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.
We have found that speaking to her students benefits everyone. We benefit by having the opportunity to speak off-the-cuff to a group of strangers, and about a topic we care deeply about; namely stuttering.
The students benefit because although stuttering is one small facet or direction a speech path can take, it does give them the opportunity to see and hear a person who stutters, rather than just reading about it in a book. It also gives them the idea of what they will have to face in real life after they graduate, and perhaps a clue if they really want to take this path in their pursuit of a career.
We each spoke for about 15 minutes on a subject we all know too well – ourselves, our stutter, and how it, and therapy, has affected our lives. We tried to keep the tone humourous, with a few serious segments thrown in. The one-liners thrown out by the other two participants when one of us were talking also helped. It showed the students that we are serious about the topic, but don’t take ourselves too seriously.
We found this year’s class to be very inquisitive, and asked several questions on the personal side, which is good because it gives them an idea of how we think and why we think that way. The question period went for as long as our three talks, which was wonderful to see; it brought out their inquisitiveness and interest.
It was a pleasure to be a part of this effort and I hope it continues.
From speaking to both Janne and Wayne, we all had a blast; and from the interest from the group, we had better do a draw in the future as we had 5 or 6 people interested in participating.
Finally, my thanks to Lynn Metthe for giving us, and her students, this opportunity to be a part of this exercise.