On the weekend of June 23, I was in Albany, New York, where I attended the College of Saint Rose's 4th annual Stuttering Treatment Program.
There, I had the honour of being named the event's keynote speaker. I also signed copies of my first book, 'All the Right Words: My Journey as a Sportswriter Who Stutters.'
Overall, the weekend was a huge success.
I met a plethora of wonderful students in the College of Saint Rose's Communication Sciences & Disorders program, including a couple of Canadians -- Brooke and Keilie -- from Ottawa and Hamilton, respectively. I also met some clients -- four adults, two children -- whom I had the pleasure of learning a lot from over the course of the weekend.
The Stuttering Treatment Program was conducted by instructor and speech-language pathologist, Sarah Coons, who has been with the College of Saint Rose for over 20 years.
On Saturday evening, I gave my keynote address where I discussed my personal experiences as a Person Who Stutters from personal and professional standpoints as well as in speech therapy. I also took the opportunity to give the SLPs of tomorrow some (hopefully) lasting advice and even made an effort to motivate, and even inspire, those who stutter and their allies.
What I love most about being on the stuttering awareness circuit isn't even sharing my story -- although I do really enjoy that -- but meeting new people and learning from their respective journeys.
While we may all have that common bond as People Who Stutter, none of our journeys are the same. While we do find similarities along the way, the differences we discover in one another and our respective journeys can really go a long way to help someone else. That is certainly the case for me personally as I use my empathy to relate to new friends, new allies in the stuttering community. Some are older than me, some are younger; some have been part of the community for decades, and some may just be joining it. Whatever the circumstances may be, the stuttering community is a proud one and my weekend in Albany was certainly a great reminder of that.
I do hope to return to Albany next year, but until then, I will use what I've learned to better myself and hopefully inspire others to accept their stutter and to live their best lives.
See Ryan's speech here.