National Stuttering Association

by Nina Reardon
from Illinois, USA

Since its inception in 1978, the National Stuttering Association has been dedicated to bringing hope, dignity, education, support, and empowerment to children and adults who stutter. Formal youth and family activities have been a part of the NSA's programming since1991.

The NSA's outreach for children and families is under the direction of the Family Programs Committee. The purpose of this committee is to create worthwhile materials and establish programs that have a positive impact on the lives of children who stutter and their families.

As we continue to expand our mission of reaching and empowering children who stutter, the NSA combines the efforts of speech-language pathologists, parents, and role model adults to create a positive support system.

In this millennium year, our "Y2K Means Yes to Kids" initiative has sparked interest and growth in the issues that affect the lives of children who stutter. As part of this initiative, our expanded web page features up to the minute information regarding NSA's programs for youth and families. During our Y2K year, we have strengthened our commitment of working directly with the professional community. We continue to reach children through our participation at state and national speech-language pathologist conventions.

In the year 2000, the NSA has expanded the organization and implementation of Youth Days Programming throughout the United States. Our goal with this program is two-fold: to create opportunities for children who stutter and their families to come together in a supportive environment, and to implement quality continuing education in the area of stuttering for speech-language pathologists. During these events, and through the strength of our NSA chapters, adults who stutter provide empowerment and encouragement to the youth and their families. NSA Youth Days continue to demonstrate the essence of the NSA motto, "If You Stutter, You're Not Alone."

In the arena of early intervention, the NSA has created a Rolodex card and cover letter designed for use by pediatricians. This target population can be a first line of prevention and early intervention of stuttering. The cover letter and Rolodex card outline information and resources that the pediatrician can pass along to parents concerned about early signs of stuttering in their child.

Also in the area of early intervention, a brochure will be launched in November 2000 for the parents of preschoolers who stutter. A more detailed booklet that outlines information, strategies and resources for parents will follow this brochure.

For the School Age population, NSA produces "Stutter Buddies", a newsletter for six through twelve year old children who stutter. The stories, poems, and pictures contained in this unique publication are created by school age children and are a source of inspiration for their peers. In addition, the NSA's newest series, "School Age Forum," will be introduced in November. The first booklet will outline information and strategies for dealing with teasing. Other school age issues will be addressed in booklets, flyers and brochures and will be released in series order.

The National Stuttering Association provides adolescents who stutter many venues to discuss their special issues. We continue to publish "Our Voice," a special section written by and for adolescents who stutter which is included in NSA's monthly publication, "Letting Go." Our new and exciting program for teens, NSA Teen Listserv, incorporates technology familiar to this computer savvy generation. Soon to follow is a chat room for NSA teen members and the innovative NSA "virtual chapter" for teens! These internet-available connections are a cutting-edge part of our commitment to develop appropriate programs for the special transitional issues of the adolescent population.

For parents of children who stutter, the NSA has developed a parents' listserv as well as a new publication. The listserv allows parents to network with each other regarding the special issues they face as parents of children who stutter. The NSA's newest groundbreaking newsletter for parents will debut in October. CARE (Connections, Advocacy, Resources, and Education) will allow parents a unique forum for discussing the emotions and situations that they face. This publication will also feature information from experts in the field of stuttering as well as "hot topics" and issues that are pertinent to parents of children who stutter.

Because the NSA recognizes the unique needs of children who stutter when they are in the classroom setting, we offer a brochure written specifically for teachers. Also new this year, we have created an "acceptance poster" designed for the classroom environment. Without calling direct attention to the child who stutters, this poster helps to create an atmosphere of acceptance for differences and a "zero tolerance" for teasing. The poster comes with a cover letter for the speech-language pathologist and classroom educator that outlines its purpose and offers "springboard" discussion ideas.

The NSA's newest book release, Our Voices, spans all age and interest levels. This wonderful collection of stories and information contains sections for youth, teens, parents, speech-language pathologists, and classroom educators.

Through its Youth Days, publications, internet connections and annual convention, the National Stuttering Association will continue its long-standing tradition of unique, quality programming for children who stutter and their families.

You can post Questions/comments to the panel before October 22, 2000.

September 7, 2000