Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And now, the NSA workshops

Good evening everyone. Tonight I want to talk about the "crown jewels" of the NSA conference, which are the workshops. My first conference was in Long Beach, Calif., and after I left, I realized that the best part, besides camaraderie, is this: Learning. Everyone can learn something from each other, it doesn't matter if you're 14 learning from 14, 20 learning from 60. As the adage goes, in order to learn, one must be willing to be taught. If you think you know everything about stuttering, then you need to check the ego at the door. I learn from my teammates every day. Here are some sample descriptions of NSA workshops that have recently taken place: I am sure you will find them enlightening and inspirational as I do. The first is "Letting It All Hang Out: Being Real With Our Stuttering": "This workshop will explore the process of being "real" in all aspects of our lives, including our stuttering. Many people are extremely uncomfortable with their public stuttering, and often to great lengths to hide it, deny it, or avoid speaking situations. Both presenters have experience with being covert about the stuttering, and the enormous price that is often paid for choosing to hide stuttering. Many parallels can be drawn between the quest for being real in general and being authentic as people who stutter. There are powerful rewards to be had when we embrace every part of us that makes us unique and genuine. You will be able to describe how fear of being genuine about stuttering can negatively impact us. By talking about this process, we can be one step closer to acceptance of our true selves." Here's another seminar given last year, with an appropriate title to boot-"What Makes MY Stuttering Volcano Erupt"- "Are you fluent in some situations and verbally challenged in others? Can you speak no problem when alone or with someone who you are comfortable with? In some situations with strangers or authority figures do you find you are suddenly verbally challenged? What was it that triggered your response or responses, where did your triggers come from, what is at your stuttering core that drives your stuttering triggerd. This workshop will look at stuttering triggers, how to recognize them, how to be aware of them, and how to deal with them." Those are but two workshops that can force you to look at how you stutter and inspire you to be ready to make a difference in your life. These workshops are the NSA. They are the NSA at its finest, when together people can make a difference and achieve greater goals where everyone wins. I'm looking forward to Arizona's workshops...and you just may see me present one as well. My name is Steven Kaufman, and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.

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