Note to participants! I will be checking my twitter throughout the presentation to field questions. So please address them to @ninagcomedian. Also, please post questions here that you would like me to address.
Saturday, October 21 I will be the keynote for Dublin, Ireland’s National Stammering Awareness Day! I am so excited, especially because this year’s theme is “A World that Understands Stuttering.” Because I will also be in Huntington Beach performing for the keynote at the California Association of Postsecondary Education and Disability, I won’t be in Dublin in person (as much as I would love to go back to Ireland). That is why I wanted to front load my presentation. I will be delivering my Irish keynote on Skype so I don’t think I will be able to do a powerpoint, but wanted to supply some visuals. So Irish Stammering community! Here ya go!
Through a combination of storytelling, comedy, and hopefully taking advantage of saying “feck”, I will be talking about, you guessed it—STAMMERING! I will be exploring Joe Sheehan’s concept of the”stammering iceberg” and how it is constructed by the stigmas we take on from the world. I will question the idea of this iceberg as a constant. If we shirt our perspective, might be be able to reframe the iceberg to be more empowering. Can’t we change how we think about our own stammering? I offer an alternative, but in the end will challenge the audience, stammers, or not, to reconsider their own icebergs. These questions include:
What does your current iceberg look like?
- What thoughts and feelings do you currently have about your stammering?
- Where did these thoughts and feelings come from?
How would you like this iceberg to change?
- Choose one feeling from Sheehan’s iceberg that you currently identify with or have identified with in the past.
What kind of iceberg do you want to strife for?
- How do you want to change the ways that you think and feel about stammering?
- What do you need from the stammering community to do that?
Of course, we should recognize that we just don’t snap our fingers and make these changes. They are life long. To reject the stigma that our society fosters and change the way we think about stammering is a work in progress.
Since I just gave away most of my speech, let me explain my two images that I will be using.
This picture is especially for the professionals in the room. Speech and language therapists, helping professionals, and whoever else: this is an illustration of equality and equity. It is commonly shown in presentation in education in the US. It demonstrates that everyone has differences and that through universal design we are able to address these differences. For people who stammer, we don’t want anything different from anyone else, we just want access to what everyone else gets. This can include education, work, and relationships.
The next picture illustrates Sheehan’s iceberg on the left and my revised iceberg on the right. Sheehan’s analogy of the iceberg was that stammering was like an iceberg, with stammering above the waterline and our negative feelings about stammering submerged below. I challenge this theory by asking, can we think of our stammering differently. I added some different words we might use to describe the experience of our speech. It just isn’t the job of the person who stammers to change how they think about stuttering but it is the responsibility of parents, professionals, the media and everyone in the world to create a better understanding of stammering.
, published by J&R Press, 2018If you want to create your own iceberg, go for it! I would love to see them, so tag me at Facebook.com/ninagcomedian or Twitter/Instagram @Ninagcomedian. Here is something you can use…
Nina’s book Stutterer Interrupted: The Making of a stuttering Stand Up Comedian is due out in 2018! Sign up for news from Nina at www.NinaGcomedian.com.