What are some ways that we can make a difference?

I was wondering what are some ways that we can make a difference in the world to help people feel more safe? When I was reading articles, a lot of them had a common them of negative attittudes from people who do not stutter and I was wondering what are some ways we can bring awareness and make a different to help reduce people’s bias and other aspects related to it?

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What are some ways that we can make a difference? — 3 Comments

  1. Amber,
    Ok, I cannot love this question enough. Like, if this forum had the ability to have a reaction like social media does, I would so give this question a heart or care reaction (ok- I am a big Facebook user).. and speaking of Facebook- that’s a tool I love to use to break stigmas and knock down stereotypes regarding stuttering and society’s misunderstandings of stuttering. (I totally just got a visual of Wreck It Ralph knocking down a brick wall- if you haven’t seen that movie watch it sometime during a study break or something). When there is a good article on stuttering from a reliable source, or stuttering has a positive news story in the media- I share it on social media. So many of my friends that don’t stutter or who aren’t directly involved in the international stuttering community, know quite a bit about stuttering because of my posts and because of the education I have been able to provide them with via social media.

    With that, I just told a class of graduate students the other day, “I love a good advocating dumpster fire.” (Surely the moderators of this professional forum are going to remind me after typing that, that this is exactly that, a professional forum and terms like ‘dumpster fire’ shouldn’t be used.. but when you meet me, are in one of my classes, or are one of my friends, you will find out very quickly I am literally the same person with everyone… so yes, I just said ‘dumpster fire’ within a professional forum). I am also awaiting one of my dear colleagues who is also on this professional panel that I have known for years to respond to your question and lead off by saying, “Please excuse my dear friend Steff” first in their response.

    Advocacy can truly be addicting. Making a difference in the world is so much fun, so rewarding and can set your soul on fire. There is so much that you can do to make a difference, because as you already identified, there are still those stereotypes in society nationally and internationally (recognizing that this is an international conference, but that the stereotypes we see here in the United States regarding stuttering can be seen in other countries too). If you are not a big social media user, another great way is by word of mouth. On International Stuttering Awareness Day (October 22), before the pandemic I loved to give information out about stuttering (from a credible source or I made it myself) to the place wherever I was employed at the time. One year on this day, I gave out a bunch of fun buttons and informations pamphlets from the Stuttering Foundation of America to doctors and nurses and even patients in the hospital that I worked at (I took the day off just to do this and planned it, etc.) everyone LOVED it- and so many doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals wore their awareness pins. This not only helped spread overall awareness about stuttering, but it helped the staff and medical team know how to listen and engage with a person who stutters if a person who stutters were to be a patient at the hospital.

    So- there is a lot you can do to educate and make a difference to get the right information out there. Get creative 🙂 Pandemic times have made off-internet advocacy a bit difficult, but there is so much you can do.

    My only advice outside of this, and an area to head a little caution in, is to always remember with your advocacy and education efforts, that people who stutter have a voice themselves too. 🙂 When I first went into this field, I used to think that I needed to save the world of people who stutter wearing a cape… but people who stutter ended up saving me- it actually was the other way around. They are the heroes- and they have a voice too… so as you advocate, and make a difference on their behalves… never forget their voices too.

    Be well, and take care. Thank you for your compassion and already showing such great empathy for people who stutter. I look forward to hopefully getting the opportunity of hearing of some of your advocacy endeavors- keep coming to this online conference.

    Thanks,
    Steff

    • Hey, Steff!

      Aww thank you! That means a lot to me and I do use social media a lot too. I will bring awareness and I will also make sure that people who stutter have a voice too because everyone can help everyone out too. People who stutter have their own unique experiences too where they can provide great advice as well. As a person who used to have a communicative disorder myself when I was younger (I no longer have it), I know what it is like to be treated differently than everyone else. And reading these articles makes me feel less alone and inspired since it felt so isolating when I had the communicative disorder. Thank you so much for your kind words and your great advice! Are there ways that I can help people who stutter feel less isolated and anxious, since that it how I felt when I was younger?

      -Amber Yado

  2. Hi Amber-

    Thanks for such a great question! 🙂 What I really like to tell my students, and what I truly believe myself, is that as humans – we are all way more alike than we are different. I think sometimes, we tend to focus on what’s different, don’t we? Now, this is not totally our fault, as our brain is wired to focus on what’s different. However, I think this ‘negative bias’ is something that we can continue to challenge and ‘un-train’ – if that makes sense?

    Building rapport with our clients is so very important – even if it takes some time. Getting to know them – their likes, dislikes, values, etc – can also be really, really important as it helps us to continuously check-in with them along the way to ensure that what we are working on in therapy connects to what is truly important to them.

    I also really like to ask my clients what their goals are for therapy – and to let them know that they have the freedom and power to speak up at any point during the therapeutic process if they feel as though therapy is not ‘working’ for them. Then, we go back to the drawing board and figure it out together – as a team.

    I hope this helps! Great question! 🙂
    ~Jaime

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