Family sharing

I should probably have mentioned that after the NSA Conference, the trip to France and then a return to Saudi, I worked for a week and then … went on vacation again. It was the end of Ramadan and thus the Eid holidays. So we went as a family to Qatar. And yes, of course I stuttered there, but I’ll save that for later.

This year for the conference, my brother came along. He didn’t go to too many workshops, but it was nice having him around for lunches and dinners. I came to find out what I discovered before with my son — while my own brother acknowledges and knows and appreciates that I stutter, it’s still my deal at the end of the day. And unless he’s submersed in it (he’s not an SLP) there’s not going to be that strong connection.

And I shouldn’t expect that there would be.

That being said, I did take a strongly selfish approach to the week and talk about my stuttering with him as much as I could. Captive audience! You’re my brother, you’re obligated to listen!

So while that was good, it did take some time away from meeting new people at the conference. But since I rarely see my brother (being overseas and all that) I’ll take that compromise.

When I went home to see my parents for a few hours during my time home, I talked about the conference again with them. (Last year, when I went for the first time, their reaction was simply, “did you learn any techniques?”) This year, I pushed things a little more, and I talked a lot more. Selfish! (It’s my theme when I go stateside — it’s all about me). The more I talked to them, the more I think they learned. And I learned something very interesting, too. Not only do I have a cousin who stutters on my dad’s side, but my dad said that his own brother “stuttered a little bit.”

Why, that sounds like he stuttered, then! And was probably covert. And was probably pretty good at being covert. And as I learned during the conference, just further evidence that I was blessed with stuttering before I could even figure out what was going on.

I’m a little sad that I didn’t find out about my (biological) stuttering family sooner. It would have been interesting to talk to them as I was growing up. Just another reason why it’s important to be out there about this to family — they may not care on a day-to-day basis, but they will listen, and they will at least be very curious.

Some thoughts on a Stuttering App

What would an app have on it that would be useful?

I took a casual look at the stuttering apps that are available through the Apple App Store. I didn’t download or try any of them, but I don’t think I will anyway. What I was more interested in in a capture application. Something that would gather data on my stuttering and let me know overall if things are getting worse, the same or better.

Of course there was an Apple event the other day, and they’ve updated their site to include this.

I’d been thinking for the past few weeks — what would I really want a stuttering app to look and feel like? Here are my thoughts:

First screen would simply have two choices — before and after. The app’s goal is to capture your …angst? … before and/or after the stuttering.

So if you choose “before,” then you’d get a few more simple choices.

How long until the speaking engagement?
What type — in person, phone.
If it’s in person, is it one-to-one, small group, large group
If it’s on the phone, is the person very familiar, somewhat familiar, or a cold call?
What’s the objective of the call? To ask for information on a subject, or resolution to something? (like calling the cable company about a messed-up bill).

And the same could be built up for a person — familiarity, purpose.

Then maybe it’d ask what would happen if you stutter in a big way.

For the “after,” you might be able to log the same information as above, and then on a scale how much you stuttered, and how much you think it affected the outcome. And if you’ll have to go back.

Obviously it all needs some refinement, but those are my initial thoughts. Maybe I’ll try to map it out in a few days. Then see about building an app to start collecting data.

I’d like to think that after several months of data capture, those of us who stutter could see that we spend a lot of time worrying about speaking when it’s probably not warranted. And that the other person probably isn’t bothered too much.

Stuttering and Path

I’ll admit that when it comes to the latest apps and programs, I’m not up to date. That’s mostly to do with living in Saudi — we don’t exactly have things like Groupon here, and the shop down at the corner only takes cash — they probably won’t care about Apple Pay any time soon.

That being said, I do try to keep up with what’s going on back home. I read this with some interest about Path via daringfireball.

From the site:

We’re thrilled to announce Path Talk 1.1, with the goal of giving you a new super-power: putting the power of a personal assistant in the palm of your hand. It’s called Places, and it lets you interact with any local business. No phone call needed.

Places gives you the power to message your favorite local businesses to request appointments, make reservations, or even check out prices and hours. It’s all by text. And it’s all for free.

Um … wow. Ok then. This really ties up well with my recent post about a day without stuttering.

I’ll be honest, I don’t use Path right now for anything. And probably won’t while I’m still here in Saudi … I have messaging apps and Facebook that are working ok. But that being said, this sort of thing blows me away from a stuttering standpoint.

I mean, I won’t have to call a local business to … interact with them and ask them stuff?! Seriously?! Yes, there is a lot of information already online, but like they say, making reservations and whatnot can’t always be done via the web. And then the next point in this is having an online assistant making phone calls for you.

I’m not so sure my life would be so busy that I’d need something like this. But it’s only the beginning. Soon we’ll be able to text power companies and credit card companies… and the pizza place… and maybe even the fast food restaurant…

Which brings me to (assuming I move back to the States) do I download and start using this because it’s new and cool and useful and saving me time, or am I doing it because it’s a few less people who I have to talk to (and not stutter with?). Or is this something I can use (or a stuttering patient could use) little by little to help with certain hard situations — eventually weaning themselves off?

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