Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘workplace stuttering

PamEpisode 127 features return guest Annie Bradberry who hails from Corona, California. Annie is the Executive Director of a non-profit physical fitness program for kids in schools called The 100 Mile Club.

Annie has been involved in the stuttering community for her entire adult life. She is the former Executive Director of the National Stuttering Association and is a current Stutter Social Hangout host.

In today’s conversation, we chat about the recent annual NSA conference and why Annie keeps going back. We discuss contributions to the stuttering community, increased confidence and being at our personal best.

We also talk about the great impact of being Stutter Social hosts, and how our bi-weekly hosting is now something we both very much look forward to. Annie talks about the power of social media and people meeting other people who stutter for the first time in video hangouts. We also discuss the added benefit of meeting people in person at the annual NSA conference that we’ve come to know through the hangouts.

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

 

He-StuttersEpisode 21 of the occasional male podcast series features Dylan Madeley, who hails from a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Dylan is a writer. He currently works as a copy editor for Auxiliary Magazine and is preparing to self publish his own novel. He is readying a Kickstarter campaign to secure a publishing budget.

Dylan’s book is an ambiguous-magic fantasy titled “The Gift-Knight’s Quest.” Check here to find out more about the book.

Dylan discusses his plans to advertise and promote his first book, which leads us to talk about advertising stuttering before public speaking events. Dylan plans to be more “out there” with his stuttering once he is published.

We also discuss his strategies for book readings and how performance anxiety really triggers his stuttering.

This was a great conversation. Dylan shares professionally about his writing and personally about his stuttering. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions.

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

 

Pam

Episode 121 features Natalia Kissamitaki who hails from Athens, Greece. Natalia is a graphic artist and she describes herself as very communicative and social. She is also a newlywed, having just married in January.

Natalia is one of the founders of the Greek Initiative for People Who Stutter. The idea for this initiative was planted several years ago, and was officially licensed by the Greek government one month ago. Check out their Facebook page here.

It is named the Greek “Initiative” because Natalia and others took initiative to advocate for an individual who was fired from his job as a police officer because of stuttering. They won, and the individual got his job back.

Listen in as we discuss workplace stuttering, the positive side of stuttering and learning to respect and accept differences.

We also discuss how the Initiative works with individuals and points them in the direction of the Greek Union of Speech Therapists.

This was a great conversation with a woman who does not let stuttering stand in her way. The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

I was at a meeting earlier in the week to begin planning for an upcoming large event. There were about 10 people on the committee and we all did not know each other.

So, we did the round robin of introductions, with people saying their names and which building or department we worked in.

I shared my name and then started to say which building I was from, but blocked as I was saying the first word. The block lasted only about 5 seconds, but was long enough to be noticeable.

A woman across from me laughed and said, “what, did you forget where you work?”

Ah, we’ve all heard this or been asked the equally ridiculous “did you forget your name?”

I’ve been so good over the past few years in not letting this bother me as it once did, but on this day, it did. The woman who laughed is a special needs teacher.

I didn’t expect for someone who works with people with differences and disabilities to be so quick to laugh and make such an offensive comment. I expected her to be more sensitive and professional.

That’s what stung the most. The expectation that someone “in the know” would be the last person to laugh and be rude.

I shared this with some friends in a Facebook group and they asked me how I responded. I didn’t respond – I said nothing as I didn’t want to draw any attention to how embarrassed I felt.

I wish this stuff wouldn’t happen but it still does. I’m an adult who stutters. Imagine how a kid would feel if they had been laughed at like that.

 

PamEpisode 118 features Natalie, who hails from London, England and currently is based in Bristol, England. Natalie is a beauty therapist and absolutely loves her job. She enjoys helping women look and feel good about themselves and looking the part herself.

Listen in as Natalie talks about the challenges and opportunities of a service profession that requires constant communication.

We talk at length about The McGuire Program, which has helped Natalie become a competent and confident communicator. She aspires to one day be a coach and course instructor for the program.

Natalie is an upbeat, social and bubbly young woman who doesn’t let stuttering stand in her way. It was a delight to chat and get to know her.

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

 

I had the wonderful opportunity two weeks ago to speak to 9th graders about my stuttering and how it has impacted my career. I really should say that I “took” the opportunity to speak about stuttering.

You see, I was invited to speak to the students about my career as part of their annual Career Day. Since it was on May 15th and during National Stuttering Awareness Week, I felt I needed to weave my stuttering story into my talk. I find I can no longer talk about my career without also talking about stuttering.

I took a pretty big leap of faith that this would be OK and I faced stiff competition. The students were also going to be hearing from people who do cool things with science and who get to design video games for a living. One guy even brought a robot.

But I decided to talk about how my career has changed over the years and how being open about my stuttering has helped make me memorable.

Yep! I talked about being memorable and used stuttering as an example. I reminded the kids that we all have “something” – mine just happens to be stuttering. Being successful includes shifting whatever the something is that we maybe don’t like and turning it into an asset. I shared how that mindset shift has helped me come to terms with my stuttering and “use” it in a way that people will remember.

It’s important in job interviews to “stand out from the crowd” in some way. I have done that by openly disclosing that I stutter and by openly stuttering.

The kids were great. I had to do my presentation 6 times to 6 different groups, so I was tired by day’s end, but the kids were engaging and asked lots of good questions. They were curious about stuttering. Some mentioned that they have a sibling or cousin who stutters. Their questions were thoughtful.

One girl came up to me after class and told me that she has a brother who stutters and she was very glad I had come in to talk to their class. She gave me a hug.

Another girl came up to me in a different class and gave me the below note. It brought tears to my eyes. I definitely believe I made the right decision to talk about stuttering that day. Any time you can go and talk to kids about stuttering, differences, tolerance and respect, do it. It makes a difference.

letter

 

 

 

This week marks National Stuttering Awareness Week. It is an opportunity for the 1% of the population that stutters to raise awareness and educate the 99% of the population that doesn’t stutter.

We get to let people know how unique we are and that stuttering is just a different way of communicating.

To me, it’s very important that we approach stuttering awareness from a positive perspective. Note that I said that we get to let people know how unique we are.

It’s easier to bring up stuttering in a positive way, instead of introducing it as a disorder, which immediately implies something negative.

This week, I have been asked to be a speaker at a Career Day at a local high school. I will be talking about my career, how I got here, educational and experience requirements. I’ve decided I am also going to talk about stuttering during my presentation, which I will give 5 times, to 5 different classes.

On reflection, I felt that I couldn’t talk about my career without also talking about stuttering. And it perfectly worked out that the presentation is scheduled this week, right smack in the middle of National Stuttering Awareness Week.

I’ll be honest and admit that I’m a little nervous about talking about stuttering in my talk on Career Day. I am worried about how it will be received and whether the high school kids will be interested. But I’ve committed to it and have begun incorporating bits of my personal story into my career presentation.

I am going to trust myself that my talks will go well and that I will educate kids on a new experience.

What will you do to mark National Stuttering Awareness Week?

 


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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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