Virtual ResourcesConnect with FRIENDS no matter where you are.
Stay connected with Friends, remotely.
We hope you and your families are safe, healthy, and have access to the resources you need during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is truly an unprecedented and challenging time. At Friends, we care deeply about our community and the well-being of individuals and families, especially during times like these. We are coming to terms with the fact that things will not be the same for a while, and we are working on alternative ways to continue offering the support for young people who stutter and their families, which is so central to our mission.
We are happy to announce a few virtual Friends activities, including a virtual open mic and a virtual parent support group. We recognize that a supportive community is especially essential right now. Please use this page for reference as we share updates on these activities. We also invite you to engage with us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Virtual FRIENDS 23rd Annual Convention
We are excited to announce that the Virtual FRIENDS Convention this year will be held on June 18th to 20th. This convention will offer virtual workshops for kids, tweens, teens, adults who stutter, parents, siblings, and SLPs.
This year will be our 23rd year of providing support, education, and empowerment to young people who stutter and their families. We understand what a special and meaningful time the convention is for so many of us each year, and so we decided to create opportunities for joyful virtual encounters with new and old Friends that will keep us all connected in spite of Covid-19. We are excited for the renewed connections that our virtual convention will be able to offer, no matter where we are.
Virtual Parent and Adult Groups
Friends is now offering virtual parent and adult groups! This is a space to keep us connected, share ideas and concerns, and to reinforce the understanding that we are all in this together.
Details: Each session will be limited to the first 12 people to register. You will know that you got a ‘spot’ when you receive a registration confirmation email with the Zoom info. If you do not receive this within 24 hours, assume you are on the ‘waitlist.’ We will work to add more parent groups if there is interest! We appreciate your patience in advance while we navigate this new virtual platform (and technology!).
Please register at least one day in advance. Once registered, please email the facilitator directly with topics you may be interested in discussing. Their email addresses may be found in their biographies below.
User tips: We will be using Zoom. If you are new to this program, please visit Zoom’s FAQ for tech questions (this seems to work best on the Google Chrome browser). To ‘join’ the meeting, simply click the URL listed in your confirmation email at the start of your parent/adult group.
Upcoming Parent Groups
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. Email Jason
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. Email Lee
Tricia Zebrowski, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is Professor Emerita at the University of Iowa, and a speech-language pathologist specializing in stuttering. Her clinical, research and teaching expertise is stuttering intervention, with a special focus on teenagers who stutter. For over 20 years, Tricia directed UISpeaks for Teens, a residential therapy program for teens who stutter. Her most recent work attempts to uncover the ways of thinking that facilitate teenagers’ decisions about their stuttering. Email Tricia
Upcoming Adult Group
FRIENDS Supporting FRIENDS
This is a discussion group where we invite people to share ideas and messages of support during the challenging times we are currently living through. Everyone is welcome to share activities they have done with their families that others may be interested in hearing, as well as interesting online resources and notes of support. And of course, this forum can simply be used to connect with FRIENDS! Click here to join the group. (Note: You must be logged into Facebook to view this group.)
Virtual Open Mic
Friends is starting a virtual open mic! If you’ve attended an annual convention, then you know how much fun and empowering open mics are. In this challenging time that may feel a bit isolating, the virtual open mic offers young people who stutter and their families a platform to share their voices and connect with the stuttering community. It’s your time to be heard. Tell a joke, share your best advice for someone else who stutters, do a dance, play an instrument, or share something else that brings you joy! If you are interested in participating, talk to a parent or guardian and then email a short video to email@example.com!
Watch Lexi and Josette’s open mic videos here!
Here are some ideas!
- Send your thanks to healthcare workers
- Sing a song
- Play an instrument
- Tell a joke
- Your best advice to another person who stutters
- Your best advice to a younger child who stutters
- What would you like to say to your parents about stuttering?
- Your best advice to teachers with students who stutter
- What is one (or a couple of things) you are thankful for?
- While you are home, what are some things you are doing that make you happy?
- What is one hobby you have picked up, or are planning to pick up during the coming weeks?
- If there is one thing you could tell the coronavirus, what would it be?
Creating a Stutter-Friendly Virtual Learning Environment
Classroom settings can often be a site of stress and obstacles for children who stutter. Concerns that students may have about being given the opportunity and time to speak may be amplified as classes move online. Additionally, outside stress and the change in routine might make this time an exceptionally difficult one for students to manage their stuttering. To learn of some ways that you, as teachers, can make your virtual classroom an accommodating learning environment, read more here. (Young people and parents, this is also a great resource to download and share with your teachers.)
Below are external resources that may be helpful. We will continue to update this portion of the page as we learn of new articles, podcasts, and other resources.
That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief (via Harvard Business Review)
A helpful read for those of us feeling grief during this coronavirus pandemic.
Family Wellness: Resources to Take Care of Yourself and Your Children (via Breathe for Change)
This resource is for parents and caregivers navigating this stressful time. It offers three wellness practices including breathing, checking in, and practicing loving kindness.
On the Front Lines of COVID-19 with Roisin McManus (via StutterTalk)
This StutterTalk podcast isn’t about stuttering, but features two amazing adults who stutter, Chaya Goldstein talking to Roisin McManus about her work in a NYC hospital. A really important listen.
FRIENDS: The National Association for Young People Who Stutter is a non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization under section 501(c)3.
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