The NSA® Annual Conference is a truly special experience for PWS (people who stutter) and their families. The Conference offers tailored workshops for school-age kids, tweens, teens, adults, siblings, and parents of people who stutter, career professionals, and speech professionals. In addition to workshops, we also provide attendees with the opportunity to ‘kick up their heels’, make new friends and reconnect with old friends by offering fun events, activities and outings!
Why Should My Family Attend the NSA Annual Conference?
The NSA strives to provide all attendees with a sense of camaraderie, acceptance, and empowerment at our conferences as well as to educate attendees about stuttering, regardless of whether they are a PWS or a family member of a PWS. One thing is certain, first-time attendees find the conference to be a life-changing experience, and often, this is the first time in their lives they are with other PWS; imagine how amazing that must feel! Veteran attendees, whether adults, parents, teens, or kids, will tell you that they look forward to the next conference from the moment the current one ends and that by attending the conference each year they have formed life-long friendships.
What does the NSA Annual Conference offer for each family member?
Our NSA Annual Conference offers specialized and tailored workshops for school-age kids, tweens, teens, adults, siblings, and parents of people who stutter, career professionals, speech professionals, and much more.
Kids, Tweens, Teens & Family Programs
At our conferences, kids, tweens, and teens who stutter will explore their thoughts and feelings about stuttering in a safe, fun, and encouraging environment while having the opportunity to learn from others and foster lasting friendships. Parents, siblings, and family members will have these same opportunities, forming support networks that develop and deepen through ongoing contact and become stronger year after year at each conference.
How Old Must My Child Be To Attend And Participate In Workshops?
Children must be 6 years old at the time of the conference and registered for kindergarten for the upcoming school year. We encourage entire families to attend the conference, but we do not offer individual babysitting services, nor do we accept children being dropped off in workshops strictly as a means of childcare. Children attending workshops must be able to follow simple directions, be respectful of their peers, and workshop presenters. Please keep in mind the minimum age of 6 is a guideline and if you are unsure that your 6-year-old child will be able to participate in a meaningful way in workshops, we encourage you to make other arrangements for them.
When Should Our Family Arrive?
The Conference kicks off Wednesday at noon with registration followed by an afternoon of workshops and activities, so we encourage attendees to arrive Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning to avoid feeling rushed and/or to allow for any unforeseen travel challenges.
As First Timers, Do We Really Need To Attend The First Timers Orientation?
Yes! As mentioned above, our programs kick off at Wednesday afternoon. At orientation, we will talk about the conference, workshops & schedules, guidelines, and introductions to other families and workshop presenters. This also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions or express any concerns that you may have before the workshops get underway.
What Can We Expect From The Workshops?
We strive to offer new workshops each year; however, the kids can still look forward to the popular scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, and other fun workshops with past presenters and the Teen Advisory Council. Tweens (10-12 years old) can once again look forward to stuttering jeopardy and other workshops designed specifically for them. Teens always enjoy our open microphone and icebreaker sessions in addition to workshops and mentoring opportunities between them and the younger attendees. The kids, tweens, and teens will also gain insight and learn from adults attending the conference. Parents can look forward to parent roundtables, discussions, and interactive workshops. As we get closer to the conference, please visit our website regularly to stay up to date on workshops, activities, and outings.
Are There Any Specials Events That My Family May Be Interested In?
Absolutely! We are excited to offer numerous events for families – various tours, bingo, and of course the celebration banquet which includes a DJ and dancing Saturday evening. We hope you enjoy the variety of options we provide. Be sure to check the website regularly for event and activity updates as the conference date approaches.
While At The Conference Who Should I Contact If I Have Questions Or Need Assistance?
Check-in with anyone at the NSA Registration desk or NSA Staff and Volunteers wearing matching ‘Ask Me!’ t-shirts. We want to ensure you have an amazing conference experience and are always happy to help!
What Are The Ages Of Attendees? Will My Child Have The Opportunity To Meet Others Their Age?
The Family Program of the conference is open to kids & teens ages 6-19. The kids, tweens, and teens are separated into smaller, more age-appropriate groups. There is always an assortment of ages represented at the conference and your child will most certainly be able to meet forge friendships with other kids their age.
Are Siblings Welcome?
Siblings are welcome at the conference if they are 6 years old and registered for kindergarten for the upcoming school year. The NSA Family Program offers workshops specifically for siblings, though they are also welcome to attend workshops along with their brother/sister. However, workshops should not be a substitute for childcare. If a sibling is not able to participate in a meaningful and respectful manner in workshops, we respectfully request that you make other arrangements for them so that all our attendees are able to get the most out of each workshop and their overall conference experience.
Is Childcare Available?
The NSA does not provide childcare. Please contact the hotel concierge for details on any childcare service they may provide.
What Safeguards Are In Place To Ensure The Safety Of My Child While At Workshops?
All NSA staff and volunteers have been thoroughly vetted and background screened. We also uphold a strict practice of ‘two or more’, which means that no one child is ever alone with any one adult. Additionally, parents are required to sign their children ages 6-10 in and out of workshops. No child under 10 years old will be released from a workshop without a parent or guardian signing them out. For children 11 and older, it is the responsibility of the parent(s) and their child to decide upon an arrangement that works for them at the conclusion of each workshop.
My Child/Teen Is Apprehensive About Attending. What Can I Tell Them That May Put Them At Ease?
This is a normal response, especially for first timers! We often hear from parents and kids/tweens/teens that once they get past the initial nervous moments, they feel like they’ve known the other attendees forever. Many parents report that once their child attended their first workshop, begrudgingly, and made new friends, they don’t see much of them again until it’s time to leave on Sunday! If you or your child is still apprehensive, members of our Family Programs Committee and Teen Advisory Council would be happy to reach out to you or your teen prior to the conference to go over what to expect and ease both you and your child’s mind.