According to researcher Michael Boyle, “people who stutter (PWS) experience many psycho-social stresses, including feelings of stigma and shame, state and trait anxiety and negative affect because of their stuttering. Behavioral consequences of stuttering include reduced educational participation and achievement, work limitations, and withdrawal from social interaction in general. These behaviors can have the effect of increasing isolation and reducing quality of life in PWS1.” However, if an individual comes from a loving family who can provide socio-emotional support and treatment plus one has friends, community activism and empowerment, an individual’s quality of life increases significantly.
But if stuttering is added to economic instability, the odds of one being able to live a productive life seems almost insurmountable. In a recent study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine discuss the relationship between income inequality and high school dropout rates2. Their research confirms that youths, particularly males, from economically disadvantaged families are least likely to graduate from high school and gain upward mobility. According to the study, this phenomenon is largely due to a lack of “hard skills (algebra and art) and soft skills (persistence and comfort with authority) typically acquired in high school”. What’s even more alarming: dropout rates in the Deep South are nearly 200% higher than other parts of the country.
Four factors are cited for most likely contributing to the development of stuttering: genetics (approximately 60% of PWS have a family member who stutters); child development (children who have other speech and language problems or developmental delays more than likely will stutter); neurophysiology (recent neurological research proves PWS process speech and language slightly differently than the norm); and family dynamics (high expectations, socioeconomics or fast lifestyles).3
E1VM is designed for disadvantaged families who are the focus of Kearny and Levine’s research and have issues with stuttering. It seeks to transform the lives of young people who are overlooked because of their speech impediments by providing them with the tools to overcome their fluency issues and giving them therapeutic services and a strong support system that reinforces the skills necessary for psychological, social, academic, and professional success. In short, E1VM seeks to break the cycle of socio-emotional and -economic declension among disadvantaged youths who stutter to improve their overall quality of life.
To promote the development of fluency, communication and coping skills for the individual who stutter and socialization, support and understanding in the community
To change the methodology of addressing educational needs of at-risk youth and their families
To facilitate altering behavioral characteristics that eliminate delinquency, recidivism, and other unproductive behaviors among the at-risk populations in our community
To link life skills and academic preparation together and improve one’s chances for a better future through the correlation
To offer unique training and enrichment programs that keep our at-risk youth who stutter engaged and moving closer to their goals, aspirations, and dreams
To establish safe, stable and nurturing home environments among families residing in Berkeley, Dorchester and surrounding counties.
To provide a disciplined and nurturing environment that promotes self-respect, self-esteem and self-worth and encourages listening, caring, and reinforcement of positive values
To discourage drug and alcohol use while advocating mindfulness and healthier life choices.
1. Obtain referrals from public and private agencies
2. Conduct meetings, seminars and workshops for families in the community
3. Provide group and individual counseling sessions to families and the at-risk youth residing in Berkeley, Dorchester and surrounding counties.
4. Network with other social service agencies in the community to provide families with 100% support.
5. Set up peer to peer interactions for sharing and emotional and social support
6. Give our at-risk youth who stutter various experiential field trips to allow them to dream and keep them focused on the goals
To give people who stutter a therapeutic environment in which they are not judged and where they can flourish while being supported and loved
To change the lives of at-risk youth who stutter and their families; to give them something to believe in and see it manifest in front of their eyes
To reduce the incidence of unemployed families in Berkeley, Dorchester and surrounding counties by breaking the feeling of helplessness and generational poverty
To lower the incidence of social problems that come along with poverty: child abuse, spousal abuse, unwanted pregnancy, preventable illnesses and cases of substance and alcohol abuse
To provide an environment that values personal respect, self esteem, self worth, and encourages listening and caring, and reinforced positive values.
To provide a variety of educational enrichment and enhancement programs and field trips to at-risk youth who stutter and their families in the community
To develop a network of support services accessible and affordable to families in the community