Professional basketball player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (also known as “MKG”) knows what it is like to be a person who stutters. As an advocate for the stuttering community, Mr. Kidd-Gilchrist regularly appears as a guest speaker at colleges and universities across the nation that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in the disciplines of audiology and speech-language pathology.
Mr. Kidd-Gilchrest recently made such a visit to the University of North Carolina Greensboro. On February 1, 2022, he spoke to faculty and student clinicians at the UNCG Speech and Hearing Center about his personal journey and the foundation he started, Change & Impact, Inc, which strives to improve access to health care and expand services and resources for those who stutter.
“I’m excited to meet the future SLPs studying at UNCG and to share my own personal story with them,” said Kidd-Gilchrist.
At first, I didn’t want anyone to know about my stutter. When I entered speech therapy, I told my therapist that I didn’t want anyone to know. Today, I want to share my story and see my stutter as a gift that I have embraced because now I can help others including those who are getting into the field of speech language pathology.
The UNCG Speech and Hearing Center is proud to offer services for people like Mr. Kidd-Gilchrist who stutter. Our speech-language pathologists understand that sometimes it’s lonely being a child who stutters. Parents and family members often report feeling isolated as well. While as many as 5% of children have a period of disfluency early in life, only about 1% continue to stutter into late childhood.
This frequently leaves families who are experiencing the challenges of stuttering feeling overwhelmed, confused, and unsure of what to do or where to turn for help. A child who stutters is usually the only person in their school who speaks the way they do. Teachers typically have little exposure to stuttering and few resources for helping these children in their classrooms.
National Stuttering Association
It can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. The National Stuttering Association’s Greensboro family chapter, which meets monthly at the UNCG Speech and Hearing Center, is here to provide support to children who stutter, their families, and those who love them.
The motto of the National Stuttering Association (NSA) is “If you stutter, you are not alone.”
This theme of support and togetherness drives our mission in the Greensboro NSA chapter.
During meetings, children who stutter and their caregivers play games, create art, and spend time together speaking freely. There is no therapy provided during these meetings. Instead, they function as a safe place for children who stutter to speak without fear of judgment around other people who support them unconditionally.
While together, children who stutter can talk openly about the struggles they face, including navigating friendships, giving presentations, and speaking up during class discussions. They can also brainstorm ways to handle bullying and to advocate for themselves with friends and teachers. They can share their triumphs, supporting and cheering one another on when they face feared speaking situations.
NSA meetings also serve as a place for parents to connect and share. Parents can openly discuss their worries and fears for their child with others who truly understand the experience. They can problem solve together about the best ways to navigate school-based speech therapy services, advocate for their children with classroom teachers, and support their children if bullying occurs.
Finally, they can share their children’s successes as they grow into confident young adults.
Knowing you are not alone is powerful. Support, friendship and fellowship can make the difference in the life of a child who stutters. If you or someone you love is a person who stutters, you are welcome. Come join us and be a part of the NSA family!
The Greensboro NSA family chapter meets on the last Tuesday of every month from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at the UNCG Speech and Hearing Center, Ferguson Building, Room 341. For more details, please contact Kelly Harrington at firstname.lastname@example.org.