Jenny was recent Guest on SSL! where she was joined by two of her colleagues from the Stuttering Scholarship Alliance, now renamed My Speech, to discus the great work that this amazing organization is doing. My Speech is a non profit organization dedicated to providing a bridge to access for people who stutter—otherwise facing barriers of access—to achieve their fullest potential and receive effective speech therapy. During this conversation, Greg managed to get a glimpse of Jenny’s lived experience as a PWS. So, to find out more about Jenny’s story Greg thought a SSL! Guest revisit was in order. Greg was touched by the commitment and work that Jenny has placed on her self care journey to accept and embrace her stutter
Jenny McGuire is a person who stutters and a vociferous advocate for the stuttering community. Jenny’s journey as a stutterer has been marked by many different speech therapy experiences. Most of these therapies taught her behaviors intended to mask her stutter–spoiler, these tricks never worked when she needed them most–but did little to address the spate of adverse cognitive and affective effects of stuttering. ARTs (avoidance reduction therapy for stuttering) with Vivian Sisskin changed the trajectory of Jenny’s life. Through ARTs group therapy Jenny learned that a distinction can be drawn between the problem of stuttering and the act of stuttering. Having some dysfluencies when she spoke was not ruining her life, but her avoidance of stuttering along with constant negative thoughts and feelings about stuttering sure were. Through hard work, doing the things she didn’t want to do, and leveraging the loving support of a wonderful group therapy community, Jenny climbed out of the darkness that is the problem of stuttering.
As Executive Director My Speech, Jenny can’t think of anything she feels more passionately about than removing barriers so that others–particularly individuals from underserved communities– may find a way out of the darkness and live full, joyful lives, stuttering and all. My Speech touches the part of her that knows that everything is more tolerable and manageable within the context of a supportive community, and she looks forward to connecting stutterers with “their people” so that they may continue to thrive in the long term.
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