Make Room For The Stuttering

We Never Know Our Reach

Posted on: January 7, 2011

I was so surprised and honored to receive a recent message from a woman in Brazil who had sent me a friend request on Facebook. Because I did not know her, I inquired who she was and why she was interested in connecting.

Ignes wrote: “I am the president of the Brazilian Institute of Fluency – IBF.  I’m a speech pathologist specializing in the treatment of stuttering, however I’m not a person who stutters. This is my personal website: It is written only in Portuguese yet, but I plan to translate it into English and Spanish soon.”

“I really admire your work. Here in Brazil we use a video of you – in lectures and courses to educate teachers about what stuttering is and how to treat a person who stutters. I visited your blog and really enjoyed it. I forwarded the link to several people from the Institute and two colleagues in particular who are also founders of the IBF and women who stutter. They will probably write to you.”

“It is indeed a great pleasure to establish contact with you and be able to exchange knowledge.”

Now maybe I am just getting wimpy in my old age, but this really touched me. I did not even know that somewhere in Brazil, teachers are looking at a video of me talking to kids about stuttering so they would understand it and know how to best work with those children. The kids I talked to that day did not stutter. I was teaching them about it so they would not be afraid when they encounter someone who talks different  and not laugh at someone who stutters.

What a powerful message this was for me when I read Ignes’ response. We never know who we might touch. We never know how what we do today may impact someone else tomorrow. I visited that middle school to talk to kids about respect for differences during National Stuttering Awareness Week two years ago and it is making a difference in Brazil today as well. Wow!

Moments like this remind me of why I keep doing this. Sometimes I don’t get any feedback and wonder if I should keep on writing and sharing my journey, my story. Thank you , Ignes, for reminding me that what we do does matter.

14 Responses to "We Never Know Our Reach"

That’s truly encouraging, Pam. Keeps you going, right?

That is so awesome, Pam!

This is another example of why you are very inspiring, Pam. It’s true you never know who is reading your work. If you really think about it, we who stutter are teachers and educators in every sense of the word. This really made my day! And I hope it made yours too =)

Wow Pam!!!! You are touching many many lives around the world! Keep on changing the world!

Wow! What a amazing! I never cease to amaze me with the reach of the Internet. I couldn’t imagine that your fame had come so far. You’re a real StutterRockStar, Pam! Start preparing your luggage. You will soon be called to give concerts abroad. Congratulations!

Dear Pam,
I was very touched by your post in your blog.
you’re absolutely right: we never know the size of our actions.
their doubts, these are also ours.
We always ask ourselves if what we are doing here in the IBF is truly helping someone in some way.
but see, from everything a little always stays. planted seeds that germinate and flourish even without any expect feedback.
Hugo Silva, also from IBF, translated and subtitled to Portuguese your video in 2009. since then, your video always has a positive impact for the watch. Congratulations on the good work!
pleased to speak to you is all mine.
I hope we can improve our relationship and exchange of experiences and knowledge.
an affectionate hug.
Ignês Maia Ribeiro
Instituto Brasileiro de Fluência

This touched me and you deserve it. You do what you do so unselfishly.

Wow indeed! Great work 🙂

Jeez! Are you gonna make me cry again? Everything you have written, and those who have responded to your words are sooo true! Your words reach such a wide range of people! Even if they do not stutter! It’s just that you, yourself, have such a way, of showing people, that to be able to convey your words, without, feeling self-conscious, Is truly a vision! That you must embark on, I feel you must continue to do that with what you started, and know that you can do, just that! My feelings are strong! I know you will continue to do your best! I love you! My Sister!

Absolutely awesome ladies it makes me so proud to see other females pws flying the flag and we are supposed to be in the minority 🙂

Hi Pam,

I found the use of the grapefruit really marvelous. So I wrote a post on my blog to share your work with my readers. In french, grapefruit is called “pamplemousse”. So one of my readers wrote “I love PAM-plemousses !” A SLP who often goes in the classrooms with her young clients to explain what stuttering is, told me that she would now use this metaphor.
You’ll find the post here :

Hi Laurent,
Thanks for sharing that with me! That is really an honor that you would devote a blog post to the grapefruit story, I cannot read French, so I trust it is a marvelous read. Thanks again.
Do you know any French women who stutter (who also speak English) who would be interested in being a guest on the podcast “Women Who Stutter: Our Stories”?
Best to you and the SLP who will use the grapefruit metaphor.

Hi Pam,
You’re looking for a french girl who stutters, speaks english and is OK to be recorded ? WAOH, that’s a great challenge ! But “impossible n’est pas français”, so I’m going to post a message on my facebook page.


Nothing is impossible! And I am quite sure there is, who will have an amazingly inspiring story!

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