Make Room For The Stuttering

Can I Get A Witness? – Episode 108

Posted on: August 18, 2013


Episode 108 features Roisin McManus who hails from Brooklyn, NY. Roisin works as a Registered Nurse in a Manhattan Emergency Room and is pursuing her master’s degree to become a Nurse Practitioner.

Roisin also stays busy with her involvement in the stuttering community and the stuttering support group she helps lead in Brooklyn.

Listen in to a robust conversation about managing stuttering and the emotions around stuttering, being confident in the workplace, the importance of support and how shame can sneak in when we least expect it.

We also talk about the workshop Roisin helped with at least month’s NSA conference on authentic stuttering, and the distinction between authentic stuttering and authenticity and the price we sometimes pay for both.

Roisin also shares about what it means for her to want to be witness to her own stuttering. We have a meaningful discussion about how important that is.

This was a great, wide open, honest conversation with a woman who talks a lot about stuttering, as she is also a co-host on the Stuttertalk podcast. I was thrilled to have Roisin as a guest, as we’d been trying forever to make this happen. I am glad it did – it was worth the wait.

Music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

2 Responses to "Can I Get A Witness? – Episode 108"

I had the pleasure of meeting Roisin at the last NSA Conference in Scottsdale. Unfortunately, we did not have much time to chat, and I did not attend her workshop because I would have felt like an old-timer attending a 20-something workshop. That’s just me being silly. I hope Roisin presents this workshop again at an upcoming NSA Conference, so that I can attend it.

One point discussed during the podcast caught my attention: the idea that stutterers make cost-benefit analyses of authenticity vs. control/nondisclosure. First I thought that this analysis might be influenced by the extent of open stuttering, the ability of the person to control or conceal. For a “thorough” stutterer, the balance might be in favor of working hard at controlling stuttering, even if that involves avoidance every once in a while, whereas for “mild” stutterers, it might not be worthwhile to think of speaking strategies, breathing, etc. Nonetheless, I think that even mild stutterers have their Waterloos when their speech unexpectedly collapses at the wrong time, in the wrong place, in total helplessness. That’s when I think being able to be open about stuttering can come to our rescue. An that’s when support organizations like the NSA can provide opportunities for training and practice. No right or wrong answer for this cost-benefit analysis. It is up to each individual to make the checks and balances.

Thanks to both of you for sharing this thoughtful conversation, and for making people smarter.



I have listened Roisin many times on stuttertalk, and I feel that her stutter is getting very bad. Her stutter was mild in some initial podcasts, but in some recent ones she seems to be struggling on some words a lot. I feel that whatever therapy she is taking is not working and in fact should be stopped for some alternate ones.

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