Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions we get regarding the conference. If you can’t find the answers below, please send us a note through our Contact Us form! We will get back to you as soon as possible.

This will be my first conference. Why should I attend?

The National Stuttering Association Annual Conference really does offer something for everyone, including people who stutter, their families and speech language pathologists. Many of our attendees come to learn how to educate others about stuttering and some want to learn how to regain control in their life, from the struggles of stuttering. Most of all, attendees tell us that just being around others who share some of the same struggles and joys of stuttering is life changing. If you haven’t met anyone who stutters before, this will be the perfect experience for you to meet others who share similar experiences and a common bond. Attending the conference is the first step to being inspired and pushed to make positive changes in your life. Explaining an NSA conference is like explaining the color red. You have to experience it to believe what it will do for you. Check out our Past Conference Information to get a taste of what’s in store.

I have never met anyone who stutters, and I won’t know anyone at the conference. Will I fit in?

YES! Imagine being in a room with 800 strangers – who stutter! What’s truly amazing about the conference is that you are able to be in one place with so many people who share a common bond. Everyone at the conference is there either because they stutter, they love someone who stutters or they are interested in learning more about stuttering. You’ll have a chance to connect with other first timers, as well as people who are returning attendees. From the moment you step foot into the conference hotel, you won’t worry about fitting in because you will be too busy connecting with others, making life-long friends, and sharing experiences!

How many people typically attend the conference?

It varies. In the early days we had less than 100 people. Typically you can expect between 700 and 900 people. However, in 2014, we had an all-time record of 974 attendees in Washington, DC.

Is there going to be anything specific for first-timers at the conference?

Yes, definitely! The NSA recognizes that those attending our conference for the first time will likely be overwhelmed at first. We offer a first-timer workshop, held both on Wednesday and Thursday. This introduction will prepare you for the next few life-changing days. You will learn what to expect and how to get the most out of your conference experience. In addition, we hold icebreakers and mixers to give you an opportunity to interact with other members. We were all first-timers once and love having the opportunity to help introduce others to the conference.

Who can attend the NSA conference?

People who stutter (young and old!), as well as their families, are encouraged to attend. There is a variety of programming for people of all ages, as well as for family members. Additionally, we strongly encourage speech-language pathologists and speech-language pathology students to join us.

How far in advance should I start planning my trip to the conference?

The amount of planning time varies person to person, family to family. However, we can tell you that for all of our conferences in recent years, the hotels have sold out and we have had to use a waiting list. If you are certain that you will want to go, you should make your reservations as early as possible. In addition, our conferences take place over/around the July 4th holiday weekend, so please plan accordingly!

When should I plan to get to the conference?

Arrive at the hotel and check in no later than Wednesday afternoon. Workshops will begin at mid-day on Wednesday, and you won’t want to miss any of the opportunities to connect with others and participate in workshops. There will also be special events, such as tours, that begin on Wednesday. The last official conference event is the Charity Live Auction & Dinner Dance on Saturday night, and most attendees choose to leave on Sunday.

If I have any problems or questions who should I contact and how?

There are many ways to reach us at the National Stuttering Association:

  • Phone: 1-800-937-8888
  • Contact Us Form
  • E-mail: info@westutter.org
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
I’m a parent, loved one, or sibling of someone who stutters. Can I attend?

Yes! We are happy to offer workshops specifically designed for parents and siblings of people who stutter. These workshops give parents and siblings an opportunity to hear from experts, people who stutter, and fellow parents and siblings. If you have a spouse or loved one who stutters, you are also welcome to attend. The conference is full of opportunities to learn more about stuttering, whether you stutter or you care about someone who stutters.

I’m a speech-language pathologist. Is there something planned for us?

Yes! Attending an NSA conference is a great way to learn about stuttering, meet other clinicians interested in stuttering, and gain first-hand information from people who have experienced a wide variety of treatment approaches. You will find that many of your professional colleagues will be in attendance, and some also find it beneficial to invite their clients who stutter to come with them. Not only will their clients benefit from meeting other people who stutter, but it will help the SLP gain new ideas for use in therapy with that client once the conference is over.

How much does the conference cost, all total?

The cost of the conference greatly depends on each individual’s expenses. The most basic expenses are travel fare, registration, and hotel. Additional expenses include food, activities, and shopping (NSA apparel, souvenirs, auction items, etc.). Only a 1-night deposit is required at time of hotel booking. Other items vary widely between individuals, and you can budget to spend as little or as much as you see fit.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes. Thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors and many of our members, we are pleased to announce that scholarships will once again be available for our upcoming Annual Conference. Please review the scholarship requirements and complete our scholarship application on our Scholarship Information page.

Can I register for the conference online?

Yes! Conference attendees can register online through our online registration link. Be sure to complete your registration by Friday, June 15, 2018; after June 15th, you may only register on-site at the hotel.

How do I get to Chicago, Illinois?

The majority of attendees will fly, and since Chicago is a central metropolitan city, this location is prime for getting into and out of with ease. However, attendees living in surrounding states may choose to drive or find another form of transportation. It is up to each person to choose which mode of travel is best for them. Visit the Travel & Hotel page for more information.

Are there ways to save on travel and lodging costs?

Given the premier downtown location, we are fortunate to have once again secured an amazing group rate of just $169 (+taxes/fees)/night, but we do have some great options to help reduce the overall costs of travel and lodging. First, if you are traveling alone, consider staying with a roommate. Right away, you will cut your lodging cost in half, and you will be able to make a new friend! If you choose to fly, book early to save costs. Consider keeping snacks in your hotel room or choosing less-expensive dining options.

Which airport do I fly into?

The nearest airports are Midway Airport (MDW) which is 25 minutes from hotel or O’Hare Int’l (ORD) which is 35 minutes from the hotel. Websites such as Expedia and Orbitz are also helpful in securing the least expensive flights available.

Do I need to stay at the conference hotel?

It is strongly recommended you stay at the conference hotel for a number of reasons: Our hotel will be the central location for all things conference-related, and you will never have to worry about missing any type of workshop or get-together. The NSA has secured the best rate available for your hotel room by agreeing to purchase a block of rooms from the hotel that need to be occupied.

Where is the hotel and how can I make reservations?

This year’s conference hotel is the spectacular Sheraton Grand Chicago, located right in the heart of downtown. Given the premier downtown location, we are fortunate to have once again secured an amazing group rate of just $169 (+taxes/fees)/night, especially considering that this property boasts all of the amenities that you have come to expect from an NSA conference. To make reservations, please visit our group reservation site. A 1-night deposit is required at time of booking.

How do I get a roommate?

Check out our Annual NSA Conference event on Facebook and get the word out that you’re looking. Those seeking roommates will be able to connect, get to know one another and make plans ahead of time rather than being assigned a roommate. This forum is meant to facilitate initial connections with other conference attendees seeking roommates; please remember never to share personal information in a public forum. Not on Facebook? Not a problem! Contact us if you are unable to secure a roommate for yourself and one will be assigned to you.

Is there parking at the hotel and conference site?

Onsite parking (Valet $67 & Self Parking $55) is available at a the hotel and we are able to offer 20% off the current rates.

In addition, self-service covered and open parking lots and garages are available in the surrounding area for quite a bit less than hotel parking.

Is there Wi-Fi?

Yes, stay connected at Sheraton Grand Chicago Wi-Fi access in guest rooms and common areas.

Who schedules the workshops and how are they chosen?

Our Executive Director, Tammy Flores, along with a committee, will be scheduling all of the adult workshops. The Family Programs Committee schedules all Family Programs workshops, for parents, kids, ‘tweens, and teens. Workshop committees review all workshops for content, applicability, and presenter(s).

Can I lead a workshop myself? If so, how?

Information on workshop submissions can be found on the Workshop Information section of our website. Those who submitted a proposal will be notified by April 1, 2018, if their workshop has been accepted.

When is the Chapter Leader workshop this year?

There will be an Adult/Family Chapter Leader workshop on Thursday AM. This is an excellent opportunity to brainstorm with your NSA counterparts and make your voices heard!

What is the basic structure of the conference?

Check out our What to Expect at the Annual Conference page for an excellent explanation of what goes on and when at our Annual Conference.

Are SLP students welcome to attend the conference?

You’re more than just welcome; we’d love to have you! You will have the opportunity to learn more about people who stutter in an immersive environment.

Are there going to be CEU workshops?

We offer ASHA (American Speech/Language and Hearing Association) CEU (Continuing Education Unit) workshops throughout each day. The conference program will list all the different sessions that will be offering CEUs. In addition, there will also be a variety of non-CEU workshop opportunities for speech pathologists to attend. Many workshops led by leading SLPs in the country will be offered throughout the conference. In addition, you can earn additional CEUs by also attending our Masterclass Series, preceding the conference.

What types of other workshops are available for SLPs?

There are many other non-CE workshops that SLPs and SLP students will also be interested in. As the workshops are approved we will be posting them online, so be sure to watch the conference workshops section of our website. There will be a variety of opportunities for speech pathologists to attend workshops designed with the needs of SLPs in mind. Many workshops led by leading SLPs in the country will be offered throughout the conference. There will be a number of not to be missed adult workshops offered including ‘Covert Stuttering’ and other informative, educational, and enlightening workshops. These will give you an opportunity to hear the personal stories of people who stutter.

What will be available for children and teens who stutter and their families?

We have workshops specifically planned for kids, ‘tweens, and teens who stutter, as well as their parents and siblings. In addition, there are regular adult workshops that everyone is welcome to attend. Please check out the Family Information section for detailed information.

How can I get involved?
  • Present a workshop: Have an idea for a workshop? We are always looking for new, appropriate and original workshops. You might just be chosen as a workshop leader at this year’s conference!
  • Donate an auction item: Have something in mind to donate to either our Live or Silent Auction? Fill out an Auction Item Request Form to let us know the details! Want to ask a business to donate their items/services? We have an Auction Letter Template to help you.
  • Make a conference donation: Make a special donation to the NSA and earmark it to go toward something that is near and dear to your heart. Perhaps you want to put money toward a scholarship that will help someone afford to attend the conference, or provide funding that will go toward supplies for a specific workshop? Either way, your contribution is always tax-deductible. Also consider soliciting family, friends, or a favorite or local business, inviting them to forge a partnership with the NSA by making a donation.
  • Become a corporate sponsor: You can show your support by becoming a corporate sponsor and buying an ad in our conference program (remember, your donation is tax-deductible!). Check out our Corporate Sponsorships for specifics and prices.