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Workshop Schedule

This schedule is Eastern Standard Time.

*Workshops will be recorded and made available to conference registrants after the conference
**Interactive part of workshop will not be recorded

TimeSession 1Session 2
6:00-7:00pm *Let’s Branch into the Conference (Icebreakers, Meet the Board of Directors)
7:15-8:15 pm *Jaleesa Bygrave: Everyone Deserves a Voice: Breaking the Barriers of Race and Speech Impediments *Pamela Mertz, Charley Adams: Dropping the ‘C’ in Covert Stuttering at work
8:30-9:30 pm Open Mic
10:00-11:00am *Mary Wood: I Need Your Love – Is that true? *Dr. Deryk S. Beal and Dr. Anna Tendera: Neurophysiological Markers of Developmental Stuttering: Updated Insights
11:15am-12:15pm *Paige Smith: Changing My Name, Changed My Life Daniele Rossi: Let’s Draw Comics!
1:15-2:15pm *Nina G: Keynote
2:30-3:30pm Eeva Stierwalt: Parenting a Person Who Stutters – You are not alone Part 1 *Gareth Walkom: The Journey and Future of Stuttering Therapy Using Virtual Reality
3:45-4:45pm Eeva Stierwalt: Parenting a Person Who Stutters – You are not alone Part 2 *Mike Wilson: From Shame to Confidence
6:00-7:00pm *Ryan Cowley: Doing What You Love as a Progressive-Minded Stutterer *Gerald Maguire: Piecing Together the Mysterious of Stuttering—Reviewing the Treatments Today and Those of Tomorrow
7:15-8:15pm *Alexandra D’Agostino: What’s in Your Future? Stuttering and your Career Carla Di Domenicantonio: Personal Perspectives, an Interactive Panel
8:30 – 9:30 pm Open Mic
10:00-11:00pm *Mitchell Abrams: Energy 101: The Art and Science of Meditation *Audrey Bigras: Stuttering, Media and Fake news
11:15am-12:15pm *Jaan Pill: How Can We Best Address Teasing And Bullying Of Children Who Stutter? *Tim Lindsay: The Rollercoaster After Precision Fluency Shaping
1:30-2:30pm *Richard Holmes: Keynote
2:45-3:45pm **Anna Huynh: Cultivating Leadership: Build your Career and Your Confidence Dylan Leaney, Alexandra D’Agostino: Shared Experiences
4:00-5:00pm Open Mic, Closing Session

Workshop Descriptions

Presenter and TopicDescription

Jaleesa Bygrave

Everyone Deserves a Voice: Breaking the Barriers of Race and Speech Impediments

Through the use of the autoethnography research method, this workshop will highlight the experiences of racialized community members living with speech impediments. Jaleesa will discuss her own experiences with employment, dating, and school to articulate the varied instances in which racialized people who live with speech impediments experience systemic oppression.


Jaleesa Bygrave is a social worker with a breadth of experience supporting individuals, children, and families with complex needs. Currently, she is a social worker on a full-time basis in the prison system and is starting a social work private practice part-time for persons with various speech impediments which stems from her own personal experience living with a stutter.

Pamela Mertz, Charley Adams

Dropping the 'C' in Covert Stuttering at Work

People who stutter often try to be as covert as possible at work, so they are not exposed and labeled as less intelligent, anxious or emotionally unsound, all of which we know are myths about stuttering. Stuttering covertly denies opportunity to bring one’s full self to work, which is needed for relationship building, creativity, teamwork and innovation. This workshop will explain the value in NOT hiding stuttering at work, as well as a variety of ways to come out of hiding your stuttering in the workplace.


Pamela Mertz is a person who stutters who is actively involved in the global stuttering community. She is a past Board member of the International Stuttering Association, and present Board member of the USA National Stuttering Association. She was one of the leaders behind the "We Stutter @ Work" program. She has a blog called Make Room For The Stuttering and hosts the only podcast exclusively for women who stutter.

Mary Wood

I Need Your Love - Is That True?

We can spend a large part of our lives seeking approval and appreciation. In Mary's own life, she thought she needed people to love and appreciate her, especially when she stuttered. This was the main thought around her fear of stuttering. What would happen if we didn't need to rely on the approval of others? Mary invites you for some interesting and insightful conversation that can change our lives, just as they continue to change hers.


Mary Wood first attended a conference for people who stutter in Ottawa in 1993 where she presented a workshop on self-esteem. Since then, she has spoken at conferences in Canada, the United States, England and Europe. In 2005 Mary was ordained as a Unity Minister.

Deryk S. Beal, Ph.D., Reg. CASLPO, CCC-SLP and Dr. Anna Tendera

Neurophysiological markers of developmental stuttering: updated insights

This presentation will provide an overview of the neural and physiological processes that contribute to stuttering behaviors and developmental stuttering. The complex neurophysiology that extends beyond the perceptible stuttering (or stuttering-like) disfluencies will be addressed, as well as associated secondary behaviors. Research into the physiological and neural processes revealing the nature of stuttering can improve diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness.


Dr. Beal is a Clinician-Scientist in the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI) at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and an assistant professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Beal ‘s research focuses on improving outcomes for children who stutter and with other developmental communication disorders. He is interested in the neurobiology of communication and its disorders for the express purpose of innovating and evaluating neurorehabilitation for children.

Dr. Anna Tendera is a postdoctoral researcher at the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI) at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Her research focuses on improving diagnostic tools and treatment for adults and children with stuttering.

Paige Smith

Changing My Name, Changed My Life

Do you think making change in your life is hard and sometimes feels impossible? Believe it or not, change does not have to be a difficult and painful process. In fact, creating positive change can be a very empowering and rewarding experience. In this workshop, Paige will challenge common notions people can have about change — illustrated through her personal story of how changing her name changed her life. From the words of ancient Greek philosopher Socrates: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”


Paige Smith is transitioning from graphic design to becoming a certified professional life coach. Her goal is to help adults who stutter navigate school, career and relationships. On her stuttering journey, she manages fear and social anxiety with mindfulness and a big dose of self-compassion. Follow Paige on Instagram @thehappystutterer

Daniele Rossi

Let's Draw Comics!

Daniele will share his joy of drawing comics about his stuttering and the benefits of doing so for self-therapy, creative expression, and awareness. After a quick lesson on how to draw a comic strip, attendees will have the opportunity to draw their own comics about a speaking situation that happened to them (and maybe even change the ending!). Attendees will experience viewing their speaking situation from this unique perspective and have the option to share their comic with the group. Be sure to have pencils and paper with you. All levels of drawing ability (including none) are welcomed!


Daniele Rossi, Chief Digital Strategist, is a digital marketer and cartoonist from Toronto, Canada. Daniele is the creator of the Franky Banky, a cartoon fox who stutters and appears in his book Stuttering is Cool: A Guide to Stuttering in a Fast-Talking World. Daniele also produces a podcast of the same name.

Eeva Stierwalt

Parenting a Person Who Stutters - You Are Not Alone!

As a parent, you may be concerned about the difficulties your child will experience with their stuttering, both socially and academically, and you are NOT alone in these thoughts. In this workshop, parents of children, teens, and young adults who stutter will come together to share stories and offer support to one another by sharing each other’s parenting journeys. Parents will have the opportunity to seek guidance and hear first hand experience from a Mother of a young adult who stutters.


Eeva Stierwalt, the CSA National Coordinator and Chair, is also the mother and supporter of Alexandra D’Agostino, a young adult who stutters who is the new Family and Child Program Coordinator of the CSA as a board member and who has been also heavily involved with the NSA (National Stuttering Association, US). Eeva has led workshops for parents at both the CSA and the NSA conferences over the years.

Gareth Walkom

The journey and future of stuttering therapy using virtual reality

Virtual reality is now commonly used for stuttering therapy and research around the world. This has demonstrated how virtual reality has the potential to be a valuable tool for practicing treatment and exposing people who stutter to safe life-like controlled virtual situations. With revolutionary technology, we can now transform these virtual experiences to be more realistic than ever before to create situations that are sometimes impossible to control and stop in real-life.


Gareth Walkom, a person who stutters, is leading the way in utilizing how people who stutter and speech pathologists can benefit by using virtual reality as a tool. Working on this topic since 2015, Gareth has developed, various applications, producing VR tools featured on TV programs, and podcasts worldwide.

Mike Wilson

From Shame to Confidence

Mike will share his journey from childhood shame to confidence and success in adulthood, from hiding in the bathroom so he didn't have to speak to making the life-changing decision to stop avoiding people just because he stutters. He will describe becoming a doctor and building up a successful dental practice, along with some of the advantages stuttering can bring, such as the opportunity to regularly display courage, honesty, and perseverance. Move to stuttering confidence, and refuse to give in to low expectations!


Mike Wilson is a person who stutters, host of the podcast "Stutter with Confidence", and active NSA member. He lives in Syracuse, NY, and is married with four children. He is a dentist, and the owner and CEO of five dental practices in Upstate New York.

Ryan Cowley

Doing What You Love as a Progressive-Minded Stutterer

Ryan's presentation will consist of speaking about his career as a sportswriter and learning to adapt with the reality of conducting many phone interviews -- an area which has instilled personal fear for many years. You can learn never to limit yourself as a person who stutters. Ryan has come a long way in his career, which includes achievements and self-discovery while keeping in mind the value of hard work, determination and integrity.


Ryan Cowley has been a hockey writer for many years, writing for his own website as well as major publications such as CBC Sports. During his career, Ryan has learned not only to adapt but to embrace being a person who stutters.

Dr. Gerald Maguire

Piecing Together the Mysterious of Stuttering: Reviewing the Treatments Today and Those of Tomorrow

2020 has brought many challenges to this world. The health of all has taken the major focus of all our lives. This year has brought at least positive—breakthrough knowledge in understanding the reasons behind stuttering. We can now state that stuttering is a neuropsychiatric disorder with multiple causes and with such, likely not every individual will respond to each treatment. As we continue to unravel the mysteries, novel treatments are being developed to enhance the lives of those of stutter.


Gerald Maguire, MD is a Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the UCR School of Medicine. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and serves as the Chair of the National Stuttering Association. Dr. Maguire has been named as one of the Best Doctors in America every year since 2009 and is recognized as the world's authority on the medical treatment of stuttering.

Carla Di Domenicantonio

Personal Perspectives – An Interactive Panel

Do you want to learn more about the experience of stuttering from a personal perspective? Whether you are a person who stutters, a parent, spouse or sibling, a speech-language professional or student, here is your chance to learn more! This interactive panel consisting of four adults who stutter, the parent of a preschool child, and the parent of an adult child will welcome your questions. Prepare to be enlightened!


Carla Di Domenicantonio is a Speech-Language Pathologist in Burlington, Ontario. She has had a career-long interest in stuttering and recognizes that she gained helpful insights through her involvement with the stuttering community. She hopes to provide an opportunity for others to also learn from the stories and experiences of individuals who stutter.

Mitchell Abrams

Energy 101: The Art and Science of Meditation

This workshop explores the best of western medical science and ancient spiritual wisdom. Mitchell will provide knowledge, skills and strategies for self care and introduce tools for participants to stay engaged to continued to learn heal and grow together as part of a local meets global approach to health and wellness.


Dr. Mitchell Abrams is a Canadian Radiologist, Guest Speaker, as well as the Founder and CEO of NexGenHealth Ltd. Abrams experienced a remarkable journey through western healthcare, as a physician, division chief and open-heart surgical patient. Through these experiences, he has been afforded an intimate look into our current healthcare model and a unique perspective on life. Combining his passion for the arts and medicine, Abrams initiated a social enterprise delivering innovative health strategies and programs to support mental health and social inclusivity using the power of the medical humanities and technology.

Audrey Bigras

Stuttering, Media and Fake News

Stuttering is still a mysterious topic, with a lot of unknown and grey zones. However, there are many myths and false information about stuttering in the media (internet, TV) and in society. How can the people who stutter keep a critical sense about the information about stuttering, especially in a hyperconnected society? Audrey will discuss this in the interactive workshop.


Audrey Bigras is an adult who stutter and a member of the board of directors of the Association bégaiement communication (ABC) since 2015, a stuttering association that helps adults who stutter, in Quebec. She currently lives in Montreal and works as a research professional.

Jaan Pill

How can we best address teasing and bullying of children who stutter?

Jaan will speak about how to address teasing and bullying of children who stutter. Schools are generally required to have a protocol in place, whereby bullying of any kind is dealt with at once, rather than being allowed to fester. Jaan looks at an anti-bullying program which among other things focuses on children who stutter. The presentation will review research about bullying, and address bullying in the course of Jaan's career as an elementary school teacher.


A retired elementary teacher, Jaan Pill stuttered severely as a child. Sometimes, he could not get out any words at all. At age 41, he relearned how to speak by learning, as he says, 'fluency as a second language.' He enjoys public speaking and has appeared in many media interviews.

Tim Lindsay

The Rollercoaster After Precision Fluency Shaping

Tim will talk about his life coping with stuttering and the treatment he received using the Precision Fluency method. He will offer tips on maintaining fluency after treatment and the ups and downs people who stutter can experience.


Tim Lindsay has stuttered all his life and attend the Presicion Fluency Shaping Program in 1987 at the Clark Institute. Tim is retired from Hydro One as an Environmental Planner and has held various leadership positions in volunteer organizations. He is interested in discussing various ways of managing our stuttering using the PFSP targets.

Anna Huynh

Cultivating leadership: Build your career and your confidence

Have you ever felt as if stuttering is holding you back in school, work, or even life? This workshop will provide you with the knowledge and tools to take your career to the next level. You will learn about self-acceptance, confidence, and leadership; discover where you are in your leadership journey; and create your individualized action plan for developing your personal and professional potential.


Anna Huynh aims to create a community where people with communication differences feel empowered. She is a person who stutters, a Speech-Language Pathologist, and a PhD student at the University of Toronto. She serves as the President of, Volunteer Coordinator, and Fundraising Coordinator of the Canadian Stuttering Association.

Dylan Leaney, Alexandra D'Agostino

Shared Experiences

Growing up stuttering Dylan was ashamed of the word "stutter". Isolated and alone, he felt he was the only person in the world fighting the battle that those that didn't stutter simply didn't understand. This workshop will remove some of that isolation. Using the polling feature on zoom Dylan and Alexandra will ask a number of questions, and participants will then be able to respond anonymously and see the results of the poll. There will be discussion, sharing of experiences and reflection.


Dylan Leaney is a high school math teacher from Edmonton, Alberta and he is also an ice hockey referee. He has stuttered since he can remember and he has always had concerns about his career, his lifestyle and how his stutter would affect these. Still to this day he worries about his speech and how people perceive him because of it. He hopes to pass some of his experiences and advice onto other people that may be struggling with similar things.

Alexandra D'Agostino

What’s in Your Future? Stuttering and your Career

Do you have a dream job but you think you can’t pursue it because of your stutter? Well you can! Join our panel of 5 career professionals who have overcome their fears about stuttering to pursue their dreams. We will talk about techniques, strategies and share real-life stories about stuttering in the workplace. Our panelists will include a teacher, an office worker, a social worker, a police officer, and a registered nurse. There will also be an opportunity to ask our panelists questions during the workshop.


Alexandra D’Agostino is 27, and a Registered Nurse. She has stuttered since she was seven, and is on the CSA’s Board of Directors as their Family and Children’s Programming Coordinator. She has also been involved with the CSA for 6 years now, and with the National Stuttering Association since 2011 volunteering with different programs and running workshops. Both stuttering associations have made such a big difference in her life, and with her stutter, and she is looking forward to being able to continue to give back to the CSA and NSA.

Dylan Leaney See above

Tara Carmody is 28 and was diagnosed with a stutter at age 6. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2015 where she majored in Molecular Biology. Since then, she has worked as a Client Service Rep for a lab in Edmonton and is currently an Air Quality Data tech with Alberta Environment. In 2019, she also began working part-time as a Behavioural Interventionist with the Centre for Autism Services Alberta and has volunteered with the University of Alberta's NeuroSpeech lab where she assisted with various studies.

Michael Gravelle is 35 years old and is a certified support worker. He has over ten years experience as a support worker and has had a number of roles in this field. He is currently working with clients with Developmental Disabilities in his roles as an Out Reach Worker and Supportive Roommate. His job requires a fair amount of talking as he communicates with clients and their other caregivers. This is challenging due to his speech impediment. Over the years he has had a hard time finding employment because potential employers are not able to overlook or are outwardly uncomfortable with his speech impediment. Thankfully he has found employers willing to give him a chance to prove that his speech does not impede his capabilities and professionalism in the workplace.

Vedran Popic is 34 and living in Alberta, Canada. He is a police officer and a father, with a wife and two kids (2 year old boy and an 8 month old daughter). He originally came to Canada from Bosnia and Herzegovina many years ago. He is a stutterer. He has stuttered all my life and has received treatment for it in the past. He doesn’t consider himself cured, as his stutter is very much present and is a part of his everyday life.