Regional Chapter Coordinator for the NSA
Past president of the Austin chapter
The fourth Annual Open House of the Austin chapter of the National Stuttering Association (NSA), the largest event of the year for the Austin stuttering community, is fast approaching. This year’s event is in just one week: Monday, November 4 at 7 p.m. at the University of Texas. As past chapter leader for the Austin chapter, and a person whose life has been transformed by the NSA, I am honored to be asked to emcee this year’s event. I will be reflecting on my experiences as a person who stutters, and facilitating an opportunity for others to share their own inspiring stories. We hope for as great a turnout as we had last year (when an astonishing 85 people from the community turned out).
This event originated as a forum to educate student speech-language pathologists (SLPs) about our disorder, and help them overcome reservations they may have (indeed, many of those in attendance are student clinicians at the University of Texas and Texas State University). However, the event is open to all those affected by stuttering, including adults and youth who stutter, and families.
Over the last few years, the annual open house has been the first exposure to the NSA for many individuals who stutter, as well as families. Many people who have contacted me about the NSA understandably have reservations, and are unsure of what to expect. Many are weary about attending a chapter meeting for the first time where they may be asked to introduce themselves, or have to deal openly with a topic they may not have even broached with family members, or friends. The open house is a great format to overcome these reservations.
As has been tradition, we will have a panel of about four individuals who stutter, each representing diverse backgrounds and experiences share their personal stories, and take questions from the audience. The panelists will reflect on challenges they faced in their lives and how they ultimately found success in their careers and relationships. At the open house, you may expect to have a person who stutters (PWS) share:
– How they overcame bullying as a child
– When the best time to enter therapy is, and what factors leads to success
– Positive qualities in their SLPs to emulate
– Tools for overcoming job interview as a PWS and succeeding in our careers
– How to begin to talk to family members about stuttering
– And much more.
Last year, I recall student SLPs leaving “blown away” by the presentations. Parents told me the event helped them feel at ease for the first time in their lives about their child’s stuttering. Children and youth came to understand stuttering does not have to stop them from reaching their goals or being successful.
I have been honored to work with Jamie Putnam and the clinicians at Capital Area Speech in the time I have been a part of the Austin chapter. I am looking forward to seeing many folks from the Capital Area Speech community next week.
For more about National Stuttering Association Austin Chapter, please visit the website.