National Stuttering Association

First Time Participants

We know that attending your Conference for the first time can be both exciting and overwhelming. We know you might be thinking… Can I afford it? I won’t know anyone! I’m scared. Will it just be boring lectures the whole time? (Absolutely not!) We’ve heard it all, and have the answers to put your mind at ease.

The Annual Conference is a safe and supportive place where you can be completely open about your stuttering. No one will laugh or judge your speech. It’s a patient and supportive environment. That’s because we all get it and have been there ourselves. We welcome people who stutter of all ages, and speech-language pathologists, research specialists and the loved ones of people who stutter. Stuttering brings us together, and the NSA® keeps us together.

Pre-Conference Communication

Before you come to the Conference as a First Timer, you’ll be contacted by a past Conference attendee who will introduce themselves to you, tell you a little of what to expect and answer any of those worrisome questions you might have. (It’s always fun when you meet the person who called you face-to-face at the Conference!)

We hope this information helps you to prepare well for your first Conference. It’s going to be an exciting time that you’ll always remember, and the experience will leave a lasting impression. If you have any questions that we didn’t answer here, be sure to contact us, or ask the person who calls you to welcome you to the NSA Annual Conference.

Tips for First-Timers

Pack Appropriate Clothing

Daytime attire is casual – jeans, slacks, or shorts. You might want to pack a sweater or 2 as well because the hotel meeting space tends to run cool. Evening attire is casual as well; however, our Closing Celebration Banquet is your chance to dress to impress! If you have signed up for any of our Activities & Events, be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and appropriate attire and be sure to have your prepaid ticket for the activity.

Attend Workshops

We’ve got workshops and activities for all ages, whether you’re 7 or 97 – fluent or a person who stutters! Check out the Day at A Glance or Conference Program at your convenience and attend the workshop that interests you! There is no need to sign up in advance. Workshops are typically one hour with a 15-minute break between them. Many of our workshops/events are geared towards First Timers, and we recommend that you attend as many as possible to make the most of your Conference experience.

Keep Your Nametag On!

We encourage all attendees to wear their name tags with the First Timer badge while participating in conference activities. It’s always nice to put a name with a face, and it encourages conference attendees to approach one another, mingle and forge friendships!

Attend the Opening & Closing Ceremonies

As these events are the only time ALL conference attendees will come together for awards, speeches, and special guests, we urge you to attend these moving, and often inspirational events. The Closing Ceremony can get very emotional, so remember to bring your tissues!

Talk As Much As You Can

You’ve never been in a more safe or supportive environment, so why not take this opportunity to challenge and empower yourself by talking to as many people as you can! Make sure to participate in workshops, open microphone sessions, meals, and outings with other people. Active listening is encouraged as well; there is no pressure to have to talk, but even if you feel a bit overwhelmed, we encourage you not to stay in your room.

Celebrate at the Charity Banquet

There is no better way to celebrate the magic of the last 4 days than sharing a meal, reminiscing, making future plans, and, let’s not forget, dancing the night away with your new friends!

“If you’ve never encountered anyone else who stutters. If you’ve never spoken about it. If you truly think you are the only one in the world who stutters that perception will change the moment you arrive at the Conference.” 

– Vikesh A.