In 1976 I was told by University of California, Santa Barbara speech clinic I was clinically fluent and to expect a relapse. I was 23 years old. And told myself I will not let my stutter stop me. I wanted to start a support group for PWS at the speech clinic. I met with five other PWS – once every two weeks for two months. I was a senior at school. I saw a flyer to be a University California Student intern at Sacramento, California-state capitol. I applied. I stuttered and was accepted.
I went to Sacramento with the intention of trying to start an organization for PWS in California. Meeting with staffers someone told me about Bob Goldman who wanted to start a national organization. I was 23 years old. I contact Bob. In 1977 the National Stuttering Project, which you may know as National Stuttering Association, was created. I returned to complete my senior year at College. AS well wrote NSP/NSA our first grant.
Summer of 1977 I joined Bob in Walnut Creek California. Bob left the organization by the end of the summer. I moved into our office on the second floor above a printing shop in a warehouse district. Today, the office would be remodeled and rented as art/work/live space. For the next 2 1/2 years residing in the office the organization mission was to create the atmosphere of peer support individual, group settings and workshops.
The early years of NSP/NSA professional community did not accept us. Many well known speech professionals—said we are only a phase—its’s not going to work because PWS did not want to meet with other PWS without a professional. Slowly, the professional community saw the value of peer support.
I reflect now and look at professionals’ bios and saying they are members of ASHA first then second—NSA is prominently promoted. 🙂
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