October 24, 2015: Canadian Stuttering Association’s 2nd Annual One Day Conference Event in Toronto

The following message (July 21, 2015), which I am pleased to share, is from Alexandra D’Agostino of the Canadian Stuttering Association (CSA):

“Hey everyone! I am excited to present the Canadian Stuttering Association’s 2nd Annual One Day Conference Event in Toronto on October 24th 2015! This year we are offering a variety of workshops, presentations, open mics, and a keynote speech and interactive workshop delivered by none other than Katherine Preston, author of “Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice”. Early Bird pricing includes $20 for adults, and only $10 for students!”

[End of text]

I am very pleased that the CSA, which I co-founded in 1991 along with many other people who stutter from across Canada at the start of several decades of work focusing on community self-organizing among people who stutter, is doing such great work on behalf of people who stutter – including children who stutter and their families – with a focus on social media and face-to-face events such as the October 24th event outlined above.

Community self-organizing and media relations

The basics of what I know about community self-organizing and media relation – basics to which I have added, in recent years, in a process that people like to call ‘continuous improvement’ – is based upon my previous twenty-five years, starting about 1988, of active volunteer work on behalf of people who stutter at the local, national, and international levels.

I have learned so many things. I feel a strong sense of gratitude, regarding what I have learned. Gratitude, as it has turned out, is a strong source of motivation for me.

As a child, I would never have imagined that I would have a thirty-plus years career as a public school teacher. As a child, the idea of standing in front of a classroom of students was absolutely the most alien idea that I could have imagined. Over the years, I have met many teachers, and a handful of administrators as well, as well as a good number of people in many other lines of work, in countries around the world, who have achieved outstanding success in their chosen careers despite the fact that, at some stage in their lives, they faced the challenge of being a person who stutters.

There are many lessons, in such stories. The main lesson, I would say, is that if a person has a problem to deal with, the best way to deal with it is by facing it head-on, rather than putting it aside.  A secondary lesson, perhaps as important as the first, is that whatever the challenge may be, that is the primary challenge in life that a person may face – and I would say it is likely that each person faces one challenge or another – we have a lot to learn from each other. That is the basic tenet on which community self-organizing, whatever form such organizing may take, is based upon.


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