Make Room For The Stuttering

We Got What We Needed

Posted on: July 19, 2013

There were many great workshops and highlights at last weekend’s National Stuttering Association annual conference. Workshops were available on research, therapeutic approaches, social media and relationships.

There were two great keynote speakers, who both actually stutter. We heard from Trumain McBride of the NY Football Giants and Katherine Preston, who recently published a memoir about her journey with stuttering.

We also heard about Cameron Francek’s 100stutterproject and Morgan Lott shared his story about how thisisstuttering came to be.

We got what we needed from this conference. There were so many people who have brought positive attention to stuttering this year and many of them were at this conference all at the same time.

In years past, there has been disappointment that keynote speakers were often people who “used to stutter” and didn’t actually stutter when speaking to us. So this year was special, in that hundreds of stutterers got to hear inspiring speeches and stories from Trumain, Katherine, Cameron and Morgan, among others, who stuttered openly and with confidence.

We got what we needed. People who stutter – especially young people who stutter – need successful role models who actually stutter to help us normalize the experience.

We also heard stories from many others – at Open Mics and at The Stuttering Monologues.

The whole point of attending a stuttering conference is to learn and think and talk about stuttering.

We got what we needed.

6 Responses to "We Got What We Needed"

Indeed Pam it felt good to have speakers who delivered powerful messages. Their stuttering did not in any way attenuate the strength, eloquence, and relevance of their speeches, perhaps stuttering made it more real and meaningful. I feel fortunate that in the two conferences I have attended I have not heard a keynote saying something like “Fortunately I overcame stuttering!” I have heard about the somewhat controversial 2010 keynote speaker, though. The Stuttering Monologues II was certainly one of the highlights of this year’s conference, and I am not being corny or cheesy here – not my style.



Thanks for the comments and feedback. I think we heard from a great variety of people who stutter openly, fluently and effectively. That’s the whole key to communication – being able to convey your message and connect with the listener, stuttering or not.
And thanks for the mentioning the monologues as a highlight – I love hearing people’s stories and giving people the opportunity to be heard is a real gift.

One issue of concern for WWS is dependency. Some women rely on their partners, family or friends to speak for them when faced with challenging speaking situations. When WWS begin to do this at an early age, they run the risk of “losing their voice” and promulgating avoidance patterns that can continue into adulthood. Not surprisingly, most individuals do not like to be so dependent on others. Many of the women I have spoken with have indicated that their loved ones are “just used to it” or conversely, impatient and do not understand why they just do not speak for themselves. I can say from experience that it feels better to just let go as the NSA so aptly suggests in its newsletter “Letting Go,” and let your voice be heard. I’ve found that taking that risk is worth it– not just for yourself and your feelings of self-worth, but also for your relationships. Some partners/friends/family may grow tired of for example, always ordering at a restaurant or making relevant phone calls. Is it worth possibly straining relationships just to avoid stuttering? Stuttering can wreak havoc if you let it. It can pervade your thoughts and bring about “self- preservation” mode. Thus, it can eclipse other important aspects of one’s life. If you are fortunate enough to have loving relationships (romantic or platonic) in your life, it may be worth considering the possible ramifications of being overly dependent on others just to avoid stuttering. It is, however, not always easy to “just let go,” and nothing is black-and-white. Many of the women I know, including myself, are moving towards facing their speaking challenges. This process is not necessarily linear and it is not uncommon to revert to old comfortable ways. Yet, moving toward self-reliance is not only imperative in cultivating your own voice, but it may even be healthier for your relationships.

Thanks so much for this great write-up! I included a quote on our press page ( The conference was INCREDIBLE, such a fantastic experience. Learning from fellow stutterers, it’s hard to beat!

Thanks for visiting my blog and for taking the time to comment. And a big thanks for the mention on your press page. Your talk was wonderful and inspiring, and left an indelible impression on everyone who heard you. Thank you for what you’re doing.

Thank you for the encouragement! Just to let you know we just launched our Kickstarter campaign TODAY! Here’s the link: It would be fantastic if you watched the video, read through the campaign, and then decided if it would be best to donate or not! Also, if you wanted to share the project and link on your blog, I definitely wouldn’t object! Your blog is fantastic, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far!

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. 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 2022.
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