ASEA 2020 Online Conference Session Descriptions and Speakers

Keynote Speaker

J Scott Yaruss: East Lansing, MI, USA

What do you mean, “Accept my stuttering?!?”

The concept of “acceptance of stuttering” is commonly discussed by speech-language therapists, researchers, and stuttering support organizations. Less commonly discussed is what acceptance actually means! The lack of specificity about the definition of acceptance has led to confusion, conflict, and controversy for people who stutter—and for the clinicians who serve them. Questions about acceptance include: How does acceptance relate to speech therapy? Is acceptance compatible with smooth speech approaches? What about other types of therapy? Is acceptance even an appropriate goal for people who stutter, or does acceptance mean that one must give up on the dream of more fluent speech? This keynote presentation will address these and other sensitive questions about acceptance, with the aim of sparking thought and discussion about the meaning of accepting stuttering.

J Scott Yaruss, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, F-ASHA, is a professor of communicative sciences and disorders at Michigan State University. A practicing speech-language pathologists who specializes in stuttering, Yaruss conducts research on the nature and treatment of stuttering. His specific research focus is on how individual differences between people who stutter affects their life experiences. Yaruss has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, as well as nearly 300 other books, booklets, chapters, and other resources on stuttering.

Alice Hart: Perth, WA, Australia

Stuttering and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

The presentation will provide a general overview of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The presentation will also include a discussion of how ACT may be incorporated into speech pathology treatment for adolescents and adults who stutter, including a brief overview of a novel Fluency + ACT treatment program written by Alice Hart and Dr Janet Beilby. An overview of how people who stutter may use ACT in their everyday lives will also be provided.

Alice K. Hart (nee Carter) is a certified practicing speech pathologist, doctoral candidate, and sessional academic in the School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work, and Speech Pathology at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. Her clinical and research interests include treatment of Fluency disorders and improving quality of life and engagement for adults who stutter. Alice has recently completed a clinical trial of an integrated Fluency + Acceptance and Commitment Therapy treatment for adults who stutter as part of her PhD studies, co-written with supervisor Dr Janet Beilby.

Amanda Caunter: Croydon, NSW, Australia

A day in the life of an Early Childhood Teacher who stutters

In this presentation I will provide a synopsis of the challenges and obstacles that I faced on the road to becoming an Early Childhood Teacher. This however was not my first career choice. I had to make a heartfelt career decision to accept that being a primary school teacher may not have been the right career path for me at the time. I came to terms with this during treatment for my stuttering. It was not an easy time for me, as I had my heart set on being a primary school teacher. But I realise now that even though this was a difficult time, the change in direction may have been for the best at that time in my life. I have become more confident within myself and this has led me to accomplish things that I thought were not possible. During the presentation I will take delegates on a journey that is my life and will reveal the motto that has helped me to achieve all that I have to this day.

Amanda Caunter has been a member of Australian Speak Easy Association since near completion of her stuttering treatment with the Australia Stuttering Research Centre. The onset of stuttering occurred at age three. Received treatment for my stutter at the Communication Disorders Treatment Clinic, the University of Sydney with the Lidcombe Program and the Stuttering Unit at Bankstown. My stuttering severity was reduced significantly however it did not resolve completely. However, my stuttering severity was exacerbated whilst on professional experience in a primary school setting. I was working towards achieving a degree as a primary school teacher. Received private treatment at the Australian Stuttering Research Centre. During treatment, I made a conscious decision to add early childhood units onto my degree in order to provide further opportunities for job prospects upon completion of university studies. My skills and interests were more suited in the Early Childhood setting so I pursued a career inspiring young inquisitive minds. I worked casually in children’s services in 2014 and commenced full time work as an Early Childhood Teacher in 2015.

Angela Morgan, Jessica Boyce, Vicki Jackson: Melbourne, VIC, Australia

An update on the international genetics of stuttering project

Will provide an update on what is happening in the speech genetics study in Australia and internationally. There is some exciting progress as regards our having recruited around 15 further international cohorts. We have some preliminary data analysis although we have not cracked the code yet as regards the first genetic loci for stuttering.

Angela Morgan is Professor of Speech Pathology at the University of Melbourne, Australia and Head of Speech and Language at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She is Director of the speech genetics clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Angela has 23 years of experience as a clinician and researcher. She has over 180 peer-reviewed publications demonstrating her dedication to understanding speech disorders. She is a core investigator of an international study to examine the first genetic loci for stuttering. Her research has focused on understanding why speech disorders occur. Her work has a long-term view of developing therapies that target underlying causes rather than only treating surface symptoms.

Dr Jessica Boyce is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Speech & Language Group (MCRI), lecturer in speech Pathology (University of Melbourne) and speech pathologist (Protea Therapy). She is involved in recruitment, participant follow up and write-up for the Genetics of Stuttering Study. Jessica’s broader research interests also include complex speech and language phenotyping in individuals with other speech conditions.

Dr Vicki Jackson is a Research Fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne. Vicki has a background in Medical Statistics and Genetic Epidemiology, with a focus on exploring the genetic underpinnings of a number of human traits and diseases. Within the Genetics of Stuttering Study, Vicki is involved in the analysis of the genetic data, co-ordination of the Genetics of Stuttering Consortium, and manages the website and social media channels.

Daniele Rossi: Toronto, ON, Canada

Let’s draw comics about our stutter!

I will share my joy of drawing comics about my stuttering experiences and the benefits of doing so for self-therapy, creative expression, awareness, and community. After a quick lesson on how to draw a comic strip, attendees will have the opportunity to draw their own comics about a speaking situation that happened to them (and maybe even change the ending!). All levels of drawing ability (including none) are welcomed!

Daniele Rossi is a digital strategist and cartoonist living in Toronto, Canada. Stuttering and scribbling comics since he was 4 years old, Daniele grew up to eventually produce the Stuttering is Cool podcast and book of the same name with the latter featuring comics starring Franky Banky, a cartoon fox who stutters. An active participant in the global stuttering community, Daniele co-founded Stutter Social, an online community facilitating group video chats for people who stutter; is an advisory member to the board of the Canadian Stuttering Association; and draws Franky Banky comics for the Association bègaiement communication quarterly newsletter. Daniele blocks on Ls, Ms and Ns, and stutters on vowels like Es and As. Since his first name can be difficult even for English- language non-stutterers to say fluently, you can call him Danny.

Gareth Walkom: Ghent, Flanders, Belgium

Virtual Reality: The upcoming modern tool for stuttering

Virtual reality (VR) has been becoming more accessible as technology improves. With VR, limitless virtual environments and scenarios can be created, fully immersing the user into the lifelike experience. Different from a real scenario, virtual scenarios can be safely controlled and stopped at any time, creating an ideal tool to practice lifelike scenarios. One of the many areas a tool like this can benefit is stuttering.

In this presentation, I’ll be highlighting how VR is already being used in stuttering, including my bachelor’s and master’s work on this, which attracted media attention, such as the BBC back in 2017, and across the world.
The future of VR for people who stutter, speech pathologists, and researchers, has the potential to be an outstanding tool. A tool that can benefit you during times such as COVID-19. A tool to connect the community.

Gareth Walkom, a person who stutters, is leading the way in utilizing how people who stutter and speech pathologists can benefit by using virtual reality as a tool. Working on this topic since 2015, Gareth has designed, developed, and tested various applications, giving positive results. From creating the first application in his bachelor’s degree, Gareth then went on to further develop his application into his master’s degree, where he utilized eye-tracking within VR. Measuring eye behaviors such as blinks, eye closures, and fixations, it soon caught the public’s attention. Since then, Gareth’s work has featured on the BBC, Independent, Guardian, and various TV and podcasts.

Grant Meredith: Ballarat, VIC, Australia

Ann Packman: Sydney, NSW, Australia

If you want to raise awareness about stuttering, then stutter!

Stuttering organisations navigate a fine line in terms of the accurately representing their membership base within media in order to raise awareness. Often such organisations appear to shy away from outwardly portraying people who are overtly stuttering with marked and uncontrolled symptoms. But in reality does the representation of a generalised person who stutters matter in terms of producing a more successful awareness campaign?

Grant Meredith is an academic within the School of Engineering, Information Technology & Physical Sciences at Federation University Australia, digital disruptor and social media influencer. He leads the applied Technologies for Empowering People for Participation in Society (TEPPS) research program where he enjoys creating “assertive technologies” to empower people (including people who stutter).

Ann Packman is a professor at the University of Technology Sydney and has been a member of the team at the Australian Stuttering Research Centre for over 20 years. She has published extensively on interventions for stuttering and has co-authored a book on theoretical issues in stuttering. She is a member of the ASEA Advisory Board.

James Hayden: Metairie, Louisiana, USA

The Journey from Embarrassment to Embracement

What would happen if we were not embarrassed by our vulnerabilities, but rather embraced them? In this presentation, James will talk about his journey from being embarrassed by his stutter to now embracing his stutter. He will discuss what caused the shift and the benefits of embracing his stutter.

James Hayden was born, raised, and currently lives in the New Orleans area. He is a New Orleans Saints fan, Survivor superfan, HLA technologist, writer, and a person who stutters. James is the author of Dear World, I Stutter: A Series of Open Letters from a Person Who Stutters. His work has been published by The Mighty, The Stuttering Foundation, Yahoo, and MSN. James has also appeared on several podcasts and was a speaker at TEDxOchsner 2019. He also serves as the chapter leader for the New Orleans chapter for the National Stuttering Association.

Jodie Quayle: Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Overcoming Adversity and Finding Your Own Clinical Identity

I would like to present as a PWS trying to get recognition and acceptance as a professional in the field of Speech Pathology. I like the term – It takes someone with a disability to be extraordinary to be ordinary. To me this means as a PWS I have needed to be exceptional in my performance to be recognised as a competent professional. Whereas able bodied people can get by being ordinary.

I’m a 39 year old woman (who stutters) in my final year of a Speech Pathology degree. My 4 year old daughter began stuttering approximately a year ago.

Madeline Wahl: Boynton Beach, FL, USA

Stuttering as Visual Art

I’m a person who stutters and have written about stuttering over the years for various publications. In 2019, I worked with a photographer to create a photo series called “Physical Body: Invisible Stutter.” Stuttering is at the intersection of words and the human body. The ten photos were published on the Stuttering Foundation, and the black-and-white photographs are of a personal nature. For so long, I’ve wondered why stuttering is thrown to the sidelines and isn’t looked at as an art form, a visual medium. So, I decided to change that by creating my own photo series that highlights the positive and very real aspects of stuttering not often talked about or discussed.

Madeline Wahl is a writer and editor based in New York. Previously, she worked for HuffPost and Golf Channel. Her writing has appeared on HuffPost, Red Magazine, the Stuttering Foundation, McSweeney’s, Pink Pangea, The Mighty, and Yahoo Lifestyle, among others.

Patrick Campbell: Cambridge, England

Sam Simpson: London, England

Chris Constantino: Tallahassee, Florida

Stuttering Pride and Prejudice

Stuttering has historically been thought of as a speech defect within an individual, as informed by the medical model of disability. However, alternative models of disability are challenging this preconception. The core of these emerging counternarratives is the liberating change in perspective from stuttering as a speech dysfunction (under the medical model) to a different and respected way of speaking where any disablement is a result of the way society is structured (under the social model). Additionally, some models, such as the political-relational model and neurodiversity, go further to position stuttering as a natural and valuable form of speech diversity that people who stutter may become proud of.

In this presentation, Sam, Patrick and Chris will consider different models of disability and their implications for people who stutter, clinical practice and research. They will reflect on how people who stutter, professionals and researchers can work together to empower and liberate the stammered voice.

Patrick Campbell: Patrick Campbell is a stammerer and junior doctor living in Cambridge England. He has an interest in how public and self-stigma intertwine to produce disability for people who stammer and how this debilitating process can be altered through seeing positive value in stammering. Patrick is co-editor of Stammering Pride & Prejudice (2019). Recently, Patrick has enjoyed getting back into jogging during lockdown.

Chris Constantino: Chris is a speech-language pathologist and assistant professor at Florida State University. Chris lives in Tallahassee, Florida with his wife, Megan, and son, Augustine. He teaches classes on counseling and stuttering and researches how the subjective experience of stuttering interacts with culture and society. Chris is co-editor of Stammering Pride & Prejudice (2019). Chris enjoys reading, bicycle riding, and scuba diving. He makes ice cream; his favorite flavor is fresh mint with Oreo pieces.

Sam Simpson: Sam is a speech and language therapist, person-centred counsellor and supervisor ( living outside London, England. Sam has a particular interest in the disabled peoples’ movement, the social model of disability and stuttering activism. Sam is co-editor of Stammering Therapy from the Inside: New Perspectives on Working with Young People and Adults (2013) and Stammering Pride & Prejudice (2019). In her free time, Sam enjoys walking her dog and mindfulness meditation.

Rich Stephens: Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Confident Voices – A unique and innovative creative arts program where every young person who stutter’s voice matters!

In 2019, The Stuttering Association for the Young – Australia (SAY: Australia) launched their FREE creative arts program ‘Confident Voices’ for young people who stutter aged 7-18 years in Melbourne. This comprehensive and innovative creative arts program utilises various forms of the arts to unlock to young people who stutter’s self-expression, confidence, and personal growth. In a safe environment of creativity, empathy, and inspiration, ‘Confident Voices’ enables the expansion of possibility for young people who stutter to be deeply heard and supported, to know that their voice matters and deserves to be heard, and more importantly, to know that they are not alone by making long-lasting friendships with other young people who stutter.

In this presentation, Rich Stephens, President of SAY: Australia and Confident Voices Programming Director, shares more about the work and philosophy of SAY: Australia.

Rich Stephens is a person who stutters. Rich is the President of SAY: Australia and has been involved with SAY (founded & based in NYC/USA since 2015). Rich is a UK qualified Mental Health Nurse and SLP. Rich’s nursing career took him to Dublin/Ireland and Wellington/NZ. Rich has a MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience & Neuroimaging, and turned down the chance to pursue his PhD studies in the USA to bring SAY to Australia. Rich believes that every person who stutter’s journey is unique and should always be respected. Rich lives in Melbourne with his partner Elaina and their beautiful baby boy Harrison.

Ryan Cowley: Toronto, ON, Canada

Tales of a Sportswriter Who Stutters

I will be covering my tales as a sportswriter who stutters by discussing adaptive methods I’ve used to help me conduct interviews over the phone, an area I’ve always had considerably difficulty.
I also emphasize how my methods are not a substitute for speech therapy and remind everyone, esp children who stutter and parents, not to take it for granted. I will also add an inspirational touch, using my own unpleasant experiences as a stutter, reminding everyone to pursue their dreams no matter what obstacles stand in their way.

Ryan Cowley has been a stutterer since early childhood but has never let that stop him from achieving his goals. He has been a Sportswriter since 2010 when he began his own website, covering the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. Ryan also runs his own blog,, about life, including his own challenges as a stutterer.
Ryan has lived in Toronto since 2009.

Sigridur Fossberg: Iceland

Anita Blom: Sweden

(In)accessibility in a Digital Age: Developing Sustainable Communication Technology for People Who Stutter

Learn about what Northern Europe is doing to promote accessibility to communication technology for all! Digitization may improve life for some people with disabilities, while digital assistants, answering services and GPS services can be particularly inaccessible for people who stutter. Increasing legislation at EU level hasn’t addressed this particular problem as of yet. This is why the Swedish stuttering association, Stamningsförbundet, the Icelandic Stuttering Association, Málbjörg, and FUNKA, a private, Swedish, accessibility consulting firm, started by disabled persons organisations, are joining forces to map, test and report on the issue. The goal of our project is to raise awareness and provide solutions.

Sigridur Fossberg is a woman who stutters and the current chair of the Icelandic stuttering Association. She is involved in a transnational project aimed at educating youth workers about stuttering as well as empowering young people who stutter. Sigridur was one of the main organizers of the 13th world congress for people who stutter, which took place in 2019. That same year, she joined the International Stuttering Association’s board of directors. Sigridur is currently pursuing a masters degree in adult education.

Anita Blom, originally from the Netherlands, is a person who stutters and the previous chair of the Swedish Stuttering Assocation. She has worked for several decades to break down barriers and improve the lives of PWS around the world, leading camps for children and youth who stutter for the past 20 years. She has founded and led a consulting firm on stuttering and motivation, been a national and international keynote speaker on stuttering and served on the boards of stuttering associations both in Europe and internationally.

Voon Pang: Auckland, New Zealand

Cultivating Stuttering Pride: Tips and Strategies for Fluent Speech Language Therapists

Research has shown that stuttering is often stigmatised as a negative trait (Boyle et al. 2016, St. Louis (2015). However, more recently, the notion of “stuttering pride” and “stuttering well” has gained traction in some community circles (Campbell et al. 2019). The social model of disability and its application to stuttering therapy will be explored along with tips and strategies to assist fluent speech-language therapists in cultivating “stuttering pride” when working with young people who stutter. Literature pertaining to therapy-induced guilt will be used to contrast safe and respectful therapeutic practices which nurture “pride”. Allyship and community support will also be brie[y discussed to ensure that fluent speech-language therapists (99% of the general population) support the 1% of the general population who stutter.

Voon has worked as a speech language therapist since 2007 and is the owner of Skill Builders Speech Language Therapy. He is passionate about working with people who stutter. When he is not at Skill Builders Speech Language Therapy, you can find him working as a speech language therapist for the Ministry of Education servicing different parts of Auckland. More recently, he supervised speech language therapy students at the University of Auckland (2019-2020) as a clinical educator and he was a specialist clinician at the Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust (2011-2019) where he set up the group programmes for children who stutter. His passion is to help people become the best communicator they can be as well as standing tall and being proud of their individuality. Voon continues to attend professional development workshops and conferences annually to stay up-to- date on the latest developments in the stuttering world. He is a member of the New Zealand’s Speech-language Therapists’ Association, Speech Pathology Australia, and the International Fluency Association.