Make Room For The Stuttering

Archive for the ‘He Stutters Podcast’ Category

Episode 15 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Hanan Hurwitz, who hails from Ra’anana, Israel, via South Africa.

Hanan is an electrical engineer, and works for a company that makes server control equipment.

Hanan attended his first National Stuttering Association conference in 2010. We discuss the power of support and community and what a relief it is to realize that we are not alone.

Listen in to a rich conversation about Hanan’s journey, one which he describes as one of incremental steps.  He is excited about sharing his story, as it has been so valuable for him to hear others who have shared their stories.

We talk about avoidance, “mental gymnastics,” losing track of conversations, and talking about stuttering. One thing (among many) things that I loved in this conversation was when I asked Hanan if he does any advertising of his stutter.

His response: “People know I stutter because I stutter.”

Please leave comments for either of us in the comment section, or just let Hanan know what a great job he did. Feedback is a gift.

The music clip in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 14 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Grant Meredith, who hails from Victoria, Australia.

Grant works at the University of Ballarat, as a Lecturer in multimedia and gaming. He is also coordinator for introduction and welfare for first-year students.

Grant takes a very matter of fact approach to his stuttering, and will tell his students upfront that he stutters, and then never mentions it again. His expectation that stuttering is not an impediment cues others to follow his lead.

We have a great discussion about public speaking, and how stuttering can make us more lively, interesting speakers. And Grant makes a great analogy about how understanding stuttering is akin to learning a foreign language.

Listen in as we also discuss the expected reactions of listeners, positive attitude and mindset, perception, and being self aware.

This was a great conversation between two lively speakers and great communicators! Feel free to leave feedback for either of us.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is “The Living Physicist” by DanoSongs.

Episode 13 of this series of conversations with men who stutter features Ali Salem, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada via Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

Ali is a self-employed web specialist and free-lance photographer. Check out his site Almost a Whisper.

Stuttering has shaped his life in many positive ways, most importantly his appreciation of the little things that we often take for granted.

Listen in as we talk about emotional acceptance and the power of support. Ali gives a shout out to Stutter Social, and we also talk about looking forward to the upcoming National Stuttering Association conference.

Feel free to leave comments for either of us in the comment section. Feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 12 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Lott Hughes, who hails from Temple, Texas. Lott served in the US Army for nine years and now works as an IT Specialist for the Veterans Administration.

Lott has a great story. As a tank driver in the Army, he felt that he was putting lives at risk when he was sometimes not able to communicate well.

His command sent him to a six-month intensive speech therapy program in Germany, which literally changed Lott’s life. It was there that he learned the fluency techniques that he needs to achieve his goal of 90-95% fluency.

Listen in as we discuss what has worked for him – facial muscle and breath control and handling his anxiety. Lott also got support from Toastmasters.

We talk about the upcoming NSA conference, and how his focus will differ than last year, his first time. Lott recently welcomed his first child into the world. He worries his son might stutter and wants to interact and learn from other parents.

I was happy that Lott shared his story with us, and look forward to meeting him in person at the 2012 NSA conference. Please feel free to leave comments or questions, for feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 11 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Frank Stechel, who hails from Highland Park, New Jersey. Frank worked for the New York State Education Department for over 30 years, in the vocational rehabilitation field.

Frank felt it was practical for him to work in the disability field, as he was concerned that he might not find work due to his stuttering. He felt it made sense to work for an agency that helped people with disabilities as they wouldn’t discriminate against him.

We talk about being open about stuttering, and how Frank always would bring it up and invite questions during job interviews. Being open has always been most important to Frank.

Listen in as we discuss different speech therapy experiences, including the Hollins fluency shaping program. Frank uses fluency shaping tools he learned to modify his stuttering. We also discuss the variability of stuttering and how he often plays with different techniques to this day.

I look forward to meeting Frank and his wife at the National Stuttering Association conference in July of this year. Feel free to leave comments and feedback for Frank, or just thank him for sharing his story.

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 10 of the conversations with men who stutter features Landon Murray, who hails from New Orleans, LA. Landon is in school studying process engineering. He has also been the leader for the New Orleans chapter of the National Stuttering Association for the last two years.

Landon shares the story of how his fiance got him to go to his first stuttering support meeting and how that first meeting changed his life. He also talks about how he and she met!

We talk about confidence and self-image. Landon didn’t always have such an easy time, and shares how tough it was for him when he was younger. He also shares how he would sometimes “change himself” in order to fit in. And he shares about the “tons” of fights he’s had due to stuttering.

Listen in as we chat about dealing with being made fun of, educating others about stuttering, being comfortable in your own skin and acceptance.

Feel free to leave feedback in the comment section, or just let Landon know what a great job he did.

Credit for the music used in this episode goes to ccMixter.

(Producer note: There was background noise/echo in this track that I could not edit. However, the conversation with Landon was so great that I dropped my usual standards of perfection. As I’ve said in the past, sue me!)

Episode 9 of this series welcomes John Bombatch, who hails from Kettering, Ohio. John is married with one son and two dogs. He works as a journalist, which John considers unique for a person who stutters.

John has been a sports writer for 19 years, and just recently started a new “beat” as an education reporter, which is really different for him!

John shares how he discovered as a child that he could write really well. In 6th grade, he helped start a school newspaper. The rest is history.

We have a great conversation, with lots of laughs. Listen in as we talk about some experiences he has had interviewing people, and some interesting reactions.

John talks about how he manages being made fun of sometimes, and once when the table were turned, and it was thought he was making fun of Annie Glenn. His funny stories beautifully illustrate how useful humor is with managing stuttering.

We also discuss moments when John doesn’t stutter, interviewing skills and public speaking.  He discusses speech therapy, and a therapist who reminded him that people really want to hear what he has to say.

Please leave comments for John here, or just let him know what a great job he did. Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 8 of the conversations with men who stutter features Michael Callicutt, who hails from central North Carolina. He has been in St Louis, Missouri, his wife’s hometown, since last Fall. Micheal has been teaching band for seven years to students in grades 6 through high school.

Music has always been important to Micheal. He didn’t flourish academically in school until he joined band at age 10, when “all of a sudden, everything made sense.”  He knew then that music was his gift.

In college, Micheal actually started of with pre-dentistry classes, thinking he would not be able to support a family on a teaching salary. But he quickly learned that was not for him, and allowed himself to follow his music calling.

We discuss how stuttering impacted his college studies – he had a lot of self doubt and fears, worrying about completing the speaking aspects and teaching internships.

We also talk about how Michael almost never stutters in front of his students, interesting reactions from listeners, and true expressions of self.

Feel free to leave feedback or ask questions in the comment section of this blog. Let Micheal know what a great job he did!

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 7 of the conversations with men who stutter features Jon Symons, who currently lives in Chaniá, (the island of Crete) Greece.  Jon is originally from The UK and worked in the oil drilling industry for over 30 years. His work in oil took him all over the world.

Jon recently inspired me to write a post called “Be Memorable!” Jon points out that stuttering makes us memorable, and that’s a good thing, especially in business. Any time we can be remembered, we can use that to our advantage.

We talk about the pros and cons of stuttering, and how we as stutterers need to be our best advocates.

Listen is as we chat about lessons learned, being fired, advocacy, differences and being bullied for being English! Yep, poor Jon was bullied not for stuttering, but for being a Brit!

We also discuss how our stuttering, and dealing with it, get easier with age. Take heed, young ones!

This was a great conversation filled with candor, wit and lots of laughter. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from other peoples’ stories.

Please leave comments for us here, or just let Jon know how much you enjoyed his honesty. Especially about who wears the pants in the family!

Music for this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 6 of this series of conversations features Zachary Sterkel, who hails from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Zachary is 26 years old and works as a lead baker, with a focus on pastry work.

Zachary and I met on a stuttering forum on-line and chatted on Skype soon after meeting. We quickly scheduled a date for him to share his story here.

Listen in as Zachary very candidly discusses how he once let stuttering limit him, and why it no longer does. He talks about not liking it when people are too nice to him. You have to listen – he describes it best, and I am sure all of us who stutter can relate to this.

We discuss the value of stuttering groups and sharing experiences. Relating with others who stutter has helped Zachary better understand his own stuttering and how his stuttering affects others and even influences their behavior. We also discuss confidence, courage and pink elephants.

I took the name of this episode from a photo that is front and center on Zachary’s Facebook page. These words are shown on the side of a building: “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

Please feel free to leave comments or questions for Zachary (or me!) Or just let Zachary know how impressed you were with his honesty, as I was.

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 5 of this series of conversations with men who stutter features John Paskievich, who hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. John is an award winning stills photographer and documentary film maker

When trying to find his life’s work, John picked up a camera and realized he enjoyed working with still images. He went on to pursue a free lance career as a photographer and documentary film maker, despite being told early on that he shouldn’t, due to his stuttering.

Listen in as we talk about how that made John feel, as well as his insecurities about stuttering and his self-denial that his stuttering wasn’t bothering him. It was! We also delve into talk of acceptance, that stuttering is “not our fault” and that fluent people should “get over” their own anxieties about what to do when one encounters someone who stutters.

We also chat about the film John made about stuttering, that he titled “Unspeakable.” He chose it for the double meaning that it connotes – that if you stutter, you sometimes feel you can’t speak, as well as the taboo associated with stuttering. And we talk of the tendency that stutterers have of trying to please our listener.

This was a great conversation, filled with lots of laughter and humor. I enjoyed this very candid conversation with a guy who has come a long way on his stuttering journey.

Please leave comments for John or myself in the comment section. Feedback is a gift.

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 4 of this occasional series with men who stutter features my good friend Joseph Diaz, who hails from Dallas, Texas. Joseph and I met at my first NSA conference in 2006, which was in Long Beach, CA. We have been fast friends since.

Joseph is a long time member of the National Stuttering Association (NSA). He has held many leadership positions with the NSA, including being a long time board member.

Joesph started stuttering rather late. His stuttering didn’t make an appearance until he was a junior in high school.

Joseph shares his long journey with stuttering. He talks about the times when stuttering consumed his life, avoidance behaviors and negative self-talk. He also talks about his “rock bottom” and how he turned the corner.

Joseph honestly shares about what it was like socializing, making friends and dating. We also talk about acceptance, and how that conscious decision to accept himself as a person who stutters shaped his life.

Joseph also shares his career path, and his very active involvement with Toastmasters.

We hope you listen in! Feel free to leave comments or questions for Joseph, or just thank him for sharing and doing such a good job!

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Producer note: This is the third episode in the very occasional series I do with men who stutter.

As you can see, my graphic designer and friend  (Daniele Rossi)provided me with a new logo. I changed the name slightly to include the word “stutter” in the title so listeners can more easily find these special episodes.

So please look periodically here on the blog for these great conversations. They will also be downloadable on iTunes.

This 3rd episode features Vivek Singh, who hails from Pune, India. Vivek is 29 years old and very active in the self-help stuttering community in India. He is a computer engineer, and leads a weekly self-help group in his workplace that is supported by his corporation. I believe this is the first I have heard of this!

Vivek is a man of many interests. He enjoys reading books that help him explore the meaning of life with a scientific basis. He also enjoys inspirational reading, and all things physics.

Listen in as we discuss how Vivek became so immersed in the self-help movement and what continues to drive him. We also discuss his mastery of concealing his stuttering, acceptance, temporary fluency, first impressions, therapy and so much more.

To learn more about Vivek, please see his 2011 ISAD paper My Journey As A Stammerer.

Please feel free to leave comments for Vivek and me too. Feedback is so important. Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 2 features Henryk Sarat, who hails from Chicago, Illinois. Henryk is 24 years old and recently completed his Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Chicago.

He worked as a trading software developer at a high-frequency trading firm and learned he wanted to create more of an impact so he became a tech entrepreneur. Henryk strives to lift the bar higher and take risks, create and inspire change. He has an entrepreneurial spirit and wants to create the next big thing that will change the world.

Listen in as we talk about how stuttering has impacted his life, positive attitude shift, inspiring change, and pushing out of our comfort zones. He also shares his experiences with speech therapy approaches and gaining confidence.

We have a great time getting to know each other in this conversation and focus on humor and not taking self too seriously.

Henryk is involved in Toastmasters and is actively involved in the global stuttering community. He created the site StutteringCommunity about 3 years ago to allow people to connect with each other via Skype.

Henryk attended his first NSA conference last year, and is planning to attend again this year in Ft Worth, Texas. I am looking forward to meeting Henryk in person this week in Texas and collecting my 22 and 1/2 hugs.

The music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter. Please feel free to leave comments. Feedback is a gift. (Episode recorded on June 30, 2011.)

This inaugural episode of men who stutter sharing HIStories is a risk for me. I am committed to providing a unique space for women to share, since we are the minority. And I do not wish to diminish in any way that which has turned out to be so special and unique.

But I have learned that all of our stories need to be shared. So after much thought, and encouragement from others,this space for men’s stories will appear monthly.

Episode 1 features Alan Badmington, a former police officer from Wales, in the United Kingdom. I first met Alan at an NSA Conference in Long Beach, CA in 2006. We have bumped into each other virtually in many places since.

The shy and retiring Alan shares his inspirational story from troubled childhood and adolescence with a severe stutter to difficulties encountered in his police career.

During the past 11 years, Alan has turned his life around to become an extremely active and highly successful public speaker. Alan regularly addresses diverse community organizations in an attempt to increase public awareness about stuttering.

Alan has traveled extensively to fulfill speaking engagements (and facilitate workshops) on three different continents, including a keynote speech at the 7th World Congress for People Who Stutter, held in Australia in 2004 (where he also won the individual oratory competition in which every continent was represented).

Listen in to our engaging conversation laced with humor, insight, and the universal issues of acceptance and change. We even get to listen to Alan share a poem!

Learn more about Alan from two of his many papers: How Beliefs and Self-Image Can Influence Stuttering and Two Things I Wish I’d Had Known About Stuttering When I was Younger.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to DanoSongs. Please leave feedback. I need to know if you enjoyed this conversation and would like to hear more stories with men who stutter.


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