National Stuttering Association

Samuel DunsigerAccessibility Advisor

    Samuel Dunsiger

    Toronto, CAN
    Accessibility Advisor
    Left Turn Right Turn

    Briefly describe your daily job duties.
    Overall, my job involves working with the team at Left Turn Right Turn and our clients (public and private sector organizations) to make our clients’ practices more accessible for people with various disabilities. I do this by:

    – Conducting research on the organization to identify existing barriers for people with disabilities
    – Interviewing the organization’s employees and stakeholders who have disabilities
    – Writing accessibility assessment reports
    – Developing solutions to mitigate accessibility barriers
    – Writing accessibility plans

    Also, on a part-time basis, I teach writing and communications to students at a career college.

    As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
    Before I get into the most challenging part, I first want to emphasize that I feel like my job and workplace as it relates to my stuttering is somewhat unique. Because I work in the accessibility space, I work in a space where my stuttering is not just tolerated but it’s also valued. I actually use my lived experience with disability in my work as an accessibility consultant.

    But there are still and challenges and barriers that I face as a result of my stuttering. But I feel like the challenges I currently face are self-imposed. Allow me to explain. As we know, people who stutter are constantly interrupted by other people. But as NSA member and the famous comedian who stutters Nina G., has said before, we often have a tendency to interrupt ourselves. We interrupt our dreams, our ambitions and our lives by avoidance. In my case, I have a tendency to limit my own voice at work due to my stuttering. That is something I’m trying to actively work on, since we all have value to bring to the workplace.

    What are your long-term career aspirations?
    My long-term career aspirations are to continue working in the fields of accessibility, education and social justice, where I’m collaborating with passionate individuals to help make the world more inclusive for people with various disabilities.

    Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
    Because my current workplace, Left Turn Right Turn, is an accessibility consulting firm, not only did I disclose my stuttering in the job hiring process, but I used it to my advantage to leverage on my lived experience as someone with a disability. I emphasized early on in the interview my experience as someone who stutters, both personally and professionally, and the insight it brings me into working in the field of accessibility.

    What is your proudest moment at your current company?
    I’ve been in my current role at Left Turn Right Turn for just over four months, so I still consider myself somewhat new. I wouldn’t say that I have one single proudest moment, but what I’m most proud of so far is whenever I’m open with my teammates about how I’m feeling, not just about my stuttering but about my other struggles as well. I feel like my colleagues are extremely supportive and are open with each other, often to the point where we share our vulnerabilities and I’m proud to be part of that.

    Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
    Again, given my current role in the accessibility space, my experiences being someone who stutters (and being neurodivergent) gives me direct insight that allows me to better consult with organizations on accessibility. But in general, I feel like stuttering can be an advantage for anyone in the workplace. Yes, stuttering is a recognized disability, but that does not mean that it’s a weakness (disability is not a weakness!). I perceive disability to be a different way in which we experience the world. It gives us a fresh perspective which we would valuable for any employer.

    What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
    My best advice is to try to position your stuttering to your advantage during the job hiring and the recruitment process. Too often we perceive stuttering as something that holds us back from being successful, but it does not have to be. Stuttering gives us greater empathy, resilience and a uniqueness which would be valuable for any employer.