The association, of which I’m a co-founder, was launched at the first-ever national meeting go people who stutter, which was held in Banff, Alberta in August 1991.
Recently I’ve had an online conversation with Daniele Rossi, a member of the Canadian Stuttering Association, regarding a stuttering conference he recently attended in Europe. I share the conversation for your interest. We begin with a message from Daniele:
I got back from my trip to the Nordic Stuttering Seminar 2016 in Finland hosted by the Finnish Stuttering Association (which also included an optional trip to Tallinn, Estonia hosted by the Estonian Stuttering Association). It was great! I met a lot of PWS [people who stutter] from across Europe and made a lot of new friends.
I spread the word about the CSA. Every year, during the big Saturday night dinner, attendees from each country gets into a group and performs something – a skit, singing, whatever. I decided to give away copies of my book as prizes for people who give correct answers to Canadian trivia that I asked. I then explained the answers. Somehow I managed to incorporate CSA trivia in there.
Thought I’d share this 🙂
It’s wonderful to have the update, Daniele! I delivered a series of lectures, in Estonian, in Tallinn in 1990 about stuttering treatment. Speech therapists and people who stutter from across Estonia attended (it’s a small country, so not difficult for people to travel to Tallinn). The lectures led to the founding of the Estonian Stuttering Association a few years later.
I remember, in speaking with people who stutter after my lectures, one person remarked: “It’s really moving to know that somebody from a Western country would have an interest, would care about the situation, of those of us in Estonia who stutter.”
On another occasion, I was speaking with a group of young people who stutter. We were waiting for a bus, which some of the people in the group were going to take to go home. People were sharing their stories, for example about experiences a person who stutters may have in school, as we were waiting for the bus. One bus after another arrived at the stop, and went on its way. We just kept on talking. People really enjoyed having the chance to talk about their experiences.
In Estonia in those days, there was an unspoken rule among the general population that, if you’re disabled, you hide your disability and never talk about it. People marvelled: “Here’s this guy from the fabled Western world, and he’s talking openly about the fact he stutters. This is amazing!”
Tallinn is a beautiful city. It has an old town that has walls and buildings from medieval times. Definitely worth a visit, so long as the Baltic states remain free from Russian domination.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania regained their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 when the Soviet system collapsed. However, they are now once again under threat of takeover by Russia. That’s among the reasons they joined NATO as soon as they could, after they regained their independence.
Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries are also great places to visit. I am very pleased indeed to know that CSA is well represented at meetings such as the one you have described, Daniele.
Beautifully written, Jaan. I stayed in the old town area and it was just the european fix I needed! 🙂 The Estonian hosts were so friendly and made our visit truly memorable. In response to your other email, I was asked to write an article about my experiences at the Nordic Seminar for the International Stuttering Association’s newsletter which I also plan to retrofit for the CSA. I’m planning to work on it tonight 🙂
[Conclusion of Sept. 10, 2016 online conversation]
Stuttering – A Listener’s Guide
An online video in which I highlight what I’ve learned, during the years that I was active as a volunteer on behalf of the Canadian Stuttering Association, can be accessed here:
Speaking notes for above-mentioned video
The speaking notes for the above-noted video can be accessed here.