Posts Tagged ‘workplace stuttering’
Episode 112 features Rachel Dancy who hails from Saginaw, Michigan. Rachel works as a job coach at Do-All, Inc. which is an agency that supports people with developmental disabilities.
Listen in as we discuss how Rachel chose her field of work and the importance of having a supportive work environment. We talk a bit about negative reactions to stuttering and the best ways to handle them.
We also hear from Rachel’s boyfriend, Rick, who shared his point of view on being the partner of someone who stutters. We discuss interrupting and why that happens from time to time.
This was a very honest and insightful conversation and it was great getting to know both Rachel and Rick.
The podcast safe music clip used in this episode is credited to DanoSongs.
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.
Episode 108 features Roisin McManus who hails from Brooklyn, NY. Roisin works as a Registered Nurse in a Manhattan Emergency Room and is pursuing her master’s degree to become a Nurse Practitioner.
Roisin also stays busy with her involvement in the stuttering community and the stuttering support group she helps lead in Brooklyn.
Listen in to a robust conversation about managing stuttering and the emotions around stuttering, being confident in the workplace, the importance of support and how shame can sneak in when we least expect it.
We also talk about the workshop Roisin helped with at least month’s NSA conference on authentic stuttering, and the distinction between authentic stuttering and authenticity and the price we sometimes pay for both.
Roisin also shares about what it means for her to want to be witness to her own stuttering. We have a meaningful discussion about how important that is.
This was a great, wide open, honest conversation with a woman who talks a lot about stuttering, as she is also a co-host on the Stuttertalk podcast. I was thrilled to have Roisin as a guest, as we’d been trying forever to make this happen. I am glad it did – it was worth the wait.
Music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.
Episode 103 features Rachel McCullough, who hails from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Rachel works in government with law enforcement.
Rachel wrote an article called “When Police Encounter Persons Who Stutter,” which was published in her agency’s newsletter and was also picked up by The Stuttering Foundation. She was recognized with a first place journalism award from The Stuttering Foundation for her piece.
Rachel is also a musician, sharing that “music for me is like breathing.” Rachel is a singer-songwriter and plays guitar for the band Black Cat Habitat.
Listen in as we have a great conversation about disclosure and advertising, and how Rachel first learned about covert stuttering at her first full National Stuttering Association conference in Cleveland in 2010.
We also chat about pretending to be fluent, how the only thing permanent with stuttering is that it is constantly changing, stuttering in the workplace and how Rachel is also known as Debra.
Feel free to leave comments or questions for Rachel, as we barely scratched the surface of her great story. Or just let her know what a great job she did. Remember, feedback is a gift.
The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to DanoSongs.
I have been experiencing a lot of stress and tension at work recently. My team is facing challenges and opportunities as we look to grow and expand our programs. It feels like we are experiencing growing pains.
I have reached out to one or two people for counsel and advice as I try to work my way through a tough time. The problem seems to be just basic communication.
Isn’t it funny that both people who stutter and those who don’t all grapple with communication stuff? It really is at the heart of everything that we do.
One of the friends I talked with wondered if I am perhaps feeling anxious because of my stuttering.
It’s not that at all. Yes, stress and tension exacerbates my stuttering but that is not causing the tough situation (I don’t think!)
Maybe it’s just plain not a good fit. I am definitely exploring that as well, with as much honesty as I can.
I think I am doing a pretty good job of staying focused (maybe too much) on the issues at hand at work and not on my stuttering. I have noticed more stuttering when I feel most stressed, but I don’t think it’s impacting my work in any way.
Has anybody had any similar situations? Rough patches at work? Do you think your stuttering has anything to do with it?
Episode 99 features Pamela Woebkenberg, who hails from Cincinati, Ohio. Pam works as an office manager in a retail showroom, a communication heavy job.
Pam and I met at the National Stuttering Association (NSA) annual conference in Cleveland in 2010. Pam is actively involved with her local chapter of the NSA and is helping to launch a new, second chapter in her area.
Listen in as we discuss workplace stuttering, advertising and thoughts on having someone else advertise our stuttering. Pam also discusses her early speech therapy experiences, the impact of being involved in stuttering self-help and family.
The podcast safe music used in today’s episode is credited to DanoSongs. Feel free to leave comments or questions for either one of us. Remember, feedback is a gift.
At the FRIENDS conference this past July, one of the phrases I heard that really stuck with me was “listening deeply.” People were asked what they hoped to get out of the conference, and someone wrote they hoped they would learn to listen more deeply.
I have heard many people who stutter say they think they are better listeners in general because they are more aware of the importance of listening and because they also talk less.
What do you think of that?
Last night, I had to give a high stakes presentation to our school board. It was important that I conveyed my message powerfully in a short amount of time. When we were preparing, my partner and I had considered doing a PowerPoint presentation or just talking without “relying” on visual aids.
We chose to NOT use a PowerPoint and to just speak, and have handouts available for further reference for board members.
The group that spoke before us had a PowerPoint presentation, and I worried that maybe we had made the wrong decision to not use a visual.
As I watched and listened to the first speakers, I also paid attention to the audience. They were not paying close attention. They were looking through handouts and flipping pages as the speakers spoke. I thought they were not listening deeply, as they were perhaps distracted by the PowerPoint presentation.
When I got up to speak, despite being very nervous, I just spoke. As I made eye contact with listeners, I noticed they were all focused on me, some made direct eye contact and they were listening. I could tell! I could see facial expressions, body language and head nods that told me they were listening.
I got the impression that they were listening deeply, as they were invited to do so by not being distracted with anything else. I think they heard my message loud and clear.
By the way, I stuttered a few times and did not feel in any way that it detracted from my message.
We all should aim to listen deeply. We might be surprised by how much we actually hear.
Episode 17 of the conversations with men who stutter features Robert Lucas, who hails from a small town in South Australia.
Robert worked for 26 years in the gas pipe lines industry. He had worked his way up to an Inspector, before retirement.
Robert shared how participating in engineering meetings was always tough for him. He dreaded introductions, and often manipulated others to attend and speak for him. He spent lots of time thinking about how he might manipulate others, including family. Manipulation is an interesting way to look at avoidance.
We also enjoy quite a few laughs and talk about the importance of humor, expanding boundaries, advertising and reading other people’s minds.
It was a delight chatting with Robert. He has a terrific attitude and a wicked sense of humor. Please leave comments or questions. Feedback is a gift.
The music clip used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.
Make your plans now to check into this years’ International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) on-line conference that starts on October 1 and runs through ISAD, October 22,2012.
This is always one of the marquee conferences of the year, because of its unique format. Presenters submit papers or presentations that are available to be read and commented on for three weeks. There are live threaded discussions where you can post a comment or question to an author, where you will get an answer.
There is also a section called “The Prof Is In” where a team of noted professionals and researchers in the field of communication disorders are available for three weeks to answer questions. This is a great way for parents to ask questions from some of the top stuttering specialists in the country, as well as a great way for SLP students to learn.
Many papers are written by consumers as well, meaning that you get a smorgasbord of different perspectives on all different issues of stuttering.
You can find all of this years action, as well as all of the past year’s conferences in archives at The Stuttering Home Page. Do check it out, participate and read a variety of different papers.
Thanks to Judy Kuster for all the work she does to coordinate these annual conferences of the international stuttering community.
I was asked this week during a meeting to introduce myself and tell my “story” to a new team I will be working with. The Director wanted to know our work and personal backgrounds, and essentially what makes us tick and our values.
I chose to include some discussion about my stuttering journey, as how I handle stuttering impacts just about everything I do.
Reflecting back on what I said in that discussion and some questions asked, here is my list of how you should care for and feed your stuttering.
1. If you stutter, stutter. Don’t just say you stutter and then not stutter – you don’t look credible then.
2. When talking about it, relax, maintain eye contact and smile. It really does engage listeners.
3. If someone asks a question, answer it honestly. I was asked, “I don’t know much about stuttering, can you tell me a little more about it?” Do that!
4. Voluntary stutter periodically, especially if you are having a really fluent day. Sounds counter-intuitive, but that’s part of caring for your stutter.
5. Be sure to feed your stuttering – don’t be afraid of blocks or signs of tension. If you have disclosed, it will be expected. Your stuttering will eat that up and relax.
6. Acknowledge feelings you have about stuttering. Know that shame and fear of judgement still creep in from time to time. That’s why it’s so important to care for your stuttering by being good to it and not hiding it.
7. Don’t spend precious time and energy trying not to stutter – it rarely works. It’s more efficient to just stutter and move forward.
8. Thank others who take an interest and ask questions.
9. Thank your stuttering when it has a particularly good day. Say, “Thank you stuttering!”
10. Share these care and feeding tips with others – people who stutter or not. It gives your stuttering more confidence.
Episode 14 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Grant Meredith, who hails from Victoria, Australia.
Grant works at the University of Ballarat, as a Lecturer in multimedia and gaming. He is also coordinator for introduction and welfare for first-year students.
Grant takes a very matter of fact approach to his stuttering, and will tell his students upfront that he stutters, and then never mentions it again. His expectation that stuttering is not an impediment cues others to follow his lead.
We have a great discussion about public speaking, and how stuttering can make us more lively, interesting speakers. And Grant makes a great analogy about how understanding stuttering is akin to learning a foreign language.
Listen in as we also discuss the expected reactions of listeners, positive attitude and mindset, perception, and being self aware.
This was a great conversation between two lively speakers and great communicators! Feel free to leave feedback for either of us.
The podcast safe music used in this episode is “The Living Physicist” by DanoSongs.
Episode 86 features Emily Gurdian, who hails from New Orleans, LA. Emily is 23 years old and a teacher. She is presently in graduate school at the University of Portland (Oregon) where she is pursuing Educational Leadership.
Listen in as we discuss a range of topics. We talk about teasing, mocking and dumb comments. We discuss being stunned into silence sometimes by hurtful comments about stuttering, and how we deal with it.
Emily also shares about what it is like to be a substitute teacher and constantly having to adapt to new kids.
Emily plans to focus her Master’s research on how stuttering affects a child’s entire academic performance. She chose this topic because it met her professor’s criteria of being interesting and important. And because communication affects every aspect of a child’s learning experience.
Be sure to listen in to this great conversation with a young teacher who is insightful and confident. Feel free to leave feedback for either of us, or let Emily know what a great job she did.
Podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.
Episode 8 of the conversations with men who stutter features Michael Callicutt, who hails from central North Carolina. He has been in St Louis, Missouri, his wife’s hometown, since last Fall. Micheal has been teaching band for seven years to students in grades 6 through high school.
Music has always been important to Micheal. He didn’t flourish academically in school until he joined band at age 10, when “all of a sudden, everything made sense.” He knew then that music was his gift.
In college, Micheal actually started of with pre-dentistry classes, thinking he would not be able to support a family on a teaching salary. But he quickly learned that was not for him, and allowed himself to follow his music calling.
We discuss how stuttering impacted his college studies – he had a lot of self doubt and fears, worrying about completing the speaking aspects and teaching internships.
We also talk about how Michael almost never stutters in front of his students, interesting reactions from listeners, and true expressions of self.
Feel free to leave feedback or ask questions in the comment section of this blog. Let Micheal know what a great job he did!
Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.
I was in an important meeting earlier in the week, with two of my colleagues and two guests from another organization. I had reached out to the other agency, inviting them to meet with us so we could explore a partnership. I had done the initial outreach by phone.
This was an important meeting. Everybody in the room had a vested interest in brainstorming and getting both opportunities and challenges onto the table. A partnership with this agency means a “win-win” for both organizations, and ultimately the individuals we serve.
Since I had convened the meeting, I led off, introducing people and getting right to the point. Early in, I blocked and then had some repetitions. The woman guest snickered and had a bemused expression. I didn’t say anything, but continued talking and had another minor block. The woman laughed again and showed “the look”, you know the one I mean.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my female colleague catch my eye and question me with just her eyes. She was silently asking, “well, how are you going to handle this?”
I am one of those persons who doesn’t want to make my stuttering an issue in professional environments. At this meeting, we were not convened to talk about stuttering. But I had to say something. This woman obviously did not know how to react when encountering someone who stutters.
It also bothered me, a LOT. I was surprised that a manager in a social services agency would be so disrespectful, even if that was not her intent.
So I very quickly said, “Pardon me, you should know I stutter, and I’m OK with it. I hope you can be too.” The woman then blushed, looked down, and said “I’m sorry.”
I momentarily felt guilty. I did not mean to embarrass her or make her feel bad. But she had unknowingly (I assume) made me feel bad and I needed to get the “pink elephant” out in the open right away and then move on. Which I did.
I continued talking, and stuttering, and then we all participated in a great dialogue and had a productive meeting. My stuttering was a non-issue for the rest of the meeting.
Afterwards, I asked my colleague what she thought of the way I had handled it. We have only worked together for 3 months. She said, “You had to say something. Once you did, it became a non-issue, and we moved forward. You did the right thing.”
She then said, “You must get that a lot, huh?”
I knew what she meant and wished it wasn’t true, but she is right. Yes, I get those looks and snickers a lot from people who don’t know I stutter before they learn that I actually do.
People seem surprised. Like they don’t expect a person in a position that requires so much communication to happen to stutter.
When this happens, I feel it is my responsibility to educate the listeners, so we can move forward.
Even though I am very accepting of my stuttering, I will admit that negative reactions like this still sting. I still feel hurt when it happens, even when I know it was not intentional
What do you think? Do you “get this” a lot? How would you have responded? Do you think I did the right thing?
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?