I  first heard about FRIENDS via a flyer from the University of South Florida Stuttering Youth Day Workshop in January 2009. Although I didn’t personally attend the USF workshop, I requested the resource materials to be mailed to us and found out that the FRIENDS 2009 Tampa convention was to be held one hour away from our home in Orlando Florida.

My son Carlyle who stutters, my daughter Alysia and I WE WERE BLOWN AWAY !  All the parents, adults who stutter, SLPs, Teens and kids who stutter were very warm and supportive of us from the moment we arrived at the Embassy Suites in Tampa. I gained so much from the speakers and parents who are helping their kids gain self-esteem and confidence. Since the FRIENDS convention my son Carlyle has had a life–changing attitude towards his stuttering and his ability to communicate in public.

We are also especially grateful to the organizations and individuals who contribute to the scholarships for families in need. Having high medical bills, to having work hours cut and then having been laid off from a long term job….. I knew I had to be humble and ask for help to attend the convention for the sake of my son.

My hope is that FRIENDS will be a household name for those young people who stutter and their parents, as Friends truly understand the struggles and challenges we face raising a teen who stutters.

Friends Chicago 2010 Convention – Our First Time

This was our first Friends convention. My husband and I attended with our 19 year-old son who stutters. Having been involved with my son and his therapy for many years I foolishly thought to myself, what can I learn? Boy, was I wrong.

Dr. Rabinowitz’s presentation was amazing. The emotion that was evident when he spoke of his childhood moved me to tears; his success and passion for his work was inspiring. From the moment we arrived, our son was off with his peers. It was a joy to see him so full of confidence and at ease. The courage of all of the speakers was incredible. What truly struck me was how nice everyone was.

I have never been among a group of people where everyone (parents, kids, teens, professionals) was so kind, caring, accepting and thoughtful.

Donna Onorato

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