by Dahye Choi

The FRIENDS Convention in Denver was my first FRIENDS Convention. As a Ph.D. student doing research on stuttering, I wanted to meet people and listen to their stories. The experience in the convention was beyond my expectations.

Everyone who gathered there was so kind caring and accepting. Parents of children who stutter shared their stories and supported each other. Guest speakers’ lectures were informative and uplifting. Dr Luterman’s lecture was especially inspiring probably because the messages he gave us was from his own invaluable clinical experiences. When he said that counseling is not about making clients feel good, that was surely a moment of enlightenment for me. He further said, the goal of counseling should be to empower clients so that they can take ownership of the communication disorder. Dr. Scott’ s message was also resonating. She said that courage does not mean not being afraid a all. Courage means being afraid and doing it anyway. I could see the real courage of teenagers when their stuttering did not deter them from talking in front of people dining the open mic time.

I am grateful to FRIENDS for providing me with the opportunity to lean valuable lessons and meet friends. I dream of having the same convention in my home country, South Korea some day.

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