Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘women SLPs who stutter

Episode 68 features Lisa Bennett, who hails from Wichita, Kansas. Lisa is 29 years old and graduated from Wichita State University in 2010. She is currently in her Clinical Fellowship Year as a SLP in the Emporia-area. She works in the public school coop there.

Lisa and I had “met” online through one of the stuttering email chat groups several years ago. We met in person at the 2009 NSA conference in Scottsdale, AZ. I didn’t realize that Lisa had attended the first workshop I ever did at NSA, back in 2008 in New Jersey.

Lisa mentions that she remembers some things I had said during that workshop, “Letting It All Hang Out: Being REAL With Our Stuttering.” My friend Mary and I had co-facilitated that workshop, which examined some parallels between The Velveteen Rabbit and stuttering. Needless to say, I was thrilled to learn that it had an impact on Lisa.

Listen in as we discuss covert stuttering and how Lisa landed in the job that she thought most unlikely – working as a SLP in the schools. We also discuss how stuttering can dictate decision-making, speech therapy experiences, authenticity and acceptance.

Lisa shares a major insight with us – which I just loved. She says towards the end of our conversation, “I don’t hate stuttering anymore.”

Lisa was nervous during this conversation, and I assured her she had no reason to be! Please, leave feedback for Lisa and let her know what a great job she did. Feedback is a gift.

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 64 features Christine Dits, who hails from South Bend, Indiana. Christine is 22 years old, and just recently graduated from St. Mary’s College with her undergraduate degree in speech pathology.

She is looking to work in the special education field,while applying to graduate schools in the Mid-west. She wants to pursue her Master’s degree so she can one day practice as a licensed speech therapist. She has recently accepted a job as a speech therapy assistant.

I first met Christine when she was a student volunteer at the 2010 FRIENDS convention in Chicago. She attended her first NSA conference in 2010 as well, in Cleveland. We did not meet at that NSA conference, as sometimes happens when there are hundreds of participants!

Christine attended her second NSA conference this year, which was held last month in Ft Worth, Texas. In this episode, Christine talks about what her first time experience was like, and compares it to her second experience, where she felt much more comfortable and eager to meet new friends.

Listen in as we also talk about Christine’s therapy experiences, which did not start for her until towards the end of high school. We also discuss being a “twenty-something” who stutters, and what “recovery from stuttering” means for Christine.

Credit for the podcast safe music used in this episode goes to ccMixter. Feel free to leave comments or questions for either of us. Feedback is a gift.

Episode 60 features Val Ostergaard, who hails from Cary, Illinois, which is northwest of Chicago. Val is 25 years old, graduated in May with her Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology from Illinois State University and will start a job as a school therapist in September.

This was a bit of a surprise to Val and her mom, as she always thought she was going to be a nurse. In her first year in college, she took an introduction to speech pathology course, and knew then that she was supposed to be a speech therapist.

Val is one of the original FRIENDS kids. She went to her first FRIENDS conference with her family when she was 13 years old.Val recalls being nervous and not really wanting to go, but her private therapist (Kristin Chmela) had recommended it and Val’s mom really wanted to go. The first conferences were only with 20 people and the evening activities were at someone’s home for a pool party.

Listen in as Val shares the unique perspective of having grown up with FRIENDS and seeing the organization grow and evolve into the national association it is now. Val shares how one year she and her brother actually chose a FRIENDS conference and gave up a promised trip to Disney World.

Val also shares how that same early conference in D.C. did not yet have a teen room for the kids to hang out together. She recalls all of the teens, girls and boys, hanging out in a large women’s bathroom at night, talking and playing card games.

We also discuss Val’s early speech therapy (a lot of it!), family involvement, sibling experience, courage, fears and worries about judgement.

I met Val at my first FRIENDS convention in 2008, and she has been an inspiration. Feel free to leave comments for Val or Pam. Feedback is a gift!

The podcast safe music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

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.

Episode 34 features Patrice Nolan, who hails from Bennington, Vermont. Patrice and I have been good friends since meeting at a NSA conference several years ago. We realized we only lived about an hour from each other, and have visited each other many times over the last several years.

Patrice has been a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in the Vermont and Massachusetts schools for 33 years. She is also a certified teacher for the hearing impaired. Throughout her career as a SLP, she has kept her stuttering hidden. Until attending her first NSA conference, Patrice didn’t even realize what covert stuttering was, despite being in the speech field.

Join us as we discuss what Patrice refers to as her covert career and how she has managed to pull that off as a SLP. She shares honestly about how much energy she has spent on avoidance and rehearsal, her main techniques to appear fluent. We discuss how listening can be compromised when constantly rehearsing what she is going to say.

Patrice also shares about her first therapy experiences as an adult, which she refers to as “The Other Side of the Table.” And we discuss a TV program that Patrice loved as a kid. It may have been the first weekly television program that featured a regular character who stuttered, depicted positively.

This was a great conversation with a friend, who realized that it was not as hard as she thought to share her story. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions or just let Patrice know what a great job she did.

Credit for the podcast safe music clip “Echoed” goes to ccMixter.

Episode 31 features Darlene Brown, who hails from Beltsville, MD, by way of Buffalo and Albany, New York. I first met Darlene in Albany several years ago, when we both attended therapy at The College of St Rose.

Darlene took a break from college when she was studying speech language pathology. She came home to Albany to spend time with her family and attended group at St Rose when I was there.

One vivid memory I have about meeting Darlene was the night when her parents came to observe group. She wanted her parents to understand that her feelings and attitudes about stuttering were not just “her thing”, but that other stutterers shared similar feelings. That was so significant to me, that she felt comfortable enough to have her mom and dad there. She talks about that in our conversation.

Listen in as we also chat about the challenges and opportunities of being a SLP who stutters, being an adult in therapy,  designing your own “therapy outside of therapy”, and what Darlene has learned about Darlene.

Credit for the musical clip “Scott Waves His Salty Grace To April” goes to ccMixter.

Please feel free to leave feedback for Darlene. She would love to hear what you thought. (There are a few squeaks and squelches from static that I could not remove. I still have so much to learn about audio editing!)

Episode 29 features Suzana Jelčić Jakšić who hails from Zagreb, Croatia. Suzana has been a speech therapist for over 20 years, and currently works in a children’s hospital.

Suzana shares an important turning point in her life – both as a person who stutters and professionally as a therapist. She attended a workshop for specialists in stuttering and realized that she “didn’t have to be fluent”. That other therapists who stuttered were talking and expressing themselves.

She felt free to speak and to stutter if it happened. From then, she began accepting invitations to speak publicly. She felt comfortable to educate others about her specialty – stuttering.

Ten years ago, Suzana created and founded the Croatian Stuttering Association. She served as the Chair of the association up until last Spring. She is currently on the Board of the International Stuttering Association.

Listen in as we discuss Suzana’s early memories of stuttering, her parent’s reactions and early therapy experiences. We also discuss how stuttering is perceived in Croatia and important people in Croatia who stutter and have served as role models.

Suzana also mentions  Marilyn Monroe and about the difference between her female and male clients. She believes that women seem to be able to deal with stuttering easier than men!

Credit for the podcast safe music clip “Echoed” goes to ccMixter.

As always, feel free to leave comments and let Suzana know what a great job she did by sharing her story!

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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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