Saturday, September 23, 2017

Meet Stutter Social host Ronan Miller

Stutter Social is happy to announce the newest member of our amazing roster of hosts, Ronan Miller! Let's get to know Ronan a little bit:

1. Tell us about yourself

My name is Ronan Miller, and I am from Nottingham in the UK. I am 32 years old and have lived in Valencia, Spain since 2008. I am a PhD student at the University of Valencia, where I am conducting research into how people who stutter experience anxiety in English foreign language learning. I enjoy music in its many forms, cooking and eating, and exercising.

2. What was it like for you to grow up stuttering?

Growing up with a stutter was very difficult at times, the two most troublesome situations for me were being asked my name at school and making phone calls to my friends (before everyone had a mobile phone!). I was lucky enough to have a good group of friends that didn't care about my stutter, and all things considered I feel very fortunate to have had the experiences I have had.

3. What made you interested in becoming a Stutter Social host?

I have benefitted enormously from speaking with other people who stutter over the years, and my attitude towards stuttering has improved a great deal thanks to those conversations. In some small way, I hope that by becoming a stutter social host I may be able to pass on some of the positivity and understanding that I have received.

4. Do you have any advice for people who stutter?

My advice would be focus on your strengths, all of us have weaknesses, whether we stutter or not. Despite the negatives, stuttering can lead to a whole host of positive experiences, and instead of holding you back, can actually make you more determined and ready to take risks. There are many people who stutter who do amazing things and continue to stutter openly, showing that attitude and self-acceptance is more important that speech fluency!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

First Stutter Social Award presented to Pam Mertz for service to community

Pam Mertz, received the first Stutter Social Award for her service as Stutter Social host and to the stuttering community.

The award was presented by co-founder, Mitchell Trichon during the 41st annual Weekend Workshop for Effective Communication at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, to an audience of clients, family, past clients, student clinicians, supervisors, faculty, and administrators.

A smiling and “so surprised” Pam walked up to the podium to receive her award presented before Mitch began his workshop showcasing Stutter Social as a useful tool for people who stutter.

“Along with being a Stutter Social host, Pam is quite active and does so much for the stuttering community that I felt it was fitting to honour her right in her hometown!”, said Mitch. "It was great to honour Pam in her hometown. She's done so much for the stuttering community. We are so happy she's a part of Stutter Social."

Also in attendance via Google+ Hangout were Pam's fellow stutter social hosts as part of Mitch's demonstration of the technology used in Stutter Social group video chats. "I was so surprised and happy that several of my good friends were there to see it via technology.", Pam later shared on her blog, Make Room For The Stuttering.

Along with being a fierce advocate and great role model for women who stutter, a few fun facts about Pam’s service to the stuttering community include:
  • Getting fired from her job of 20 years because of her stuttering was a “defining and positively life transforming moment” that prompted her to never hide her stuttering and let her authentic self shine through. Pam does a lot of public speaking at her current job to high schools, universities, and gives training to colleagues at staff meetings.
  • Pam created the Make Room For The Stuttering blog in 2009 to share her experiences with stuttering and prove that stuttering indeed has social value (you can also read Pam's post about receiving the award).
  • In 2010, Pam launched her Women Who Stutter: Our Stories podcast to provide a forum for women to share their stories about living with stuttering – so far she has produced over 160 episodes featuring women from over 30 countries!
  • Pam gives multiple workshops at the National Stuttering Association’s annual conference and is currently a member of the Board of Directors, Co-chair Special Projects of the National Stuttering Association
  • In 2011, Pam was awarded the Jefferson Medal for Public Service for her efforts in raising awareness of stuttering and increasing tolerance.
  • A member of the Board of Directors, Secretary of the International Stuttering Association
  • Pam regularly shares her stuttering experiences to speech language pathology students
  • One of the earliest members of the stuttering community on Twitter (she's @stutterrockstar)
  • A Distinguished Toastmaster, Pam credits Toastmasters for being an “incredibly helpful experience” for her where she has entered speech contests, been involved in mentoring, held club leadership positions including Treasurer, President of her chapter, Area Governor and completed the Toastmasters High Performance Leadership Project.

The Stutter Social Award has been created to honour our hosts. It is in the shape of an iceberg as a tribute to the famous Iceberg Analogy of Stuttering.

Congratulations Pam and thank you again for your service!