Make Room For The Stuttering

Stuttering Smorgasbord

Posted on: July 16, 2009

There were so many wonderful workshops to choose from at the NSA Conference this year. It was so hard to decide. It was kind of like stuttering heaven, because everything promised to be a learning experience. What follows is a brief description of the workshops I attended and some reflections. Because this could get long, I will focus on just one day here, and write another entry about Friday and Saturday workshops.

When I got to the hotel Wednesday night, I was asked right away if I could fill in and host Open Mic at 8:30 on Thursday morning. I did it as a favor to a friend. Only about 5 people showed up, so we all talked casually for a little while. One person who came was a friend I had been chatting with for a while on Face book. It was so nice to meet her in person. It was like we knew each other already. Everybody introduced themselves and shared a little bit and we ended early. Stutterers tend to forge immediate bonds with each other.

Next I went to the First Timers Workshop. I wanted to introduce myself to some of the newcomers. I remember how nervous and overwhelmed I felt when I arrived at my first conference in 2006. It was in Long Beach, California, all the way across the country. I was actually scared to death, because it was my first time acknowledging my stuttering. I remember a few people welcomed me, and now I want to do that for others. I walked around and introduced myself to about 10 people. 5 years ago, I was too paralyzed by fear to do that. Now, I want to give back that same welcome and warmth I felt my first time. Paying it forward is definitely important in the stuttering community.

New to the NSA Conference this year was a research symposium that included a panel of experts in the field who provided an overview of research and updates in the field. This was one of the best parts of the conference and was very well attended. There was a panel of 5 experts in the  field, and topics included ADF devices and feasibility and updates on the pharmaceutical pagaclone. There were other discussions as well and opportunity for questions from the audience.

I attended a Parents Round table discussion in the afternoon, with one other adult who stutters. We were the only two non-parents in the group. New parents were expressing concerns with their kids being too isolated, withdrawn and asking advice of each other about what to do. Different speech therapy approaches were discussed, as well as honoring the child’s request to not attend therapy. Parents talked of the concern of lack of awareness in schools about stuttering. I shared that there are probably adults in their community who would be willing to visit schools and  teach about stuttering. I shared how I have done that, and what an impact it has on me and the school – both kids and staff. The parents workshop was one of the most heart-felt to me, as emotions and feelings were freely expressed and shared, and the support for each other was overwhelming.

The final workshop I attended on Thursday was another Open Mic session. This time, there was a good crowd. Veterans told their stories and got emotional. New comers told their stories for the first time, and brought both laughter and tears. Open Mic is the best place to hear people’s stories and so many take advantage. I got up and shared how I still marvel at how much I have grown and changed in just 3 short years.

It is amazing how hungry for knowledge and information the stuttering community really is. Workshops were well attended and lots of questions were asked. It appears that stutterers themselves – consumers – are very interested in advances in research. And very interested in participating in discussions about the issues we all face on a daily basis. We all learn from each other, and that is the power of bringing the community together.

I am glad that I chose to get so immersed in this years conference. I shared, listened, participated, and facilitated. I left my heart and mind open to new ideas and possibilities, and shared my stuttering self with as many people as I could.

I will write more tomorrow on the other workshops I attended. This was indeed a very special conference, one that has touched my heart in many ways. The connection I felt to my stuttering peers helped to deepen my own connection to my soul, and for that, I am grateful.

Mere words can’t accurately describe the deep sense of peace that washed over me for much of the weekend.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Podcasts, Posts, Videos

Glad you're stopping by!

  • 486,808 visits

Monthly Archives!

Copyright Notice

© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. 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 2017.