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Stutter support group offers resources, community

Stutter support group offers resources, community

Stutter support group offers resources, community
July 15
13:00 2022

The university’s Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology is collaborating with the National Stuttering Association to offer the region’s first support group for adults who stutter, according to a press release.

The meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at the university’s Speech and Hearing Center. They are hosted by Stacy Nunnelee, senior lecturer and undergraduate director of speech-language pathology. 

After leading a support group for people with Aphasia, a communication disorder that commonly occurs after a head injury or stroke, Nunnelee decided to create a support group for people with other speech disorders. She said it is important for people who stutter to identify and learn from others and realize they are not alone. 

“We get a lot of university students who come to [the university’s Speech and Hearing Clinic],” Nunnelee said. “I don’t feel like – for students who stutter and people who stutter – that there is anything in this area where they can just get an education, resources and meet other people who stutter.” 

Although hosted on campus, the group is available to any adult who could benefit from “support and camaraderie.”

At the first meeting on July 6, there was a table set up with water bottles, cookies and name tags for attendees. Nunnelee discussed the common myths and facts about speech disorders with attendees and what they are looking to gain from attending the support group. 

“People in this area who stutter and need to find a community – that is what I want this support group to become,” Nunnelee said. “Whatever they are wanting out of it – I want it to evolve into that.” 

Nunnelee said she has wanted to be involved in a profession that helps other people since she attended college. She said communication is one of our most human assets and she loves the connections that come with it. University graduate students who share the same passion helped Nunnelee put together the support group.

“I think the hardest part about working with people who stutter is if you haven’t gone through it yourself,” Hannah Herrmann, speech-language pathology graduate student said. “Don’t say that you understand what they have been through unless you have been in their shoes.”

Ashley Klingensmith, speech-language pathology graduate student, said she hopes people struggling to find the confidence to join a support group understand that no matter a person’s age or the severity of their speech disorder, there is a place for everyone.

“Don’t underestimate the power of having [conversations with] people who have gone through what you’ve been through,” Klingensmith said. “It’s really comforting to know that someone has been where you are.”

The next support group meeting will be held on August 3 at 6 p.m. The NSA “provides support, friendship and information to the stuttering community,” according to their website and local support groups “are a proven way to build self-confidence, practice speaking in a safe environment and explore new ways to cope with stuttering.” 

Featured Image: The sign for the Speech & Hearing Center stands in front of the building on July 6, 2022. Photo by Daniel Pope

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Abby Wormsbaker

Abby Wormsbaker

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