One of the great perks of helping people who stutter is celebrating their achievements. High School student and AIS client Benji gave effective, engaging presentations for two of his classes, spreading awareness about stuttering to his peers. Read on for details and video of Benji’s presentations, and for more on self-advocacy in high school, check out what Grace had to say. AIS therapist Mark O’Malia also published a great post on advocacy in school settings.
Benji shares in his presentations that he began to stutter more severely at the age of 10. He became fearful of stuttering and avoided it when possible. Through speech therapy at AIS and a lot of hard work, he now enjoys speaking more freely and fearlessly, whether he stutters or not. He’s learned that stuttering doesn’t define him. While he could speak more fluently, he often chooses to voluntarily stutter: something he describes as a badge of honor, based on his previous struggles.
Near the end of last school year, Benji describes people who stutter as a marginalized group. After providing background information on the causes of stuttering, he explains societal ignorance around stuttering and the effects this has on people who stutter. Benji also discusses speech therapy techniques, such as stuttering modification, his preferred form of stuttering management.
Key moments in his first presentation:
- See 5:50 for an interactive demonstration of how mirror neurons affect speech fluency.
- At 9:45, Benji explains the challenges of finding a qualified Speech Language Pathologist.
- Don’t miss the big reveal at 19:15, where Benji surprises his audience!
- Watch the end of the presentation at 23:35, when Benji issues his restaurant challenge. Are you up for the challenge?
This past Fall, Benji was at it again, presenting to another one of his classes. Not only does Benji engage his audience by making his presentation interactive, he also shares his personal experiences of stuttering, showing both vulnerability and courage.
Great moments in his second presentation:
- Check out 3:15 for an excellent description of the vicious cycle in which resistance to stuttering causes more severe, tense stuttering.
- At 16:10, Benji discusses how societal ignorance and misconceptions of stuttering often lead to problematic responses, such as attempts to finish a person who stutters’ sentences.
- See 18:35, where Benji explains how societal stigmas around stuttering become internalized, resulting in “Stuttering Gremlins.”
- At 23:40, Benji notes how voluntary stuttering allows you to stutter on your own terms.
- Listen to the end of Benji’s presentation at 28:00 to hear about his transformative journey, through which he has learned, “What I have to say is just too important to let anything stop me.”
The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.