The National Stuttering Association® (NSA) believes that instilling a sense of self-worth can transform the lives of people who stutter as well as the communities that support them.
Since 1977, the NSA® has been enhancing the lives of people who stutter, educating the public, assisting speech professionals, championing research, and advocating for a reduction in the stigma of stuttering.
The NSA supports research into the causes and treatments of stuttering by providing funding, assisting in the recruitment of study participants, and sharing research findings with the stuttering community.
“If you stutter, you are not alone®” is the NSA’s promise to the over three million Americans who stutter. In addition to the programs listed above, here are just a few more ways that the NSA follows through on that promise:
- Hosting local, regional, and virtual events
- Fostering mentorships within our Generations Mentoring Program for young people who stutter
- Providing free career advice for people who stutter through WeStutter@Work
- Connecting people who stutter via social media.
The National Stuttering Association is an accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID 94-2420533) and we are deeply committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices.
The National Stuttering Association (originally the National Stuttering Project, or NSP) was founded in California in January 1977 by Bob Goldman & Michael Sugarman, with early efforts focusing on community outreach, education, and advocacy programs.
One of the group’s most important early projects was to establish local self-help groups across California. Today, the NSA maintains more than 200 local support group chapters nationwide.
The NSA hosted its first Annual Conference in 1984 bringing together people who stutter for friendship, support, information, excitement, encouragement, motivation, new ideas, and new perspectives. Nearly 40 years later, our Annual Conference is viewed as the world’s largest gathering of people who stutter. See where we’ve been over the years, and our Conference Awards and Hall of Fame inductions for those who have made an impact on our Past Conference Information page.
In 1988, thanks to the advocacy of a group of members and their local representatives, the President of the United States signed a proclamation establishing the second week of May as National Stuttering Awareness Week (NSAW).
The NSA declared 1996 the Year of the Child Who Stutters and hosted symposia around the country focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of young people who stutter.
In 2001, the NSA hosted the first joint symposium for scientists and consumers: Pioneering Stuttering Research in the 21st Century. This event focused on building partnerships and fostering collaboration between researchers and clinicians.
2011 saw the debut of The King’s Speech, the award-winning film depicting King George VI and his trials with being thrust onto the throne as a person who stutters. The much-anticipated Keynote Speaker for our 2011 Annual Conference in Fort Worth, TX was David Seidler, Academy Award winner for Best Original Screenplay for The King’s Speech. The wildly successful film, and surrounding press, shone a spotlight on stuttering.
In 2014 we were honored to reach even more PWS with our first Fall Regional Conference. Held in sunny Anaheim, CA in early October, this smaller, regional event was more accessible than our larger Annual Conference, and gave participants another way to connect in between conferences.
On a chilly morning in January 2016, staff, leaders, supporters, and friends from five top stuttering organizations came together to participate in the Austin Star 5K Stuttering Awareness Run to raise stuttering awareness. Representatives from the National Stuttering Association, Stuttering Association for the Young, FRIENDS, Stuttering Foundation of America, and the Lang Stuttering Institute joined forces in this common goal.
Also in 2016, our Annual Conference joined up with the International Stuttering Association World Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. Attendees hailed from all over the globe, representing the wonderful diversity that makes up the stuttering community.
2017 marked 40 years of bringing hope, support, and empowerment to people who stutter.
The NSA’s rich history reflects an unwavering commitment to helping people who stutter, their families, and the clinicians who serve them. The organization’s history of growth shows the success of our mission and outreach programs as we work to spread our message of hope, dignity, support, education, and empowerment.
Our Stuttering: Perspectives On Disability, Diversity, & Culture Symposium, held in Fort Lauderdale, FL, explored a theme relevant to researchers and practitioners in the area of stuttering, and included keynote speeches and group discussions to promote the exploration of stuttering inspired by work in the fields of disability studies and neurodiversity.
The National Stuttering Association (NSA) has always been driven to improve the employment opportunities of people who stutter, and in 2019 we created the WeStutter@Work initiative, which seeks to eliminate workplace stigmas to improve employment outcomes for people who stutter. Through a series of programs, the NSA continues to inform, inspire, and equip people who stutter to improve their workplace opportunities.
2020 was a year of change for everyone around the globe, including the NSA. It was also a time of growth.
Early in 2020, before we understood just how important online connections would become, the GENERATIONS Mentoring Program was founded. This program partners a young person who stutters with a screened and vetted older person who stutters. Together, they can form a friendship where each other can talk about stuttering, but also life, hobbies, sports, movies, video games and more during regular video chats, text, and email.
2020 also brought about our first NSA Connects sessions, connecting participants from across the nation and around the globe on a variety of stuttering-related topics in a safe, virtual setting.
In the summer of 2020, the NSA hosted our first-ever virtual annual conference, NSA@Home, and welcomed more than 1,600 attendees from 20+ countries to take part in online workshops, panels, social events, continuing education workshops, and more.
Rounding out 2020, the National Stuttering Association hosted a 3-day, online Global Research Conference in late November, designed to bring together speech-language pathologists, speech-language scientists, people who stutter, and others interested in diving deeper into their knowledge base about stuttering. The event offered a full lineup of world-class presenters, with session topics including cutting-edge research, recent medical findings, and the latest in evidence-based therapy techniques, each designed to greatly deepen one’s understanding of stuttering as a full life experience.