In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, FRIENDS will be going virtual. Learn more

Facilitators and Speakers

Get to know the facilitators of this year’s virtual convention by FRIENDS. Below is a partial listing for this year’s virtual workshops and will be continuously updated in late May and early June. 

Bridget Allen Chapman

Bridget Allen Chapman

Bridget Allen Chapman, M.A. CCC-SLP is a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University and serves as coordinator of The Flaum Fluency Program at The OSU Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. She received her B.S. from West Virginia University and her M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. Bridget has experience working with pediatric clients in out-patient clinics, schools, and home-based settings.

Kristel Kubart

Lee Caggiano

Lee Caggiano, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-F is the Director of Stuttering Therapy and Resources of Northern Colorado and treats children, adolescents and adults who stutter. Lee is the mother of a son who stutters and is co-founder and Director of FRIENDS: The National Association for Young People Who Stutter. She is committed to providing a high level of parent education and training and has developed and coordinated workshops for children who stutter, families and professionals for the past several years. She has presented at local and national conferences regarding the needs of young people who stutter and their families. Lee serves as a consultant to many school districts as well as teaching the graduate level fluency courses at New York University, Queens College, and Long Island University-Post.

Jason Cassell

Jason Cassell

Jason Cassell, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist who has been in practice since 1999. He is board certified in clinical social work, and has advanced training in psychoanalysis, trauma, and mindfulness. He is in private practice in New York City where he treats men, women, adolescents, and couples, including many patients who stutter. He helps his clients process and work through their feelings of shame, fear, and pain. In the past he has conducted workshops for speech therapists on counseling techniques at FRIENDS, the National Stuttering Association, the American Institute for Stuttering, and New York University. His wife Kristel is a person who stutters and he has been a part of the stuttering community for the last 10 years.

John Hendrickson

John Hendrickson

John Hendrickson is a Senior Political Editor at The Atlantic, where he recently wrote about former Vice President Joe Biden’s journey with stuttering. John previously wrote and edited for Esquire, Rolling Stone, and The Denver Post.

Caryn Herring

Caryn Herring

Caryn Herring, M.S., CCC-SLP is a person who stutters, an SLP, and a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University. Caryn’s research interests include the process of desensitization for people who stutter and the role of voluntary stuttering. Caryn has been involved with Friends since 2010, and now serves as the chairperson of the board of directors. She co-hosts the StutterTalk B-Team and is an active member of other stuttering organizations, including SAY and the NSA.

Kristel Kubart

Kristel Kubart

Kristel Kubart, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a person who stutters and a speech-language pathologist at the American Institute for Stuttering in New York City where she works with children, teens, and adults who stutter. She also works as a speech therapist in an elementary school in Brooklyn.  She received her Masters Degree in speech and language pathology from Purdue University in 2009, where she worked as part of a team of researchers to help understand how stuttering develops in young children.  She loves volunteering with FRIENDS and this will be her 10th FRIENDS convention.

Mark O'Malia

Mark O’Malia

Mark O’Malia, M.S., CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and person who stutters. He is a full-time clinician at The American Institute for Stuttering in NYC, working with people who stutter across the lifespan. Mark is actively involved in the stuttering self-help community, frequently facilitating and presenting workshops at national conferences for both Friends and the National Stuttering Association (NSA).

Barbara Saleh

Barbara Saleh

Our 10 year old daughter Lexi stutters and we discovered FRIENDS at the 2019 Annual Convention. Our lives were transformed the moment we walked in the door. There was instant support and friendship not only for our daughter but for my husband Anthony and me as well. We learned how to celebrate and support our child that stutters and went from feeling isolated and helpless to empowered and motivated to spread the information we learned. Listening to those that stutter, their families and the keynote speakers journeys opened our eyes in innumerable ways! We are now part of a family that welcomed us with open arms. If you or a family member is a person who stutters we promise….you have FRIENDS. 

Erin Samenuk

Erin Samenuk

I was introduced to Friends when our family attended the 2016 annual convention. Those three days were incredibly impactful for my son who stutters. Our family was forever changed for the better because of that experience. I want to help Friends give the same hope and positivity to other young people who stutter and their families. I can provide that parent perspective as I have been on the same journey as many others. 

Vivian Sisskin

Vivian Sisskin

Vivian Sisskin is a clinical professor at the University of Maryland, an ASHA Fellow, and a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency Disorders. She served as Coordinator for ASHA’s Special Interest Group 4 (Fluency Disorders), Chair of ASHA’s Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, and received ASHA’s Media Champion award. Sisskin served as Vice-Chair of the American Board on Fluency and Fluency Disorders and is a faculty member for the Stuttering Foundation’s Mid-Atlantic Workshop. She was named Speech-Language Pathologist of the Year by the National Stuttering Association. She owns the Sisskin Stuttering Center in the Washington DC area.

Onur Tekiner

Onur Tekiner

Onur is 28 years old and has stuttered since the age of 3. After moving to Chicago to improve his English skills, he read Van Riper’s books which subsequently changed his life. He wanted to challenge himself because he always hid his stuttering from friends and family, so he began voluntarily stuttering with people all over the city. These open conversations with over 200 random individuals helped him realize that stuttering isn’t something to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Onur graduated from the University of Thrace in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Econometrics.

Barry Yeoman

Barry Yeoman

Barry Yeoman is an award-winning freelance journalist in Durham, North Carolina. He works in both print and audio, putting human faces on complex social and political issues. He also teaches journalism at Wake Forest University and Duke University. He has been involved in the stuttering self-help movement since 1992.

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