Including and educating researchers, empowering children who stutter, and being a “clownician” were a few of what was presented and discussed at the 13th International Stuttering Congress held in Hveragerði, Iceland on June 22 to 27, 2019. There were about 165 attendees from over 20 countries including yours truly. I felt an enthusiastic vibe that lived up to the congress’ theme of “Embrace Your Stutter”.
On this episode, I report some of the takeaways and action items born from this global stuttering community:
- The congress was opened by Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson President of Iceland(!), who shared his story of how he can relate to our stuttering. While he does not stutter, he had speech therapy as a child for learning how to pronounce the rolling r sound which is an important and recurring sound in the Icelandic language.
- The congress had an official song! “Talk To You”, written by keynote speaker, Anita Blom, and with music by Hjörleifur Ingason, was sung by Hrafnhildur who was a finalist in the Icelandic version of The Voice. You can listen to Talk To You on Soundcloud but beware, its very catchy melody will repeat in your head over and over and over!
- I sat in on a workshop by Dr. Erik X. Raj, CCC-SLP, about using humorous apps to engage children in speech therapy sessions. Something he calls being a “clownician”.
- Empowering children who stutter, and teaching parents how to empower their children.
- Prominent and active member of the stuttering community, Anita Blom, gave the first of three keynotes, touching on, among many topics, the state of the online stuttering community, its arguments, and putting the individual’s needs first (example, stopping stuttering, not fearing it).
- Including and educating researchers in order to prevent harm to people who stutter.
- Stuttering comedian, Nina G, gave the third keynote where she shared her history of stuttering and (lack of) accommodation in school with her dyslexia. A great compliment to Anita’s keynote is Nina’s tip that shame and acceptance of stuttering go up and down, therefore, no need to be dogmatic about being positive all the time. Oh, and she also launched her book, Stutterer Interrupted!
- I gush over the brilliant STAMMA marketing campaign by the British Stammering Association.
- My cartooning workshop that I gave and how I was given a glimpse into an SLP’s world through the comics they drew.
- Learning about cluttering.
- Two pick up football/soccer games were played.
- Franky Banky also made an appearance.
- and more!