The First Latin American Stuttering Congress and People That Stutter Encounter

by Beatriz Biain de Touzet and Claudia Diaz
from Argentina

The First Latin American Stuttering Congress and people that stutter encounter took place in the Classroom of the Ability of Medicine of the Buenos Aires University, where the activities of the Argentina Stuttering Association (AAT ) take place. It was a great success in a country with unique difficulties. There were 32 scientific sessions, 4 round tables (people that stutter, professionals, parents of stuttering children and professionals who work with people that stutter), as well as 26 workshops on different aspects about stuttering coordinated by professionals and people that stutter. The social activities showed enthusiasm and warmth through the tango-asado and the party of the Congress. Many people could not attend because of the current difficult economic situation in Argentina. But a hundred people participated actively with representation from Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The media was present before, during and after the Congress. Soon we will place pictures and material in the

During the days of the Congress, numerous articles appeared in newspapers and interviews were held on radio and television which included reports from specialists and people that stutter.

The Congress was carried out without economic support. The committee organizers were a group of hard-working and committed people who worked for 2 1/2 years to bring the Congress to Argentina.

Some of our achievements:

  1. The presence of Stephan Hoffman (China) and Thomas Krall (Germany) signalled the excellent support of the self-help movement in South America and its relationship with the International Stuttering Association.
  2. The topic of stuttering will be included in the curricula of Graduate's Career in Speech Pathologist (UBA).
  3. For the first time, the Argentina Pediatrics Society invited the AAT to debate about prevention of stuttering .
  4. We were able to pay for all the expenses of the Congress.
  5. People that stutter had an opportunity to express themselves on television.
  6. The poster of the Congress was placed in the entrance door of the University, which motivated many to attend.
  7. Professionals shared important aspects of investigation, prevention, evaluation and treatment of stuttering.
  8. Parallel to the development of the scientific reports there were carried out workshops on different topics and proposals: workshops for teachers, workshop for parents, musical workshop, creativity workshop, workshop of the body in expression, workshop on the use of the telephone, workshop about dealing with fear. Both verbal and non-verbal communication were stressed.
  9. As they do each year, the association presented an award to a successful person that stutters. This year it was given to a priest that has stutteris openly and provides an example of humility and service to others.
  10. At the end of the Congress, there was a music recital by a very popular and beloved musician in Argentina: Le+APM-n Gieco. All those present joined him in singing and he was named godfather of the Music Workshop of the Argentina Stuttering Association.
  11. The Congress received national and international recognition. It was declared of national interest by the President of the Nation (Resolution - 84/2002), Secretary of Education of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires (Resolution - 2422); ISA: International Stuttering Association; OPS: Pan-American Health Organization; OMS: World Health Organization; UNICEF: Fund of the United Nations for the Childhood Ministry of External Relationships, International Trade and Culture; IFA: International Fluency Association; ASALFA: Argentina association of Logopedy, Foniatry and Audiology; Argentina Association of ORL and Pediatric Fonoaudiology School of Speech Therapists of the County of Buenos Aires; Program of Health Mental Mire of the Pirovano Hospital; IALP: Fluency Committee; North Western University: Dr. Emeritus professor H. Gregory, Ph.D; and SFA: Stuttering Foundation of America
  12. The structure of the AAT was consolidated with people that stutter having larger participation.
  13. A permanent space was obtained on the radio to talk about stuttering.
  14. Investigation about stuttering in Argentina has begun.
I am certain that I have participated of a unique event, in a very special moment in Argentina. As the motto of the own Congress has expressed it, the permanent commitment of all is to fill the silence, helping us to grow together as people, creating more opportunities for those that seek help because of stuttering.

August 26, 2002