

Vivek is a man of many interests. He enjoys reading books that help him explore the meaning of life with a scientific basis. He also enjoys inspirational reading, and all things physics.

Listen in as we discuss how Vivek became so immersed in the self-help movement and what continues to drive him. We also discuss his mastery of concealing his stuttering, acceptance, temporary fluency, first impressions, therapy and so much more.

To learn more about Vivek, please see his 2011 ISAD paper My Journey As A Stammerer.

Please feel free to leave comments for Vivek and me too. Feedback is so important. Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 62 features Cynthia Scace who hails from Greenfield, Massachusetts. Cyn has been a caseworker for an elder and disabled services agency for 25 years.

Cynthia shares her entry into the stuttering community, when her then 3-year-old son showed signs of stuttering. A life-long stutterer, her first reaction was panic and fear. She wished her child could have any other disability but stuttering.

Cynthia researched and found the virtual support group, Stutt-L. She became actively involved, made new friends and learned new perspectives. A year later, in 1997, she attended her first NSA conference.

This episode packs a punch. We talk about Cynthia’s journey of finding peace for herself and her son, who is now 17 years old.

Listen in as we discuss childhood stuttering, negative therapy experiences, shame and acceptance, NSA and FRIENDS.  Stuttering is now a positive part of Cynthia’s identity. Cynthia is very open as she relates how people have reacted to her struggled stuttering, bringing up stuttering, passive intervention and covert stuttering.

To my delight, Cynthia also shares how she began a NSA chapter with local people, including the late Marty Jezer, who wrote the wonderful book, Stuttering: A Life Bound Up In Words. Jezer’s book was the first I ever read about stuttering. I have loaned it out several times and always make sure I get it back!

Credit for the podcast safe music used in this episode goes to Dano Songs.

I invite you to leave comments. Feedback is a gift!

Episode 57  features Julia Ammon, who hails from Essex, England, which is about an hour from London. Julia is originally from Ormond-By-The Sea, Florida. She moved to the UK because she married a Brit and it was easier for her to move. Classic girl meets boy and moves far away!

Julia currently works as the Fund Raiser for the British Stammering Association, which is a charity (or non-profit as we call it in the US). She is the sole fund-raiser, and manages all of the ways that the BSA is supported.

Julia explains how she came to take this job, as it is challenging work that she was ready for. She had previously been at a temp job, that did not require much talking and she felt she was limiting herself.

Listen is an as we chat about family support, early speech therapy experiences in school, and how she learned about the McGuire therapy programme.

Julia’s mother-in-law suggested that Julia try The McGuire Programme after hearing about the success that UK singer-songwriter Gareth Gates had with it. Gates has talked about his stuttering publicly and is now a speech coach with McGuire.

We also chat about how Julia met her husband, which is a great story. They met on-line, long before internet dating became so popular . They had a long-distance relationship for 6 years before marrying. We conclude our great conversation by chatting about “being content”, making choices, and acceptance.

The podcast safe music “Echoed” used in this episode is credited to ccMixter. Please be sure to leave comments for Julia if you wish, or me! Feedback is a gift!

The best thing about writing a blog, especially one that is interactive, is the chance to meet so many people who understand the stuttering experience. And through blogging and other social media, I have had the opportunity to literally meet some of these great people.

Writing and talking about stuttering has been such a rewarding, meaningful experience for me. It has been therapeutic and insightful. I wondered what I should write about when I reached this milestone. Sharing about what sharing has meant made the most sense.

This is blog post NUMBER 300, and to say this experience has been life changing would be an extreme understatement. Writing about something so personal that so many people can relate to has helped acceptance become “more real” for me.

Instead of just talking about it, I have allowed some very private thoughts to be public and invited others who stutter to share their feedback and experiences. My mind and my heart have been opened a thousand times. I have learned so much more about my own feelings and attitudes by having so many other people share their feelings.

On-line participation has become central to the self-help community. I never realized that this blog might become self-help for me, but it has, and I just wanted to let you know that and say THANK YOU.

My life has changed. We are community. And I am proud to be part of the stuttering community.

I was at the NSA Conference in Cleveland Ohio last week, and as always it was an exciting, magical and inspirational weekend. I plan to write about some of the best moments and provide a summary of a couple of really great workshops I attended, plus one I gave!

In the meantime,  Mike Bauer put together a fantastic video that was played during the closing ceremonies. It really summarizes how wonderful the conference was, and the magic feeling you get being around so many courageous people who stutter.

Mike also presented at the Toastmaster Demo workshop and gave his icebreaker speech, and did a fantastic job. I think this was only Mike’s second conference, so kudos to him for stepping up with a presentation so soon.

I feel honored to be able to share this video here! Mike did a great job. He may have found a new volunteer job with the NSA.

Episode 11 features Anita Blom, who hails from Sweden, by way of Holland. I first met Anita two years ago. She attended a National Stuttering Association (NSA) conference, where she gave one of the keynote addresses.

I remember feeling inspired by her active involvement in the world-wide stuttering community. I also remember that she came to the Open Mic session that I hosted on the last day of the conference. I spoke to her afterward, and felt instant connection. Since then, I have “run into” her at the on-line ISAD conferences. We now keep up through social media.

I do hope I get to see Anita in person again sometime. It did feel completely right and comfortable chatting with each other via skype and webcam. Turns out, we both were wearing similar jams!

Anita is busy! She has a large family, is an adult education teacher, does IT support, helps with the family company AND plays in a marching band. She also does a bit of volunteer work – she is Chair of her local stuttering chapter, Chair of the Swedish National Stuttering Association, is Vice Chair of the European League of Stuttering Associations and sits on several committees. It tired me out just typing this!

We chat about acceptance, turning points, “lost and found” and even why Anita once wanted to be a boy. Anita has a wonderful name badge that she wears everywhere. It says, “S-s-sure, I s-s-stutter! What are you good at?”

Listen in on a great conversation, and feel free to leave comments for Anita (and me too!). Your feedback is always welcome, and helps me know that I am getting this right.

Musical credit for “I’m Gonna Go” goes to Dano Songs.

Patrice, Pam, Bob, Steve and Joe

Getting together with other people who stutter never has to be formal with a set agenda. My friend Steve and I decided to launch a monthly social gathering for people who stutter in our area to just get together over food, drinks and good conversation.

We might talk about stuttering or we might not. What’s important is that we are getting together and feel comfortable to talk and laugh about anything.

We are calling our social gathering “Chat & Chew Too”. We have adopted the name from good friend Russ Hicks, who hosts similar social gatherings in Dallas.

So far we have met twice, and have our time and place scheduled for next month. We plan to alternate the times, days and places in an effort to keep it flexible and reach as many people as possible who want to connect in a very informal setting.

We had a great time talking a little bit about this and a little bit about that. It was nice to meet someone new and catch up with old friends as well. I would recommend fun, regular, social gatherings for anyone but particularly for people who stutter. We love to talk!

Last night, I had a great talk with a very special person.  It wasn’t until I got off the phone with her that I realized how insightful our conversation had been. She is aware that I recently stopped attending a regular stuttering group that I had been part of for several years. (That itself is a long story!).

We both acknowledged that I now had a void in my life, but maybe it was an intentional opening to fill it with other things. We talked about how sometimes you don’t realize how something is really supportive until you “feel” how good it feels.

Just talking with other people who stutter, or someone who really gets stuttering, is support. Whether it be online, over the phone, or in person, just feeling that feeling that the other person gets you, understands and is not judgmental, is so powerful.

Support doesn’t need to come in the form of an organized meeting, at a certain time at a certain place. It doesn’t have to be therapy based, or a workshop, or with one person filling a certain role.

Nope, it can be as simple as just talking with another person who really and truly gets it. And we can create those personal networks all over for ourselves. I don’t have to wait for a certain time to attend a certain meeting. My support comes from all of the connections I have made, and each of us can do that for ourselves.

Meeting people through FRIENDS and the NSA has created many support opportunities for me. And it has extended through social media, other people’s blogs and podcasts, Skype and the phone.

Thanks so much, Lee, for reminding me of that.

In this second episode, Pam is joined by Sarah Bryant, a woman who just recently graduated from college and is looking for a teaching job.  Sarah talks about some of the challenges she faced while stuttering in school. We also talk about advertising and acceptance, and how stuttering influences social relationships.

Sarah recently contributed her story to this blog in a written form, where her raw emotion and authenticity really resonated with readers. Her courage at still a young age is commendable. Read her blog entry here!

Sarah also shares how worried she gets about creating a poor first impression with people she has just met, because of the stuttering. We reflected on how many people worry about first impressions, stutterers or not! And Sarah acknowledges that she no longer focuses on the goal of attaining fluency.

So listen in as Sarah and Pam chat about how stuttering influences us. Feel free to leave a comment.

My live interview today on NPR radio went well. I was happy with the flow of our conversation. Round Table host Joe Donahue does a great job of making guests feel comfortable in the studio. It helped that I have been on the program before, so I was familiar with the set-up, how to use the microphone, how far away to sit.

The producer had me send some talking points, but Joe basically crafted the interview so it was a good back and forth flow between the two of us.

I was very happy that our local radio station, WAMC, and NPR welcomed me on to the show to discuss stuttering. Take a listen. I would love your feedback!

Pam on NPR to discuss National Stuttering Awareness Week

My sister Trish and I talked about how she felt about having a sister who stutters. I have really only had candid conversations like this with one other sibling. I never knew how Trish felt about some things.  She was pretty honest. Actually, she quite surprised me with some things she said. She agreed to let me record our conversation, which also really surprised me.

I am truly beginning to understand the value of talking about the difficult things. Talking a little about my stuttering opened the door for my sister to mention other, harder things that we have shared, but never really talked about.

I will remember for a long time one thing in particular my sister said. “You had to take your stuttering with you wherever you went”. I never would have thought she would have given that any thought. She realized that we could close the door on other things and temporarily act like they weren’t there. But not the stuttering. It came with me.

Here is an audio clip of our conversation, which as I said, opened the door and made talking about some other things a little easier.

Trish’s perspective on having a sister who stutters (10.33)

I was really happy that my sister was willing to be so open. The more we talk about stuttering, the less difficult it becomes to talk about stuttering.

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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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