Make Room For The Stuttering

Letting Go Of Fear – Episode 43

Posted on: January 27, 2011

Episode 43 features Elaine Saitta, who hails from Seattle, Washington. She has been an active member of the National Stuttering Association (NSA) for many years. She has held several NSA positions such as Chapter Leader, Regional Chapter Coordinator, Board of Directors member, and Executive Director.

Elaine is a SLP in the Seattle school system and also works in private practice with children who stutter. She coordinates a teen support group as well as youth and adult workshops locally and nationally.

She believes in being open about her stuttering and educating others. But that wasn’t always the case! Like many people who stutter, Elaine was covert for a long time. Even though her stutter was mild, she was always very embarrassed and felt shame. She shares that she didn’t have the tools to talk about stuttering and her feelings.

Listen in as we talk about how and what changed for Elaine. Meeting other people who stutter had a profound affect on her perspective and her very sense of self. Elaine also shares  “the conversation”  she always wanted and needed to have with her dad. And she talks about the journey and how she arrived at acceptance.

We wrap up with how being more open to life’s experiences in general can broaden one’s life. I prompt her to share her recent solo journey to China and how letting go of fear enabled that. How powerful those four words are – letting go of fear!

Speaking of that, Elaine was recently featutred on NPR in Seattle to raise awareness on stuttering! Check it out here!

Feel free to leave comments or just let Elaine know what a great job she did. Feedback is a gift!

Credit for the music clip “Echoed” used in this episode goes to ccMixter.

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9 Responses to "Letting Go Of Fear – Episode 43"

Wow. What an amazing story and it truly touched my life. Thank you. I admire her ability to turn her stutter into something she accepts and is willing to talk about and to her career. I struggle with the blocking end of stuttering every day and within the last two weeks it’s been getting so bad that I am avoiding almost every speaking situations for fear of just not being able to get the words out. I am completely open about the situation with my mom and my best friend. But even talking on the phone with them is a struggle and I feel like I am not able to say what I want to say. I am very much a covert stutterer not having enough courage to talk to people about it. Instead, I get remarks and strange looks that just upset me even more. It was interesting what she said about the NSA conference and how meeting other people who stutter changed her life. I can’t even imagine meeting someone who struggles from the same thing I struggle from. I know this would be life-changing for me. I am looking into attending the conference this summer. I also like what she said about being afraid that her father would be ashamed of her stuttering. I feel the exact same way about my father. Also, having to do with The King’s Speech, I also saw it with my parents and they were touched with the story but we really didn’t talk about how it relates to my life that much. As she said, I think it is just awkward for other people to talk about it because they don’t know what to say or what to do.

I am currently a sophomore at the University of Virginia and having this stutter certainly interferes with a lot of aspects of my life. I am just in a place where I don’t know what to do. But, I am so happy I found this blog, it certainly makes me a feel better about the situation.

Courtney,
Welcome and congratulations for being so brave to comment on here. I am so glad you found the blog and the women’s stories. It can be pretty isolating not being able to talk about stuttering. It has such a major impact on our lives, but also is something we wish would just magically go away. I have stuttered all my life, since age 5, and tried to hide it for years. It is exhausting to hide it.
It will be so helpful for you to meet other people who stutter, especially women your age. Besides the annual conference, there are also local chapter support groups.
And since you are in Virginia, maybe you’d be interested in learning about and attending Friends, the association of young people who stutter. Visit thier site at: http://www.friendswhostutter.org for info.
This year’s confernce for Friends is in Washington DC. I have been involved with them for more than 3 years, and do lots of cool volunteer stuff, and thier newsletter. There are people your age, also younger kids and teens, and adults who are like a big family.
If you can’t get to the NSA in Texas, consider Friends in DC.
I would be happy to chat with you over phone if you ever want to find out more info or resources or support. You are not alone.
Pam

Hi, Ellaine, I am from around Seattle too. Great interview! I especially admire your courage to become speech therapist. I am contemplating the idea of going to NSA conference too. Come visit my Toastmaster club sometime it is Redmond 2828. It would be fun to chat and have you as a guest.
Anna

Courtney,
Thank you for responding. It takes LOTS of courage to take the first steps regarding facing stuttering. I try to be proud of those steps. You are working towards something and that is courageous. I agree with Pam that a local NSA chapter or a conference would be wonderful. It really did open my eyes that there were others out there struggling and working beyond the struggle which I saw as incredible. It is a journey and the process can feel slow but keep making goals and reaching out!!!! I hope to see you in Dallas. Or possibly FRIENDS in DC. Take care of yourself. And remember it is okay to stutter.

Hi Anna,
Definitely go to the conference! It’s a wonderful experience. I will try and get over to the Toastmaster’s meeting. Hopefully I will meet you soon. Thanks for listening.
Elaine

Another great chat 🙂 I look forward to Elaine’s keynote at this year’s CSA Conference in Vancouver (if I’m able to go, that is! :))

Elaine,
I did not know you would be doing a Keynote at the CSA conference. How exciting for you!
Thanks Daniele for mentioning that!

Pam

Nice to hear. I’m giving more serious thought into looking into the NSA meetings now. I was always apprehensive because I’m a covert stutterer and I feel that with my degree of fluency I wouldn’t be as entitled to a voice as people with debilitating stutters. After hearing this I’m definately going to find time to get to a covert workshop somewhere.

[…] Episode 80 features return guest Elaine Robin, who hails from Seattle, Washington. For this great episode, Elaine shares from her present location, which is Shanghai, China. Elaine is a SLP who stutters and first shared her story here in episode 43. […]

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