We know that attending our conference for the first time can be both overwhelming and exciting. We know what you might be thinking:
I won’t know anyone!
Can I afford it?
What goes on during the conference (will it just be boring lectures the whole time?)?
I’m just plain scared!
We’ve heard it all, and have the answers to put your mind at ease.
What’s truly amazing about our Annual Conferences is that you are in one place with hundreds of people who share the common bond of stuttering; everyone at the conference is there either because they stutter, they love someone who stutters, or they are interested in learning more about stuttering. When you’re at the NSA conference, people who stutter are in the majority! Our conferences are a safe and supportive place where you can be completely open about your stuttering. We welcome not only people who stutter of all ages, but speech-language pathologists, research specialists and other leading experts in the field, and the loved ones of people who stutter. Stuttering brings us together, and the NSA keeps us together.
Recommendations for First-Timers
Pack appropriate clothing so that you will be comfortable throughout your entire conference experience. During the day, casual attire is acceptable (jeans, slacks, shorts). Evening attire is casual as well, however, our Saturday Night Banquet is your chance to dress up! If you have signed up for any of our tours or excursions, be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and appropriate attire.
Keep your nametag on! Wearing a nametag with a ‘First Timer’ badge ensures that everyone will stop to say hi and ask about your story.
Workshops begin on Wednesday and end Saturday afternoon, running throughout the day, with a lunch break scheduled midday. Workshops are typically 1 hour and 15 minutes with a 15 minute break between them. There is no need to sign up in advance to attend workshops; simply arrive and enjoy the workshop! Take a look at our Past Conference Information to get a taste of what’s in store.
Talk as much as you can! If you can do it here you can do it anywhere. While you’re here, challenge yourself, empower yourself, and push yourself out of your comfort zone by speaking more than usual and introducing yourself to as many people as you can.
Make sure to participate in workshops, open microphone sessions, meals, and outings with other people.
We work hard to ensure that First-Timers feel right at home from day one. Many of our workshops/events are geared towards First-Timers, and we recommend that you attend as many as possible to make the best out of your conference experience, particularly:
First Timers Workshop: Meet other First Timers and become acquainted with the busy conference schedule at this fun, informative gathering. There will be a small presentation on the history of the NSA, a recap of some of the great things that we have to offer, and what stuttering is in a “nutshell,” as well as tips on how to ensure that your experience at the conference is the best it can be.
First Timers Lunch*: This lunch is held onsite and gives First Timers an opportunity to continue socializing with other First Timers as well as conference regulars. *All expenses paid for by each attendee – $10.00 for a sandwich, chips, and a beverage
Opening & Closing Ceremonies: The only times that we ALL come together for awards, speeches, and special guests.
Live Auction and Banquet: Our Saturday Night Black, White & Red Ball is your opportunity to bid on luxury vacations and other one-of-a-kind pieces. *This is a pre-paid event – you must have a ticket for dinner.
For the time you are here, you are in the majority. This is a safe place to stutter, push out of your comfort zone, speak more, and introduce yourself to others. Everyone with a conference nametag is here for the same reason – because they stutter, their child stutters, their spouse or significant other stutters, or they are professionals who help people who stutter. No one will laugh when you stutter or wonder what is going on, because they understand, they get it, and they accept you! Take the time that you are here to speak freely and be yourself, and most importantly, have fun!