Stuttering camp at UT changing students lives

The newly founded "Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute" at the University of Texas is changing lives. This week they are holding a camp for kids who suffer from stuttering.

Eleven-year-old Katelyn Alcott struggles with stuttering.

"There are a few times that I go home and cry because something happened," said Alcott, camp participant.

She's one of 40 children aged 4 to 14 at Camp Dream, Speak, Live. It's a 5-day program at UT-Austin in conjunction with the Moody School of Communication.

"Our camp is focused on really getting the children to dream big dream beyond anything they've ever imagined and in that dream, not to envision that they are someone who stutters," said Dr. Courtney Byrd, Founder.

It's a dream realized for Katelyn. She is at a point where she accepts who she is, and does not worry about outsiders' opinions.

"I don't really care what they think. It's ok if I talk a little differently than everybody else," said Alcott.

Doctor Byrd says other camps may try to cure stuttering by attacking it, but instead, she tells the kids to embrace it.

"Getting to a place of acceptance, versus trying to cure and get rid of their stuttering. Ironically, through acceptance stuttering is reduced," said Byrd.

Nine-year-old Matthew Sheppard came down from Plano. He has been enjoying the activities during the week. He says he has met two friends already.

"Yesterday, we saw a magic show," said Sheppard.

It was just one of the plenty of activities on the table to get the kids socializing.

"They see other kids who stutter, and they hear them talking about the things they're dreaming about."

Friendship, kindness, and acceptance, all traits these campers possess, that will allow them to spread their wings, gain confidence and end their stuttering.

"If somebody asks about it, you just say with a smile that "hey I stutter."

"They can pursue their dreams, they can speak their hearts with no hesitation, and they can live their lives to the fullest," said Byrd.

Out of the allotted $3.5 million for the Michael and Tami Lang Institute, only $100,000 goes toward various treatment services, consultations, and also the camp. If you wish to donate to the institute, please visit here.


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