Undergraduate students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders are helping to meet the needs of people who stutter through Illinois State University’s chapter of the National Stuttering Association (NSA). Each month, students host a support group meeting of the NSA. The support group is dedicated to NSA’s mission of bringing hope, dignity, support, education, and empowerment to children and adults who stutter and their families.
Illinois State’s chapter is the only one in Illinois south of Chicago.
In addition to running the support group, students also belong to a registered student organization (RSO) devoted to the National Stuttering Association. Jean Sawyer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is the faculty mentor for the group.
The RSO holds monthly meetings to talk about stuttering and plan fundraising activities and events. Some fundraising events have included bake sales, patronizing local restaurants, and working concessions at athletic events. The group has hosted speakers who have shared their stories of living with stuttering.
The group wishes to raise awareness about stuttering, and dispel some of the myths about stuttering. Stuttering is not something that the speaker can control, and stuttering is not caused by nervousness or anxiety. It is best to listen and not try to interrupt a person who is stuttering. Finishing a person’s sentences is not a helpful strategy to use when talking to a person who stutters.