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Five highlights of the 2014 NSA conference

Casey (2nd from right) and conference friends Conference attendees at a tour of the Capitol Building

No, not the National Security Agency – I’m not a spy. It wasn’t the National Speakers Association either, although, funnily enough, it did hold its conference during the same time.

Last week, I attended the 2014 National Stuttering Association (NSA) conference in Washington, D. C.

Almost 1,000 folks worldwide – including people who stutter (PWS), their loved ones and speech-language pathologists – gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown D.C., making it the NSA’s largest conference.

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My trip to Washington for the NSA conference

On the terrace of Washington's Newseum On the terrace of Washington's Newseum

The 2014 NSA Conference was a huge success. It took place in the beautiful and historic city of Washington, DC, and was the biggest conference ever with just over 970 attendees. It was my first time at the conference and was a truly memorable experience. There were many interesting people to meet and talk to, things to do in the city and interesting workshops and social events to attend.

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Beyond the ignorance

It amazes me how, in this day and age, the way we articulate our words alters people’s perceptions of us. I am amazed at people’s ignorance when it comes to how I say words. Amazed that I can be treated so differently because it takes me longer to say a word or a sentence. Amazed that there is still such a stigma associated with stuttering.

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Little Miracles

Richard and daugher

If there is one thing I can say I have learned, it is the joy of being a single father of a child with special needs. This is a joy that can be so intense that laughing is not merely enough to celebrate it.  I have learned to cry tears of joy, and to smile during the toughest of times with my child. No matter how small the accomplishment might be, it deserves to be celebrated. For when we look back it will be those little hurdles that our children overcome that will carry the biggest reward. Each hurdle is a little miracle in itself.

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David Stones reads from "Infinite Sequels"

David Stones is a semi-retired business executive and CEO. He divides his time between Toronto and Stratford, Ontario volunteering in support of the world renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the town's rich cultural heritage. He is also a writer and a person who stutters. He read from his book of poetry, Infinite Sequels, on Tuesday November 19th at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto.

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Stuttering and the self-esteem game

selfesteem

Where can I buy some self-esteem? How expensive is it? Where and how is it manufactured? These questions may sound absurd but this is how most people tend to treat self-esteem: like it is a scarce resource that must be cultivated and protected with the goal in life to get as much self-esteem as possible.

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