What a great time I had at the National Stuttering Association conference during this past week. I was so excited and as always it lived up to its expectations. This was my fifth conference in a row and I don’t see myself missing one anytime soon. My conference started with a meeting with the Stutter Social team where we planned our workshop. It was so great to finally meet Daniele Rossi, David Resnick, Kenyatta Butler and Mitch Trichon to discuss the workshop! A great bunch of guys and we all work so well together. I can’t wait for future plans with Stutter Social which include more live Hangouts on air through Youtube, and the launch of our teen hangouts in August! Stutter Social is the future of Social media support groups for people who stutter and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
At the hotel bar that night I met a couple of my blog readers. It was so great to hear that I am making a difference in their lives and that they enjoy what I have to say. They encouraged me to blog more on a regular basis and that is what I intend to do. My friends and I went out to this great indian restaurant for lunch which was right down the road from our hotel. The best lamb shank Ive ever had with a couple of my best friends from the NSA.
The NSA had such great workshops this year. I am a 20 Something committee member and we planned the most incredible workshops for the 21-29 age group this year including a Career Goals workshop, an Advertising Workshop, Fearless Stuttering and the “When Should I Tell Them” workshop. I participated in the panel discussion for the Career Goals workshop and I truly enjoyed talking about my experiences in graduate school with my professors who weren’t always the most supportive of me, as well as my experiences being an SLP who stutters working in the schools. I believe that I encouraged many people to go back to school to become and SLP. It truly is a rewarding profession and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Special thanks to Rueben Schuff for organizing this great workshop.
I also attended a workshop entitled “The Stuttering Monologues” organized by Pamela Mertz. During this workshop several people prepared a reading passage, a performance or a poem about their experiences through their lives with stuttering. It was so great to hear about everyones stuttering journey and how they became they person they are today! It was truly inspirational.
During this conference I had the opportunity to present this years Chapter Leader of the Year. It was a wonderful experience for me to present Hannah Laday, the Central New Jersey Chapter Leader with this years award. She has been through so much in her life and she has so much to show for it. Here story is that of someone who has defied the odds and now has devoted her life to giving back to the stuttering community. She is a truly inspirational person and she deserves this award more than anybody. Congratulations Hannah!
I enjoyed presenting my own workshop entitled “Getting the word out: Methods of raising awareness”. I had great attendance despite the final open mic going on at the same time. Thank you all for attending and providing me with your insight during my presentation. It was so wonderful to present my first ever workshop on my own surrounded by so many if my supportive friends.
Going out to the bars at night is always a lot of fun as well. I enjoyed watching everyone get up on stage at the karaoke bar and singing to the audience. I couldn’t get myself up there, but maybe next year I will have the courage to get up there and show you all my incredible singing voice.
The comedy show was amazing as well. For all of you who don’t know, at the NSA we have some great professional comedians who make people laugh for a living. This year they all participated in a comedy show at a local bar a few blocks from the hotel. We all sat around the stage as our fellow NSA members got up on stage and put on a great comedy show. Props to Jody Fuller and Nina G! Check them out on YouTube! They are hilarious! I met Jody in person during his first conference last year in Ft. Worth, Texas. I had been following his comedy for several years though. He is truly a stand up guy(no pun intended). Hope to see him again next year in Arizona.
The conference was a great experience right up to the end where we danced the night away at the conference banquet with DJ Stutter, our resident NSA DJ and a great friend of mine.
All in all, this conference lives up to its expectations every year. If you haven’t gone, go! This conference WILL change your life. After every conference I always leave with one main theme. The theme that I took away from this conference is that while there is no pill or treatment that will eliminate stuttering all together, I have found the CURE for stuttering.
My cure for stuttering is the NSA because the NSA has allowed me to not let my stuttering to impact my life. While it has shaped my life, stuttering does not run my life. I run my life. Thanks to the National Stuttering Association, I am cured.