Well everyone, this meeting was one for the books. We had RECORD turnout with 26 people (my count) attending. Not to get too specific, but the breakdown was as follows: 12 PWS, 4 SLPs (and that’s not counting the two PWS who are also SLPs), 9 undergraduate / graduate students, and 1 mom! It was impressive, and clearly our introductions were longer than usual. We had many people attending for the first time.
Ian was the facilitator, and he opened up the meeting with a paragraph from a book about stuttering:
My fluent friends tell me that they, too, pay attention to how listeners react to their speech, and that their self-consciousness about their speech restricts their own self-expression. In a sense, then, even fluent people suffer from a form of internal stuttering. But the speech mechanisms of fluent people can successfully process stress-induced sensory overload, and they do not stutter when they speak. The complexity of speech-inspired mental activity is unique to people who stutter. Speech for stutterers can be as mentally strenuous as an Olympic competition and as complicated as playing three chess games all at once. –Marty Jezer, “Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words”
We had a long discussion regarding this passage, which ranged from describing one’s own stuttering, to the idea of covert stuttering, to discussing personal triumphs over one’s own stuttering. We moved into talking about the concept of “acceptance” and what that means for therapy and success in speech therapy – what is the difference between ATTENDING speech therapy for stuttering and ACCEPTING you need therapy for stuttering. With regard to therapy, the importance of an emotional connection for success was discussed as well.
My personal favorite quote of the night came from Cliff…”If you want to get over fear, go out and scare yourself” (source unknown). Great advice to all of us who struggle with fear in our lives.
We are meeting again in March on Tuesday the 26th at 6:30pm. Hope for another great meeting with another great turnout! Michael will be the facilitator.