The Sixth Annual Convention of FRIENDS:

The Association of Young People Who Stutter
August 7-9 2003. Secaucus, New Jersey

After a recent convention of FRIENDS: The Association of Young People Who Stutter, an eight-year old child who stutters commented, "This is the first time I have ever felt normal." A father said "Before this convention I never knew how much my son hurt." And an adult who stutters shared that "Anytime stutterers get together, good stuff happens."

Founded in 1997, FRIENDS has become the largest national organization providing a network of support for young people who stutter, their families, and the professionals who work with them. FRIENDS conventions make it possible for children who stutter to meet and interact with other children who stutter. FRIENDS provides a forum for teens and young adults who stutter to reach out and develop friendships and bonds with other stutterers. FRIENDS also provides a much needed support network for parents and families of children who stutter. FRIENDS helps to take the fear, desperation, and isolation out of stuttering.

The 2003 FRIENDS convention will be held in the New York Metropolitan Area in Secaucus, New Jersey at the Radisson Suites Hotel, just minutes from downtown Manhattan on August 7-9th. Well over three hundred people are expected to attend what promises to be our best and biggest convention yet. CEUs will be offered for speech pathologists.

This year's FRIENDS convention will feature many fun and engaging activities, such as rock climbing, swimming, an ice-cream party for kids, t-shirt making, a pool party, bowling, workshops on how to deal with bullies and teasing, and teaming exercises for children, teens, and adults. In addition, there will be discussion groups with young adults who stutter, a voluntary "stuttering in public" event, workshops for parents facilitated by leading professionals in the field, a forum for adults who stutter to share their experiences growing up stuttering, and workshops for children and teens related to all aspects of stuttering. During the evenings there will be a dinner cruise of Manhattan, a dinner at a medieval theme restaurant, a karaoke party, and the always-anticipated final night of dancing and celebrating.

FRIENDS convention highlights include a keynote address by Kristin Chmela, author of the highly acclaimed stuttering workbook the School-Age Child Who Stutters: Working Effectively with Attitudes and Emotions, who will speak about her experiences as an SLP, an ASHA Certified fluency specialist, and as an adult woman who stutters. There will be two performances by the Our Time Theatre Company which the New York Times refers to as "an artistic home for people who stutter." Joseph Donaher, Coordinator of the Stuttering Program Center for Childhood Communication of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia will be facilitating a workshop that discusses and explores the father's role in stuttering. Mr. Donaher said "I recommend FRIENDS for all of the families that I work with. It is a great avenue for support, hope, and guidance for families struggling with stuttering. The best role models for children who stutter are other children who stutter. FRIENDS puts kids who stutter together to see that they are just kids who happen to stutter."

For more information contact Lee Caggiano toll free at (866) 866-8335.