A local NSA support group chapter meeting is unlike any other meeting you’ve ever attended. For many of us, the NSA chapter meeting was the first time we had ever talked about stuttering with other people who stutter. Local support groups are a proven way to build self-confidence, practice speaking in a safe environment, and explore new ways to cope with stuttering. This section provides an example of how a typical meeting might go, but we invite you to improvise as necessary!

Chapter meetings can be large or small, and the number of attendees can vary from meeting to meeting. Typically large groups require more structure, leadership, and formality, where as smaller meetings can be more informal.

  1. Regardless of the size of the group, a facilitator (either the Chapter Leader, a volunteer from the group, or an outside guest speaker) should be chosen ahead of time. This person should prepare a brief discussion topic relating to stuttering.
  2. The first part of the meeting should be a reading of the Welcoming Words.
  3. Next, many groups go through introductions. Remember, no one is REQUIRED to speak if they don’t want to! It’s nice to add some short additional information here such as how your last month went or something very positive like “what is an exciting thing that happened to you last month?” You can really go around the room in sequence or do “popcorn” introductions where each person who speaks gets to call on the next person totally randomly. Keep this activity FUN! Also be sure to watch your time here. A very large meeting will require very short introductions to keep this part of the meeting on schedule.
  4. During introduction, pass around the Sign-In Sheet, which will be returned to the National Office after the meeting.
  5. After introduction the facilitator is introduced and gives a short presentation on the topic of their choice.
  6. Depending on time/agenda of the meeting, some larger groups may wish to split up into breakout groups for further discussions on the topic. These groups give people more chances to talk, which is the primary goal of the entire meeting. Remember that if a person leaves a meeting without speaking, there is a good chance that s/he will consider the meeting a failure and you’ll never see them again.
  7. If you have chosen to break off into groups, be sure to reconvene and ask each group for significant ideas and discussions for his or her group.
  8. Lastly, the Chapter Leader should make/take closing comments from the group, discuss the details for the next meeting, and read our Closing Words.

Points to Remember:

  • Flexibility is the key to running these meetings!
  • The NSA does not favor one type of stuttering therapy over another. One type of meeting that should be avoided is a “group therapy” meeting where an SLP (or anyone) attempts to give stuttering therapy to the entire group. Therapy belongs in a therapy environment, not in an NSA chapter meeting.
  • NSA chapter meetings are open to anyone who stutters, their family members or friends, SLPs, or anyone who has a special interest in stuttering. While some chapters may want to exclude anyone but people who stutter from the meetings, we advise against this practice. We need everyone pulling on the same rope in the same direction.