October Newsletter

October 15, 2011  |  Posted in: Blog,Newsletter   |  By:   |   0 Comments

Happy Fall everyone! On Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 the Queens Chapter of the NSA gathered at St. John’s University to offer support and encouragement to persons who stutter (PWS). Stuttering comes easily but acceptance of stuttering may take time, especially without support from your loved ones and peers. PWS came together  to share experiences of feeling alone, being bullied or teased, and overcoming stuttering. One PWS stated that “the group gives me an opportunity to reset myself and realize that I’m not alone.”

Stuttering can be a mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting battle. A PWS shared that “although my stuttering gets worse in new situations, coming to meetings helps to alleviate some of my anxiety.” During optional introductions, many attendees agreed that it is “really awesome to be with other people who speak like me.” While some members shared that they tend to hide their stuttering, others were open about advertising their stuttering. It is important to remember that no matter how you handle your stuttering, you are not alone and there are other PWS who are experiencing the same emotions and frustrations as you. One PWS described it by saying “If I’m going to be nervous, I’d rather be nervous in front of PWS.”

Bullying is a topic that is not to be taken lightly. If you have been a victim of bullying or know someone who has, please speak up. Unfortunately stuttering is not something we can control. We do our best to use techniques, but sometimes stuttering has other plans. Attendees at the meeting discussed their experiences with bullying and stuttering. The group agreed that we should distance ourselves from those who are negative influences in our lives. One PWS suggested that “no one should let you feel inferior unless you let them.”

Bullying anyone for any reason is NOT ok. We as a stuttering community need to raise awareness of stuttering. Although I understand that stuttering is frustrating at times, it is important to stay true to who you are and acknowledge that you are a PWS. People who are not well educated about stuttering may feel the need to imitate you or make fun of you because they do not know any better. Have you ever had an experience when after you tell someone you stutter they gasp and say “Oh My Goodness I didn’t know, I am SO sorry!” I have had plenty of those experiences and by the look of embarrassment on my listeners face, I truly believe that most people do not know what stuttering is or understand that stuttering does not make me any less capable than the next person! By advertising and educating others about stuttering, we can prevent them from having another “Oh My Goodness!” moment.   You will never know what someone else is thinking when you make a funny face or have a block unless you ask. You have nothing to lose and your stuttering family is behind you so ASK!

It seems that this meeting had a more serious tone than most but as PWS, we have to be open to all topics and discussions posed at NSA meetings. Alcoholism is a serious issue that is not to be taken lightly. One PWS mentioned that there have been studies conducted that show alcohol consumption improves fluency. Alcohol consumption may help to alleviate some anxiety when dealing with stuttering but please note that opinions expressed by attendees are their own and do not reflect the beliefs and values of the NSA.

As the meeting came to a close, attendees agreed that there is misinformation about stuttering in today’s society. If we focus solely on fluency, we neglect to acknowledge acceptance and the idea that we are not alone.

  • To remind us that we are not alone, the American Institute of Stuttering is hosting an event in the city on October 18th in honor of International Stuttering Awareness Day which is on October 22nd. For more information or to RSVP to this event, please email Heather at hgrossman@stutteringtreatment.org.
  • International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) is hosting an online conference until October 22nd which you can view by going to www.stutteringhomepage.com. This online conference features stories from PWS, updated research regarding stuttering and an interactive question and answer session with stuttering experts!

These events are great opportunities for PWS to know they are not alone!

Special thanks to our sponsors Fat Boy’s Pizza and Starbuck’s both from Fresh Meadows for satisfying our appetites  when we are not talking.

Lastly, I would like to invite you to attend our next meeting on November 8th. The Queens Chapter of the NSA will be celebrating its 3 year anniversary! Congratulations Queens Chapter! We hope to see all of you there. Be sure to check our newest blog, “Because of my Stutter: Remembering the Positives” written by Paul F., a Queens Chapter PWS. Until next time, don’t be afraid to be a fruitloop in a world of cheerios. Stay strong and stutter beautifully.

-Nina Z.

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