Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘stuttering self-help

Episode 57  features Julia Ammon, who hails from Essex, England, which is about an hour from London. Julia is originally from Ormond-By-The Sea, Florida. She moved to the UK because she married a Brit and it was easier for her to move. Classic girl meets boy and moves far away!

Julia currently works as the Fund Raiser for the British Stammering Association, which is a charity (or non-profit as we call it in the US). She is the sole fund-raiser, and manages all of the ways that the BSA is supported.

Julia explains how she came to take this job, as it is challenging work that she was ready for. She had previously been at a temp job, that did not require much talking and she felt she was limiting herself.

Listen is an as we chat about family support, early speech therapy experiences in school, and how she learned about the McGuire therapy programme.

Julia’s mother-in-law suggested that Julia try The McGuire Programme after hearing about the success that UK singer-songwriter Gareth Gates had with it. Gates has talked about his stuttering publicly and is now a speech coach with McGuire.

We also chat about how Julia met her husband, which is a great story. They met on-line, long before internet dating became so popular . They had a long-distance relationship for 6 years before marrying. We conclude our great conversation by chatting about “being content”, making choices, and acceptance.

The podcast safe music “Echoed” used in this episode is credited to ccMixter. Please be sure to leave comments for Julia if you wish, or me! Feedback is a gift!

The best thing about writing a blog, especially one that is interactive, is the chance to meet so many people who understand the stuttering experience. And through blogging and other social media, I have had the opportunity to literally meet some of these great people.

Writing and talking about stuttering has been such a rewarding, meaningful experience for me. It has been therapeutic and insightful. I wondered what I should write about when I reached this milestone. Sharing about what sharing has meant made the most sense.

This is blog post NUMBER 300, and to say this experience has been life changing would be an extreme understatement. Writing about something so personal that so many people can relate to has helped acceptance become “more real” for me.

Instead of just talking about it, I have allowed some very private thoughts to be public and invited others who stutter to share their feedback and experiences. My mind and my heart have been opened a thousand times. I have learned so much more about my own feelings and attitudes by having so many other people share their feelings.

On-line participation has become central to the self-help community. I never realized that this blog might become self-help for me, but it has, and I just wanted to let you know that and say THANK YOU.

My life has changed. We are community. And I am proud to be part of the stuttering community.

I was at the NSA Conference in Cleveland Ohio last week, and as always it was an exciting, magical and inspirational weekend. I plan to write about some of the best moments and provide a summary of a couple of really great workshops I attended, plus one I gave!

In the meantime,  Mike Bauer put together a fantastic video that was played during the closing ceremonies. It really summarizes how wonderful the conference was, and the magic feeling you get being around so many courageous people who stutter.

Mike also presented at the Toastmaster Demo workshop and gave his icebreaker speech, and did a fantastic job. I think this was only Mike’s second conference, so kudos to him for stepping up with a presentation so soon.

I feel honored to be able to share this video here! Mike did a great job. He may have found a new volunteer job with the NSA.

Episode 11 features Anita Blom, who hails from Sweden, by way of Holland. I first met Anita two years ago. She attended a National Stuttering Association (NSA) conference, where she gave one of the keynote addresses.

I remember feeling inspired by her active involvement in the world-wide stuttering community. I also remember that she came to the Open Mic session that I hosted on the last day of the conference. I spoke to her afterward, and felt instant connection. Since then, I have “run into” her at the on-line ISAD conferences. We now keep up through social media.

I do hope I get to see Anita in person again sometime. It did feel completely right and comfortable chatting with each other via skype and webcam. Turns out, we both were wearing similar jams!

Anita is busy! She has a large family, is an adult education teacher, does IT support, helps with the family company AND plays in a marching band. She also does a bit of volunteer work – she is Chair of her local stuttering chapter, Chair of the Swedish National Stuttering Association, is Vice Chair of the European League of Stuttering Associations and sits on several committees. It tired me out just typing this!

We chat about acceptance, turning points, “lost and found” and even why Anita once wanted to be a boy. Anita has a wonderful name badge that she wears everywhere. It says, “S-s-sure, I s-s-stutter! What are you good at?”

Listen in on a great conversation, and feel free to leave comments for Anita (and me too!). Your feedback is always welcome, and helps me know that I am getting this right.

Musical credit for “I’m Gonna Go” goes to Dano Songs.

Patrice, Pam, Bob, Steve and Joe

Getting together with other people who stutter never has to be formal with a set agenda. My friend Steve and I decided to launch a monthly social gathering for people who stutter in our area to just get together over food, drinks and good conversation.

We might talk about stuttering or we might not. What’s important is that we are getting together and feel comfortable to talk and laugh about anything.

We are calling our social gathering “Chat & Chew Too”. We have adopted the name from good friend Russ Hicks, who hosts similar social gatherings in Dallas.

So far we have met twice, and have our time and place scheduled for next month. We plan to alternate the times, days and places in an effort to keep it flexible and reach as many people as possible who want to connect in a very informal setting.

We had a great time talking a little bit about this and a little bit about that. It was nice to meet someone new and catch up with old friends as well. I would recommend fun, regular, social gatherings for anyone but particularly for people who stutter. We love to talk!

Last night, I had a great talk with a very special person.  It wasn’t until I got off the phone with her that I realized how insightful our conversation had been. She is aware that I recently stopped attending a regular stuttering group that I had been part of for several years. (That itself is a long story!).

We both acknowledged that I now had a void in my life, but maybe it was an intentional opening to fill it with other things. We talked about how sometimes you don’t realize how something is really supportive until you “feel” how good it feels.

Just talking with other people who stutter, or someone who really gets stuttering, is support. Whether it be online, over the phone, or in person, just feeling that feeling that the other person gets you, understands and is not judgmental, is so powerful.

Support doesn’t need to come in the form of an organized meeting, at a certain time at a certain place. It doesn’t have to be therapy based, or a workshop, or with one person filling a certain role.

Nope, it can be as simple as just talking with another person who really and truly gets it. And we can create those personal networks all over for ourselves. I don’t have to wait for a certain time to attend a certain meeting. My support comes from all of the connections I have made, and each of us can do that for ourselves.

Meeting people through FRIENDS and the NSA has created many support opportunities for me. And it has extended through social media, other people’s blogs and podcasts, Skype and the phone.

Thanks so much, Lee, for reminding me of that.

In this second episode, Pam is joined by Sarah Bryant, a woman who just recently graduated from college and is looking for a teaching job.  Sarah talks about some of the challenges she faced while stuttering in school. We also talk about advertising and acceptance, and how stuttering influences social relationships.

Sarah recently contributed her story to this blog in a written form, where her raw emotion and authenticity really resonated with readers. Her courage at still a young age is commendable. Read her blog entry here!

Sarah also shares how worried she gets about creating a poor first impression with people she has just met, because of the stuttering. We reflected on how many people worry about first impressions, stutterers or not! And Sarah acknowledges that she no longer focuses on the goal of attaining fluency.

So listen in as Sarah and Pam chat about how stuttering influences us. Feel free to leave a comment.

My live interview today on NPR radio went well. I was happy with the flow of our conversation. Round Table host Joe Donahue does a great job of making guests feel comfortable in the studio. It helped that I have been on the program before, so I was familiar with the set-up, how to use the microphone, how far away to sit.

The producer had me send some talking points, but Joe basically crafted the interview so it was a good back and forth flow between the two of us.

I was very happy that our local radio station, WAMC, and NPR welcomed me on to the show to discuss stuttering. Take a listen. I would love your feedback!

Pam on NPR to discuss National Stuttering Awareness Week

My sister Trish and I talked about how she felt about having a sister who stutters. I have really only had candid conversations like this with one other sibling. I never knew how Trish felt about some things.  She was pretty honest. Actually, she quite surprised me with some things she said. She agreed to let me record our conversation, which also really surprised me.

I am truly beginning to understand the value of talking about the difficult things. Talking a little about my stuttering opened the door for my sister to mention other, harder things that we have shared, but never really talked about.

I will remember for a long time one thing in particular my sister said. “You had to take your stuttering with you wherever you went”. I never would have thought she would have given that any thought. She realized that we could close the door on other things and temporarily act like they weren’t there. But not the stuttering. It came with me.

Here is an audio clip of our conversation, which as I said, opened the door and made talking about some other things a little easier.

Trish’s perspective on having a sister who stutters (10.33)

I was really happy that my sister was willing to be so open. The more we talk about stuttering, the less difficult it becomes to talk about stuttering.

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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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