2014 National AGM/Conference

On May 23 and 24 The NZ SpeakEasy AGM/Conference was held at the Alhambra Oaks Motor Lodge, Great King Street Dunedin. Six people from the Otago/Southland branch attended and three more travelled down from Christchurch.

On Friday night a “table topic” competition was held where a random topic card was selected and then spoken about for two minutes. This gave everyone not only a chance to speak but also to rate each other’s speech and speaking abilities. The competition was won by Monica Bennett (Christchurch), Margaret Deuchrass (Otago/Southland) was second and James Fox (also Otago/Southland) came third. Supper and catching up followed.

Saturday morning started with the National AGM hosted by the president, Marty van der Key (Christchurch) and secretary James Fox (Otago/Southland) and followed the usual agenda. The National Executive remained the same, including Ngaire Renton (Otago/Southland) as treasurer and Monica Bennett (Christchurch) as vice-president. The Best New Member was awarded to Ben McLean who recently joined the Canterbury branch, Best Group to Christchurch and President’s Cup to James Fox for his 21+ years as Secretary. The next AGM/Conference is to be held in Christchurch, probably late May.

After lunch James Fox gave a very informative presentation on searching the internet for stuttering/stammering using the Google search box and then clicking on one of the options above it on the black bar eg books, maps, images. Also by using sub-categories in the search box eg “stuttering a” brings up the top ten list for the letter a – stuttering activities, stuttering assessment etc.  There is a lot of information out there and it is hard to know what is actually useful to you or your community. There are also apps that you can download to your smart phones.  On YouTube there are inspirational stories such as Emily Blunt speaking at the 2009 Benefit Gala for the American Institute for Stuttering. It concluded with a YouTube clip of William Parry speaking about ‘The Valsalva Method” as a new way to beat stuttering blocks. It concentrates not on fluency but on urge to exert/display effort for speaking.

The weekend concluded with a meal at Brew, Musselburgh.

Thanks to Otago/Southland for organizing this year’s National SpeakEasy AGM/Conference and looking to the 2015 AGM/Conference in Christchurch.

Useful websites

The Stuttering Homepage www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/stutter.html

Stuttering Association for the Young www.say.org

Kids health NZ   www.kidshealth.org.nz/stuttering-dysfluency

Written by Ngaire Renton and Marty van der Kley.