Kids who stutter find support

Some kids pose with Goldy Gopher.

Children who stutter are often embarrassed and try to hide their stuttering—even if it means not talking. This can have a more serious impact on their lives than the stuttering itself. The University of Minnesota Kids Who Stutter Camp (UMKWS) brings together kids who stutter to meet, connect, and realize that they can be good communicators.

“Stuttering is a debilitating challenge for people in all walks of life," says Joel Korte, an alumnus of CLA’s master's program in speech-language pathology and a person who stutters himself. "It can be especially daunting for children and teenagers due to the intense social pressures they face. Young people who stutter often feel isolated and alone when they deal with their disorder on a daily basis, but meeting peers who face the same challenge can be an extraordinarily powerful experience."

The UMKWS camp has been bringing kids together for since 2009, and takes place in mid-June. Camp lasts one week and is split into half-day sessions, with the morning session for children grades 3-5 and the afternoon session for grades 6-8. By keeping the groups small (10 or fewer), interaction among participants is encouraged.

Campers go on field trips around the U of M campus, tour the sports facilities and the Raptor Center, and bowl at Coffman Memorial Union. On the last day, they go to McDonalds and order their own meals, something many of the kids have not done for themselves before. Camp is topped off with a performance about stuttering for families and friends.