This summer our son, Patrick, attended the nations best (in my opinion) Speech Camp called UI SPEAKS at the University of Iowa Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center.  SPEAKS stands for Speech Programs Educating Adults and Kids who Stutter.  Wendell Johnson was one of the founding fathers of the speech pathology program and part of its roots is the field of stuttering.  Patrick started attending this center this spring after our school speech pathologist and the University felt this would be a great program for him.  After attending group for a week or two each month, he then attended several session of Speech Camp.  This camp is so well known that there were kids there from as far away as Alaska as well as other states in the Midwest. 

As parents, stuttering can be frustrating.  You want your child to be successful and speak clearly as many times that is your first impression.  But, we have also learned many famous people were stutterers as well.  Some of these names may surprise you:
Mel Tillis
James Earl Jones
Nicole Kidman
Joseph Biden
John Stossel
Bruce Willis
Marilyn Monroe
Mike Rowe
Marc Anthony
Tiger Woods
Lewis Carroll
Jane Seymour
and many more…..check HERE for more.
Also, for more information on stuttering, you can check out the Stuttering Foundation website at  We have learned a lot about stuttering and how to adapt and accept this difficulty.  If you haven’t seen The King’s Speech, it was an excellent movie, but one that also showed how frustrating stuttering can be for the person who has it.  It was an emotional movie for me.

Below is a video the kids at the Speech Camp put together to show how fun their time together was, but more importantly to teach others about stuttering.  If you want to know more about the program at the University of Iowa, there will be contact information at the end of the video.  The “What We Want You to Know” from the kids is……powerful!

Our son, Patrick gives his message at 3:31 and is featured several times throughout the video….even doing “the worm” and during a music video!

This time at the Speech Camp was such a great experience for him.  He was able to spend time with kids who know what it is like to stutter and learn how others cope with it.  He learned strategies to be able to handle his speech better.  The stutter may always be there, but he has definitely improved his approach.  There will always be situations where he is excited or nervous and the stutter will come out, but he now has strategies to use to control it.  I can’t say how proud I am of him and how he handles his stuttering.  He doesn’t let it affect his attitude or whether he has a conversation with someone.  He got to meet some awesome people during his camp including Adrian Clayborn, former Hawkeye football player and current Tampa Bay Buc and Matt Gatens, Hawkeye basketball player.  Huge deals for Patrick!!!

Thanks so much to Hannah, Annie, Toni, and all the others who helped make this camp possible for some awesome kids.  I can’t recommend the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center enough.  If your child needs help in any of those areas and you live close to IA City, please give them a call!

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