MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ —Nearly two years after its establishment during the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Monmouth County Chapter of the National Stuttering Association will hold its first regular in-person meeting at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan on April 21. Meeting online since August 2020, the chapter has been connecting people who stutter in and around Monmouth County in an informal and non-judgmental manner each month to discuss life events, family and challenges. Speech-language pathologists, family members and friends also have participated in these meetings.
“Our first regular in-person meeting is truly a momentous and exciting occasion for us,” said Joanne Summer, a Manasquan-based speech-language pathologist who leads the chapter. “Although we had one or two social events in outdoor settings over the past two years, all of our regular meetings have been online. Our members have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get together in person to discuss life in general and the challenges and triumphs they face with like-minded people.”
Face-to-face communication is important for everyone, and even more so for people who stutter, according to Summer. She explained that many physical and facial cues that are part of communication might not be picked up over a video call. “If a person who stutters is stuck in a silent block but is able to maintain eye contact, the listener will see that the person is not done expressing his or her thought and will wait for that speaker to finish,” she said.
The upcoming meeting at the library, which is located at 125 Symmes Drive in Manalapan, will begin at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the meeting or chapter, email your name and phone number to Summer at [email protected].
Founded in 1977, the National Stuttering Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing hope and empowerment to adults and children who stutter, their families and speech professionals through support, education, advocacy and research. One of the most important aspects of the group is its network of nearly 200 local chapters across the United States through which more than 2,500 people each month discuss life, stuttering, and how best to cope with their disfluency. More information on the NSA and stuttering can be found at www.westutter.org.