In its recent round of funding cuts Dr. Jack Kitts CEO of the Ottawa Hospital announced that the Stuttering Treatment Clinic will close at the end of October 2015.
Reasons given by the Hospital for closing the clinic are that stuttering is not an illness requiring medical expertise and that the Hospital’s mandate is to care for Eastern Ontario’s “sickest” individuals and to not fund services that can be provided in the community.
Members of the Ottawa Association of People Who Stutter (OAPWS) have written to Dr. Kitts requesting a meeting with either him or one of his senior staff to discuss the reasons behind the closure and to suggest a delay in the closing date.
I have been a person who stutters my whole life. Many people who know me will probably be surprised to learn about this. It is because I use my speech targets – also known as skills – while I speak and thus will come across as speaking fluently. I went through a few stages in my life. A stage when I was covert about my stuttering I would change words, change topics, and avoid people. In the next stage I received therapy, joined a speech group and focused on applying my targets and learned to deal with my speech in all situations. At the current stage, I have accepted myself and wish to help those who are in need of support.
It was very difficult dealing with my speech through elementary school. I would change words, change topics and be reluctant to go to school on days when we had oral reading. Those days terrified me. I was so concerned about how everyone perceived me when I read aloud. I was so self-conscious. Continue reading “The Journey Continues”
The Ottawa Race Weekend is one of Canada’s premier race events and takes place every year near the end of May. The above photo shows Norm McEwen with some of the 2012 team members from the Stuttering Treatment Clinic.
Standing tall as always among others, Norm was a long time advocate for people who stutter in Ottawa and across Canada. For years he was a Board member of the Canadian Association of People Who Stutter (now known as the Canadian Stuttering Association CSA). He was also a founding member of the Ottawa Association of People Who Stutter (OAPWS).In addition, as the photo reflects, for many years Norm and other OAPWS members along with the team at the Clinic in Ottawa took part in the Ottawa Race Weekend under the banner of the Ottawa Hospital’s Run For A Reason campaign.
Team members raised money for the Marie Poulos Bursary Fund. This fund provides Ontario residents with financial assistance to take intensive and semi-intensive therapy programs at the Clinic. This Clinic is located at the Ottawa Hospital’s Rehab Centre.
This Year’s Ottawa Race Weekend
Once again members of our team will be running and walking in various events. But this year without Norm. Norm died unexpectedly last fall. To say that he was loved by many and that he is greatly missed is an understatement.
As many of you know, Norm McEwen died unexpectedly last fall. This year the “Talking About Stuttering” team at the Stuttering Treatment Clinic in Ottawa is fundraising in the 2015 Ottawa Race Weekend in memory of Norm.
I will always remember the first time I met Norm. Not an auspicious encounter for what later became a very close friendship. In 1997 Norm was attending a Canadian Association of People Who Stutter conference in Vancouver along with several other individuals from Ottawa including my future wife, Tania Kamienski.
I was living in West Vancouver at the time, in fact, two blocks from the hotel where the conference was taking place. Tania and I had gotten together the fall before in Ottawa and this was the first time she was visiting me in Vancouver.
Being a romantic, I wanted to impress Tania by greeting her at the hotel with a huge bouquet of flowers. I went to the reception desk. There was no Tania Kamienski registered. Tania had assured me she was attending the conference. Had she lied? Was she laying me astray?
Fretting around the lobby, I heard a familiar sound. The sound of someone stuttering. I must be in the right place. The person speaking was, as I later learned, Norm McEwen. Being a very perceptive individual, I concluded he must be attending the conference and perhaps knew Tania.
I had the pleasure (and public speaking now is a pleasure, believe it or not) to be a part of the threesome from the OAPWS that spoke to the first-year speech-language pathology students at the University of Ottawa.
For the third year, Mrs. Lynn Metthe, who not only instructs and advises the first-year speech-language students, but also is an accomplished speech path that has put into practice what she teaches, had asked the OAPWS for some of our members to speak to her class.