1 Aug 2016
Caryn Herring, Christopher Constantino, Mark Baer and Dhruv Gupta join Reuben Schuff at the 2016 annual convention of FRIENDS: The National Association of Young People Who Stutter. They discuss ways to change public perceptions about stuttering such as actively stuttering and grapple with issues such as moving from “stuttering is okay” to “stuttering is fun and pleasant.”
The quote of the episode goes to Mr. Constantino who observes, “I think this is a cool time to be a stutterer.”
Much of the conversation touches upon Mr. Constantino’s powerful keynote address at FRIENDS regarding tearing down walls of ignorance and discrimination. Other topics include urging others who stutter to listen to each other’s experiences with the physical pain and struggle of stuttering. While acknowledging the importance of educating others about stuttering, Caryn points out that she doesn’t want to be responsible for educating society every time she opens her mouth. The team discuss wanting to advocate for others who stutter while also wanting to live and speak with little struggle.
The FRIENDS conference took place July 28-30 in Columbus. Ohio.
Caryn Herring is a person who stutters and a speech-language pathologist, currently pursuing her PhD at The University of Pittsburgh. Caryn is also an adjunct clinical instructor at Duquesne University, supervising graduate students and teaching the Stuttering Course. She is an active member of numerous stuttering organizations.
Christopher Constantino is a person who stutters, a StutterTalk host and a PhD student in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Memphis. Chris is doing his clinical fellowship in the Shelby County Schools in Memphis and is conducting a research study to understand and contextualize the experiences of passing as fluent for people who covertly stutter.
Reuben Schuff is an author and roving host for StutterTalk. By profession and passion he is an aerospace engineer, and also, a traveler, a juggler, a Toastmaster, and a person who stutters. He is a workshop presenter for the National Stuttering Association (NSA) annual conference and is the co-founder of the Raleigh Teens Who Stutter (TWST) chapter of the NSA. Reuben also facilitates and presents with FRIENDS (the National Organization for Young People who Stutter). Reuben is author of the chapter Fluency: My Untrustworthy Friend in the StutterTalk book: Stuttering: Inspiring Stories and Professional Wisdom.
Dhruv Gupta is a sustainability advisor at cBalance, a volunteer with The Indian Stammering Association, and the founder of Speak: Stammering Foundation. In 2015, Dhruv facilitated a two day FRIENDS workshop in India and has appeared a number of times on StutterTalk.
Mark Baer is a speech-language pathologist at Sisskin Stuttering Center and for the District of Columbia Public Schools. He earned his M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Memphis. Mark is a person who stutters and an active member of the National Stuttering Association.