Weekend wrap-ups: Peer support and self help for PWS. How would you integrate peer support into your therapy practice?

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.  🙂

Michael Sugarman

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Weekend wrap-ups: Peer support and self help for PWS. How would you integrate peer support into your therapy practice? — 2 Comments

  1. What an amazing journey to share. And finally I know it is Walnut Creek, CA. Going to make it a visit soon!

    elizabeth kapstein

  2. I think a peer group is a fantastic idea! When you left the speech clinic that day were you given any resources or strategies in case your relapsed? Or according to them, when you relapsed? What do you wish they had done differently? Did you find the peer group helped you to not relapse? Thank you