courage

International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD)

By: Tanya Kramer, LPC.

This year’s theme is “Let’s free our voices, speak up, and show our stutter.”

Did you know that it is estimated that 1% of the world’s population stutters?  That means that there are about 3 million people in the United States who stutter.  Some famous people you might recognize who stutter include Winston Churchill, President Joe Biden, James Earl Jones, John Stossel, Marilyn Monroe, Emily Blunt, Hugh Grant, Steve Harvey, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Rosie Perez, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Bo Jackson, John Lee Hooker, Carly Simon, Elvis Presley….just to name a few.  Stuttering seems to be 3-4 times more common in men than women.

ISAD was started in 1998 by Michael Sugarman from Oakland, California. The intention of this day is to create connections between Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) and consumers as they learn from each other, give support, and educate one another along with the general public on the impact that stuttering has on individuals’ lives. Stuttering is defined as a difference in speech pattern involving disruptions or disfluencies in a person’s speech. An individual who stutters knows exactly what they want to say, but they have trouble producing the normal flow of speech. People who stutter might experience repetitions (D-d-d-dog), prolongations (Mmmmmmmmmilk), blocks (an absence of sound), or they can experience some combination of these. The severity of stuttering can vary widely among people.   

There is no identified “cause” of stuttering. But most researchers now consider stuttering to involve differences in brain activity that interfere with the production of speech, meaning it is a neurological and physiological condition. However, some people can experience an increase of symptoms when triggered by an emotional or situational factor.

There is not one specific cure for stuttering. However, many people benefit from various forms of speech therapy and access resources available through the National Stuttering Association. 

Controlling stuttering is a long-term journey which begins with acceptance of one’s stuttering. If you or someone you know stutters and wants support, you start by exploring The Stuttering Foundation.

I personally have benefited from working with a peer who stutters. I witnessed how he gracefully explained what stuttering is to teens in the program we worked at, and how he normalized that we all have things that are challenging for us. I am thankful to him for teaching me a deeper level of humility through vulnerability…and I will never forget that winter expedition!

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Ready to Become a Better Sleeper?

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Falling asleep is one thing. Staying asleep is something else. 

Our habits are the key to getting a good night’s rest night after night. Keep on reading to learn more. 

Reduce Light And Noise 

Light and movement are common disrupters of sleep. 

To block out the light, you can invest in some blackout curtains or an eye mask. 

When it comes to reducing noise, you can use earplugs or experiment with white noise. 

Playing soothing sounds can block out any unwanted noise and keep your mind calm before bed. 

Sleep Hygiene

Your evening habits have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep. 

It’s very important to listen to your body and allow it to wind down appropriately before bed. 

Most of us can’t walk through the front door at the end of the day and fall asleep right away. Most of us need to participate in some sort of relaxing activity first.

It may take some time to find an activity you like – however you can try journaling, reading a book or soaking in the tub. 

Follow A Sleep Schedule 

Our bodies thrive on routine – so having a consistent schedule both on the weekdays and weekends is so important. 

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can train your body, so it will anticipate when it’s time for bed.

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Understanding and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

“Everyone is better than me.” 

“I can’t do anything right.”

“Sooner or later, my peers will realize I don’t know what I’m doing.”

The above are common thoughts associated with imposter syndrome. 

Those who experience imposter syndrome often feel like they are underqualified, inexperienced or simply not good enough. 

Remember, a thought is not a fact. 

Just because something feels true doesn’t mean it is. 

It all comes down to shifting your mindset. 

Recognize All Efforts

All of your accomplishments are a result of your hard work!

You got hired because you were the best candidate for the position.

You got a good mark on that test because you put the work in.

It’s so important to be mindful of how we think about ourselves and be our own cheerleaders. 

The next time you catch yourself experiencing some self-doubt – finish the following sentences. 

“Today, I am proud that I…”

“I can’t believe that I achieved…”

“Wow! … really paid off.”

Redefine Success

There is no set-in-stone definition of success.

Success comes in many forms and means different things to different people.

Our journey to finding success isn’t measured by what we achieve. 

It is measured by our progress. 

Instead of thinking about how much you have to do, think about how far you’ve come. 

“Success is a process for all of us, and as long as you are making consistent progress towards your goals – sincerely giving your best effort more often than not – then you are already successful and deserve to feel proud of yourself.” – Hal Elrod

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What to do When You Feel Like a Failure

Any of these thoughts sound familiar?

“There’s no way I can do this!”

“I’m not smart enough.”

“Why even try? I know I’ll fail.”

Here’s the thing. We can’t always control what thoughts pop into our head. But we can control how we react to them. Believe it or not, you can navigate around those negative thoughts. Keep on reading to learn more.

Think Small

When we are overwhelmed with negativity, starting and completing tasks can feel next to impossible.

A great way to get yourself out of that rut is by breaking up large tasks into small manageable ones.

Which task sounds more manageable?

1) Jogging for 30 minutes a day?

Or

2) Jogging for 5 minutes a day?

Once you get comfortable at the 5-minute mark, you can slowly work your way up.

Accept Your Thoughts

Have you ever gotten mad at yourself for getting stuck on a negative thought?

Not exactly the best way to move past it.

Instead of judging yourself, try coming to terms with your thinking.

So, you had a negative thought. That’s okay. It is just your anxiety speaking to you. Feelings are not facts.

Accept it. Understand it. Move forward.

Redefine Failure

Who says failure has to be a bad thing? Failure isn’t dangerous. Failure can’t hurt you. You need to alter the way you look at the situation.

Every moment both positive and negative is a teachable moment. How did this “failure” make you a better person? What did you learn from this? The answers may surprise you.

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