National Stuttering Association Family Fun Day
The National Stuttering Association (NSA) is finally returning to the Boston area by hosting a Family Fun Day and adult workshop on November 2nd at Boston University. This is a rare opportunity to learn about stuttering in a uniquely welcoming and empowering environment.
I recall when the Boston Chapter of the NSA hosted a Family Day in the summer of 2002 at Newton Wellesley Hospital. I helped organize it alongside NSA member, John Carter. After opening words by Boston chapter members, the mother of one of my students said a few words about parenting a child who stutters. Her kind smile and open heart set everyone at ease. I still have a copy of what she said. “I truly believe that everything that I can do to find inner peace and balance within myself will affect the way I interact and parent my children. Taking care of ourselves is probably the most important thing we can do for them.” One of my adult clients came up with a theme for the day: Be an advocate for yourself and a role model for others. Local speech-language pathologists volunteered to facilitate workshops. A magician entertained us after lunch. We finished the day with open-mic, certificates of attendance and balloons.
Fast forward to 2013!
I’m told the Family Fun Day this year will run from 9-12. There will be a program for adults in the afternoon and continuing education for speech language pathologists as well. This is a golden opportunity to glimpse the magic that happens every year at an NSA national conference. I’ve attended several: Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, Knoxville, Atlanta, Parsippany and St. Petersburg. Attending an NSA event is truly a game changer. I hope some families from the area will join me in Washington, DC for NSA 2014: Red, White, Blue, and You!  The NSA vision to bring “hope and empowerment to children and adults who stutter, their families, and professionals through support, education, advocacy, and research” is reflected in four days of education, sharing, and fun. The Boston Family Day will only whet your appetite!
If you’re wondering what will happen at the Family Fun Day this fall, I encourage you to browse the Family Voices newsletter archives. Every issue represents a community scattered across the country yet close in heart and mind. You’ll see articles written by parents, “experts,” and children of all ages. Poems, drawings, photos and event listings fill up any remaining space. Themes of friendship, self-respect, empowerment, understanding and raising public awareness show up again and again. You’ll hear the passion behind the words, if you listen to a radio show. And you feel the magic if you attend a Family Fun Day or Annual Conference. Hope to see you there!
Visit www.westutter.org for updates.