Four million people in the USA stutter.
Over 68 million people worldwide stutter, including 5% of all children. Famous people such as Bill Walton, Bo Jackson, Ken Venturi, King George VI, Winston Churchill, Carly Simon, Bill Withers and a very “unfamous” Fred Kaplowitz.
Stuttering, a widely misunderstood speech disorder can cause extreme emotional distress in kids who struggle not only in verbal communication but also with shame, discrimination, bullying and social isolation.
Unlike the popular misconception that stutters are either nervous, anxious or stupid, research has shown that stutterers’ brains are simply wired differently and that genetic influences can also result in stuttering.
Stuttering can claim a child’s desire to speak, and ultimately their ability to achieve their dreams.
I know. I have been that child.
So today I am going to do something I promised never to do in my blog: Sell You something.
Several years ago, as I continued my seemingly never ending battle with stuttering, I came across an organization called “Our Time Theatre.” Our Time, a non profit organization, helps young people who stutter improve their confidence and communication skills.
The company’s programs are FREE to children age 8 to 18, from around the world who stutter, and addresses the emotional, social and physical impacts of the disorder. The company’s programs are designed to reorient children to believe that communicating their thoughts and feelings is more important than hiding their stuttering from others. In the words of King George VI they cry out “I have a voice.”
When kids learn they can embrace a positive self identity as a person who stutters, it reduces their struggle with speech and helps them to overcome social and academic obstacles so they can reach their full potential.
Over the years I have become a Board member of the Our Time Theatre and, in some small way, I hope I have contributed to the program and that’s what I am writing about today: To ask for your assistance.
Each year, Our Time hosts a Gala Event; it is our major fund raiser event that provides the needed revenue to keep this program going and it is where we honor people who stutter. In 2011, our honoree was David Sedaris, the man behind the movie, “The King’s Speech”, that won academy after academy award.
In 2010, we honored Carly Simon who said that when she was a kid, saying “Hello” was the hardest thing in the world for her.
Can you imagine not being able to say “hello?”
But she sure as hell could sing. And that helped her to get into the socialization of being a kid, a teen and become the beautiful, talented and caring woman she is today.
This year our honoree is Matt Slauson, starting Guard of the New York Jets. His award will be presented by Mark Sanchez, Jets Quarterback.
In addition to our honoree, a host of Broadway and TV actors from Paul Rudd to Jesse L Martin, Marisa Tomei, Ron Rifkin, Mariska Hargitay to Jane Alexander and many more will be appearing at the event which takes place in NYC on Monday April 16, 2012.
Thank you so very much and maybe we will see you on April 16 in NYC. I hope so.
P.S. If you have any questions please call or text me at 516 359 4874 and again thank you for reading this and for your future contribution.