Make Room For The Stuttering

Support Groups

Posted on: March 25, 2010

There is a good thread started on one of the stuttering lists about the importance of self-help support groups. A couple of people shared that coming together with other people who stutter, even just once per month, has helped decrease shame and isolation and promote acceptance. One person wrote, “we can talk freely about where it gets difficult and painful , and the triumphs too, and be heard by others who have been there”.

This is so well said. The basic premise of self-groups has always been to encourage people with similar issues to come together and share.  Simply knowing that you are not alone often is enough. Even if you don’t say anything at meetings, being there and feeling supported by others who “get it” is a big deal.

I remember being introduced to Ala-teen meetings when I was a teenager. These were support meetings for children of alcoholics. I went to several and remember feeling very overwhelmed, as I had always thought that the negative effects of alcoholism were a normal part of growing up. Just seeing other kids who had crazy households meant a lot to me, even when I was not ready to share. As an older teenager, I also went to some Al-Anon meetings, which are support meetings for family members of alcoholics. Most people who attended those meetings were spouses, but I still gained enormous benefit from knowing that I was not alone.

To this day, two members of my family regularly attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, and have done so for many years. The support and fellowship is priceless.

I have found the very same spirit of support and acceptance in the support groups I have attended for stuttering. I remember how I felt when I attended my first NSA chapter meeting four years ago. It was the first time I had heard other people stutter. It had a powerful effect on me – still does. It is a very real reminder that we who stutter are not alone.

I am looking forward to visiting another country soon. My fellow travelers and I have been invited to attend a BSA (British Stammering Association) support meeting. It will no doubt serve to be very reassuring to see that people from around the world derive support from coming together and sharing.

My personal experiences with the AA model of self-help and the self-help stuttering support system has been extremely positive. In face, both have changed my attitudes and understanding that neither stuttering or alcoholism in the family is anyone’s fault.

Has anyone here had experiences with self-help groups? Has it been positive? Would you recommend self-help to others experiencing similar issues?

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1 Response to "Support Groups"

Hi Pam-
Good thread. I would without a doubt recommend support group meetings. I have attended support groups for weight loss and working mothers andhave found both helpful.
Support is wonderful but at times I worry about the lack of emphasis on improving fluency. I get calls ALL the time from adults who have not had success with speech therapy. They have given up and that breaks my heart. I feel they need to hear successful speech therapy experiences. Many of these young adults are so afflicted and aren’t leading productive lives. They don’t want to invest in therapy and don’t believe in it. If I did it, many others can too. So, yes I believe in support in all walks of life, but I feel sometimes we all have to join together and let other people who stutter know that people who stutter can have successful outcomes if they find the right speech therapist. I am so passionate about this and want to reach all who are afflicted in such a negative way. Sorry to go on and on. tks for sharing.

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