NBA Player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist speaks to students about his personal journey with stuttering
Speech-Language Pathology students experience real-life story about stuttering
NBA player and University of Kentucky Men’s basketball champion, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (“MKG”) recently spoke with University of Cincinnati Communication Sciences & Disorders on his personal experiences as a person who stutters. Kidd-Gilchrist believes in the importance of connecting with future Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) on the importance of speech therapy, the trusted relationship between a person who stutters and their SLP, and how both changed his life.
“I was excited to meet the future SLP’s studying at Cincinnati and to share my story with them,” said Kidd-Gilchrist. “At first, I didn’t want anyone to know about my stutter. When I entered speech therapy, I told my therapist that I didn’t want anyone to know. Today, I want to share my story. I see my stutter as a gift that I have embraced because now I can help others including those who are getting into the field of speech-language pathology.”
Students in the undergraduate speech language and hearing sciences and the graduate speech-language pathology programs were able to hear from and ask questions to Kidd-Gilchrist. For students it was a great way to put themselves in the shoes of the patient.
“Listening to his story helped me gain perspective of a population I may be working with in the future,” says speech language hearing sciences student Meghan Stapp.
Listening to Kidd-Gilchrist’s story helped me gain perspective of a population I may be working with in the future
Meghan Stapp Student in speech language hearing sciences
It wasn’t only the techniques he relied on his SLP for, but the emotional support as well.
“Opportunities like these make us all around better practitioners - understanding how this speech disorder affects his day-to-day life and hearing about the kind of support that he wishes he had growing up - we can take away from that and apply it to our future,” says speech language hearing sciences student Lauren Daily.
Students in Communication Sciences & Disorders in the College of Allied Health Sciences continue to learn more about stuttering through coursework and special labs this fall. The pseudo-stutter activity even allows them to experience stuttering themselves, giving them insights into the difficulty a person who stutters goes through.
October 22nd marks International Stuttering Awareness Day, a day that the National Stuttering Association hopes to use to spread awareness spread awareness and advocate for the more than 70 million people worldwide who stutter.
In 2020 when spending time in the NBA ‘bubble’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kidd-Gilchrist began reflecting on his own stutter while learning more about all the barriers the stuttering community faces. He considered how to turn his knowledge and experience into actionable and meaningful ways to advocate for persons who stutter. In 2021, Kidd-Gilchrist founded his non-profit organization, Change & Impact, Inc. with a mission to improve access to healthcare and expand services and resources for those who stutter. Kidd-Gilchrist regularly visits Capitol Hill, colleges and universities, children’s hospitals, camps focused on stuttering, and primary and secondary schools to share his story and raise awareness about stuttering.
Krista Beyrer, M.A., CCC-SLP, CBIS, director of clinical education in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department, had been communicating with Kidd-Gilchrist for some time about visiting UC.
“We are excited about our future partnership in advocating for individuals who stutter, educating our students about stuttering and expanding community awareness and resources for people who stutter and their families,” says Beyrer.
Early intervention and availability of speech-language pathology is a focus for Change & Impact Inc. moving forward and Kidd-Gilchrist’s appreciation of those in the profession goes a long way to motivate future practitioners.
“One of the things that really stuck out to me was the gratitude that Michael shared towards our class for going into the profession of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology,” says Daily. He repeatedly thanked us for giving him a safe space to speak - it’s a good feeling to know that what we are doing is really making a difference in someone’s life.”
Learn more Change & Impact, Inc.
Founded in 2021 by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Change & Impact, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to improve access to healthcare and expand services and resources for those who stutter. As a person who stutters, Kidd-Gilchrist started Change & Impact to advocate, educate, and raise awareness about stuttering. To learn more, visit www.changeandimpactinc.org
Training the next generation of Speech-Language Pathologists
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Speech Language Pathology is expected to grow by 21% - faster than other occupations. If you are interested in making a difference in a career as an SLP - the University of Cincinnati offers an undergraduate degree in Speech Language Hearing Sciences that will give you the pre-requisites needed to apply to our graduate degree program in Speech-Language Pathology.