Make Room For The Stuttering

My First Solo Workshop

Posted on: July 16, 2010

I did  a solo workshop at the NSA conference last week, and also helped with the Toastmaster Demo meeting. Both of these workshops were back-to-back on Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday morning, I worked with a small group of teens. We did some video recording, which will be posted on YouTube and the NSA website (front page, I hope, as these young people’s messages are outstanding).

I gave a speech at the Toastmaster meeting, which I really enjoyed doing. I spoke about my recent visit to England and what it was like visiting a meeting of the British Stammering Association. I thought it was great to speak about this at a US stuttering convention, as it serves as a reminder how global stuttering is.

Doing a Toastmaster Demo meeting is a great opportunity for toastmasters. We get to explain what Toastmasters is all about and the benefits to be gained by becoming a member. It is also very empowering to facilitate a Toastmasters meeting where all the roles are filled by people who stutter.

Toastmasters is highly recommended for people who stutter to gain valuable experience with public and impromptu speaking. You also get meaningful feedback from others which helps you set goals for future improvement.

This workshop was recorded by Judy Kuster’s husband, Tom. (I did not know it would be recorded until I saw him setting up the recording equipment). Judy is the guru of  The Stuttering Home Page. It will be available for sale on DVD. (Eeeeks!)

The other workshop I facilitated was called, “Ch-Ch-Ch- Changes: Sometimes Change Can Change Everything”. A friend and I had talked about wanting to do a workshop like this since last year. She was unable to attend this year’s workshop, so I did the workshop myself.

My focus was on how one little change in our lives can change everything in our world. And the change doesn’t only happen to us. People around us – family, friends, co-workers, significant others – can be profoundly affected by a change we make or that happens unexpectedly. Entire families are affected when a member is an alcoholic or drug addict. Everybody learns how to cope, or deny, in some way.

And when the alcoholic or drug addict enters recovery, that change again affects the whole family. Suddenly, you have to adapt to a whole new person and new family dynamics. It’s not easy – I speak from personal experience.

Same with stuttering. I behaved and thought one way when I was covert for so many years. When I finally embraced my stuttering and let it out, I changed completely. I grew stronger, more assertive and confident, and less fearful. I grew into another person, and people in my life had to learn how to relate to this new person. Or choose not to.

Profound change happened in my life in just four short years. Change that also affected everyone around me. I discussed this in my workshop and shared parts of my personal journey that I had not shared with too many people.

Change is hard. Change is scary. Change is part of life. Change can change everything in an instant. Be ready for it!

2 Responses to "My First Solo Workshop"

Excellent points Pam.

I would add that we should be ready to change, but not necessarily force ourselves to. It has to have a degree of spontaneity, in my opinion.

Hi Pam-
When is your DVD going on sale? I would love to see it as well as the teen DVD.
I agree change is important. It is interesting how each person or child is ready for change at different points in their life. I treatan 11 year old young man who stutters who thought he was ready to conquer his fears but wasn’t. He stopped therapy for 4 months and came back eventually a different person. He was ready to attack his fears, learn strategies to improve his fluency (he was very severe and could barely get a word out), and even talk about stuttering with his family. I watched a shy, introverted child turn into a smar taleck (which I love) and confident young man. It reminded me that everyone achieves this realization at different times in their lives.
It has been very interesting for me to read about how your life has evolved and changed, as well as the reasons that led to your decisions not to be covert anymore. Thanks for all you do for the stuttering community and one day I do hope we can do a workshop together. I will be presenting at Hofstra University in the spring with Dr. Jason Davidow (another SLP who stutters). Hope you can come and hear us. tks again.

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