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    Thu, 22 Aug 2013 10:51:55

    Our Time Lands in New Jersey - They help kids who stutter

    It's your time and Our Time.

    Our Time is an award-winning, non-profit that provides a fun, creative, and nurturing space where kids who stutter come together to develop empowering self-confidence and communications skills. This October, after much demand from around the country, Our Time will undergo the first major expansion of its 12-year history, launching after-school programs in Northern New Jersey, Westchester, and Long Island.

    These programs will offer Our Time's trademark programming that has been praised by leading speech-language professionals for helping youth manage their physical, social, and emotional challenges from stuttering.

    It is estimated that over 70 million people in the world stutter, including 5% of all children. There is no cure for this common communication disorder, though speech therapy and support can help people manage their stuttering.

    While the Academy Award-winning film The King's Speech and the recent success of American Idol contestant Lazaro Arbos have raised national awareness of stuttering, stuttering remains largely misunderstood.

    Youth who stutter struggle not only with verbal communication, but also with bullying, discrimination, and social isolation that can cause feelings of shame, fear, and low self-esteem. Such feelings can impede a child's everyday activities such as participating in class, speaking on the phone, ordering in restaurants, and making friends.

    To shield themselves from teasing and rejection, many kids who stutter withdraw from social contacts. Some abandon career aspirations that they are taught to believe are incompatible with stuttering. Children who exhibit the disorder are often stigmatized as unintelligent, mentally challenged, and incompetent. The psychological implications of stuttering can be extreme: some youth suffer from debilitating anxiety, depression, and even suicidal tendencies. Many have found their greatest source of hope in Our Time.

    Our Time's Founder & Director Taro Alexander is himself a person who stutters who understands firsthand stuttering's devastating effects and the need for accessible services that can help young people overcome their challenges. Alexander found his own voice through the performing arts and achieved success in spite of having struggled with stuttering since the age of 5. After years of professionally acting, he founded Our Time in 2001. His goal was to provide a safe community where kids who stutter could express themselves through the healing outlet of the performing arts in an environment that is free of judgment and ridicule.

    Our Time's introduction of weekday after-school programs in Northern New Jersey, Westchester, and Long Island will begin to address this need. In New Jersey, Our Time will be partnering with Montclair State University's Center of Audiology and Speech Pathology which will host activities at its facilities.

    Our Time is dedicated to providing its cutting-edge services to youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds, offering financial aid to families in need. To learn more or enroll a young person who stutters, age 8-18, please visit www.ourtimestutter.org, or call Amber Horvath, Director of Programming, at (212) 414-9696, ext. 203.

    OUR TIME in NJ:

    Montclair State University Center of Audiology and Speech Pathology
    1515 Broad St, Bloomfield, NJ 07003
    Pre-Teens (8-12)
    Tuesdays (6:30pm-8:00pm)
    October 8th 2013 – December 10th 2013
    January 7th 2014 – February 18th 2014 Teens (13-18)
    Tuesdays (5:00pm-6:15pm)
    October 8th 2013 – December 10th 2013
    January 7th 2014 – February 18th 2014

    Will you spread the word about this great program?

    —Maggie Pannacione

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