Talk to a PWS – 2020 ISAD Online Conference

About the People Who Stutter Panel (in alphabetic order by last name):

Elias Apreko is a person who stammers (PWS) and is aware of the often painful experience of stammering. He identified a clear need for PWS in Ghana and steadily and purposefully set out to organize a community of PWS and empathizers to advocate, raise awareness, educate and inform the public about stammering and its impact on individuals and families. Through various campaigns, conferences, training workshops, media awareness and others, he has broken many barriers and successfully led the promotion of the inclusion and rights of PWS in Ghana.  He led the founding of the Ghana Stammering Association(GSA) in 2013. He is a current Board Member and Executive Director of the GSA. Elias is passionate about giving people who stammer a voice and helping them live successful lives in spite of their stammer.

Elias also serves as a member of the Executive Council and Advocacy Committee of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD). The GFD is the umbrella organization for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Ghana for over 30 years with a vision of an inclusive society for PWDs. He works closely with the GFD to advance the vision and mission of total inclusion of PWDs in community development. 

Elias is a business development professional with a seven-year experience in sales, marketing and customer relationship management. His professional experience spans across the financial industry; mainstream and investment banking, as well as the non-bank financial sector. He is known for his ability to drive sales and exceed performance targets.


Jia Bin was born and raised in China.  She has been a language teacher (English and Mandarin Chinese) who has taught in China, the United Kingdom and the United states. Jia’s passion for helping others to communicate over the last 10 years has led her to become open about her own experience of stuttering in various cultures. Jia is an active member of NSA and has served as the central north regional chapter coordinator. She is a former host for Stuttersocial. Jia is also a founder of a Chinese stutter podcast and hosting online support sessions for the Chinese stuttering community. Jia is currently a graduate student in communicative science and disorders at Michigan State University.


My name is Mounah Bizri. I am French-Lebanese. I have stuttered since I started to talk. My stutter was very severe when I entered university; I could barely say 2 words in a row. Like many of us, I was subject to bullying and many people did not believe in my abilities. Those experiences developed my fighting spirit. I managed to reach my goals and I want to continue to show that with a stutter, we can do anything we want.

Through the years, I learned that stuttering is part of me and without it, I would not be who I am.  I believe that despite all the struggle, my stuttering brought me a lot of positive outcomes. Now, I am acting in France to help people who stutter to live positively with stuttering through the Association Parole Bégaiement. In 2019, we created the eloquence of stuttering, a 6-week speaking competition for people who stutter.


Anita S. Blom, born and raised in the Netherlands, is living in Sweden. She worked as an operation manager for the Workers’ Educational Association. She was chairperson of the local stuttering chapter, board member, international contact and former chairperson of the Swedish stuttering association, vice chair of the European League of Stuttering Associations, and member of the advisory board for the International Stuttering Association. She was a national and international keynote speaker on stuttering, had her own stuttering consultant company and  was a project leader of several stuttering projects. She was also a leader of national and international children and youth camps for over 20 years. 

Anita, aka Scatsis, has stuttered since she was 9 and had a troublesome youth because of her stuttering. She went from being silent, to giving stuttering a voice, from pre-school children to the European Parliament, now inspiring people who stutter of all ages, they can make a difference. Do check out her previous papers to the ISAD online conferences.

Due to health issues she now has to take it slow, but is still an inspiration to many, acknowledged by Voice Unearthed on the Wall Of Inspiration, and many others. Her device, that’s now been used all over the world is “Sure I stutter. What are you good at?”


Paul Goldstein has studied in quite a few fields, including music composition, mathematics, and speech-language pathology. He spent his first 46 years in the United States, during which he worked as nightclub and concert pianist, concert director, music instructor, computer programmer, and speech-language clinician. Twenty years ago he moved to Norway to marry. He now works in social services as a foster “weekend father”, and as a pianist-composer. Paul has stuttered since his first sentences at age 3. His journey has taken him through decades of speech therapies, including various fluency shaping programs. Through intensive practice, he enjoyed many extended periods of fluency. However, he now simply accepts himself peacefully as a person who happens to stutter. Active for decades in national and international stuttering organizations, Paul has attended numerous stuttering conferences, and has published a number of stuttering-related articles. He is also an administrator in Facebook’s largest stuttering forum.


Vishal Gupta is from Bangalore, India. He is an engineer and works in the UK based MNC as a UX Specialist. I am a person who stammers since the age of 3 and still stammer with high confidence and acceptance. I used to run the very famous Stammerfreely hangout for 5 years and I have been a guest on shows on Indian radio’s FM. I have been a part of The Indian Stammering Association for the last 8 years and also was a Delhi chapter coordinator for 5 years.

 


Pamela Mertz is a person who stutters and is actively involved in the global stuttering community. She is a past Board member of the International Stuttering Association, and present Board member of the USA National Stuttering Association. She blogs and hosts the popular podcast “Women Who Stutter: Our Stories.” She was a host for Stutter Social for  six years and is a leader in the workplace stuttering advocacy group, 50 Million Voices.

Pam hid her stuttering for close to 30 years. People closest to her did not know she stuttered because she hid it so well. Her preferred hiding technique was avoidance. She intentionally chose to not speak up, get involved and let her “Real Pam” out. In 2006 she was fired from a 20+ year job due to stuttering. That was her rock bottom moment when she decided to reclaim herself, her voice, and her true identity as a person who stutters. She finally embraced her stuttering self and no longer engages in the exhausting practice of trying to hide. Pam’s open authenticity has had a reciprocal result: when she openly stutters, she invites others to be open about their “thing” and deeper conversations happen and strong relationships are built.

Pam has facilitated a number of workshops on covert stuttering and women who stutter, locally, nationally and globally.


Andrea Stéen is a person who stutters from Sweden. She’s been involved in the stuttering community for a few years; locally, nationally as well as internationally. As of most recent, she’s the founder of an online platform/stuttering awareness brand in Sweden called Projekt Prata (translates to Project Speak)  where she works to end stigma around stuttering. She’s a passionate advocate for the stuttering community empowering and encouraging people who stutter of all ages. 

 


John Steggles currently serves on the  ISA Advisory Board and has previously served as Vice Chair on the ISA Board of Directors.

John is an accountant and has been involved in the stuttering self-help movement for over 35 years. He helped form the Australian Speak Easy Association (ASEA) in 1981 and is a past President of that association as well as a former Director of the Australian Stuttering Foundation with Profs. Ashley Craig and Mark Onslow. John was instrumental in forming the ASEA speech technique booster programs and is highly experienced in the use of the prolonged speech method as well as the McGuire Program. John gave a presentation on the prolonged speech method at the 1st World Congress for People Who Stutter in Kyoto, Japan in 1986. He also attended the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th World Congresses and is well known in the international self-help movement. John now edits a blog on stuttering under his writing name of Stuttering Jack and helps keep people who stutter informed about stuttering related issues through his Facebook profile. John conducts voluntary stuttering treatment intensives and is currently assisting the Vietnamese Stuttering Association with treatment and administrative matters in establishing their association.

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