Friends - the National Association for Young People Who Stutter

by Lee Caggiano
New York, USA

Friends-the National Association for Young People Who Stutter directed by John Ahlbach, an adult who stutters and Lee Caggiano, parent and SLP, is a volunteer, not for profit organization dedicated to providing support services for young people who stutter, their families and clinicians.

FRIENDS events allow young people, their families and clinicians to truly share the experience of living with stuttering. Children's workshops are offered focusing on stuttering related topics, self-esteem and confidence and a variety of social activities. Workshops for parents and SLPs are led by adults who stutter, parents and professionals and offer a variety of perspectives from these experts.

Watching young children become comfortable with their stuttering, talking and laughing about stuttering, and sharing their feelings is inspirational. Young people slowly reach out to each other, parents begin to openly share their feelings, and offer hope to each other. Children and parents leave any FRIENDS event with feelings of hope and empowerment. The following comments best describe the experiences:

"Children and families from around the world continue to feel isolated and helpless, searching for others who are living with stuttering to share their struggles and triumphs with. We need to continue reaching out to these children ..there are still so many who live alone with their stuttering." Speech pathologist and adult who stutters.

"This is the fist time I have ever felt normal." 8 year old boy who stutters.

"A group of people coming together to share, to encourage, to support, to comfort, .to educate." Mother of a child who stutters.

"This is the best day of my life." 10 year old girl who stutters.

"Before this convention I never knew how much he hurt" Dad of a child who stutters.

"I had no idea I would have this much fun" Teenager who stutters.

"I haven't seen my son smile like this in a very long time" mom of a teen who stutters

You can post Questions/comments to any or all of the authors before October 22, 2004.

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