Inspirational

VIDEO: Parker Mantell’s viral commencement speech inspires millions

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
— Parker Mantell

College grad Parker Mantell delivered wisdom beyond his years and went viral as an eloquent and inspiring Indiana University commencement speaker (who stutters). Parker is a friend and an outstanding citizen - and he continues to pursue his path in the world of politics. I met Parker at the National Stuttering Association conference and the impact of perseverance and insight he left me with then, still remain today.

His spoken words ring true today, as they did in 2014 by his commencement! Watch the video below for the full clip:

“As a person who stutters, I can be no more certain that, in this room and in this hall, are thousands of people who far more talented at public speaking than I am.
At the same time, I can be no more certain that the message I have to share is one that must be heard.”
— Parker Mantell
 
 

PODCAST with Parker

Listen to Stuttertalk podcast with Parker Mantell.
For StutterTalk page click here.


TED TALK

“Boldly breaking through barriers not only opens doors for you, but it opens doors for others. Parker Mantell talks through how people in history, working through their challenges, empowered him to work through his stutter. He challenges the audience to do the same for the next generation.” (TedTalk, description)

 
Uri Schneider and Parker Mantell  National Stuttering Association Conference

Uri Schneider and Parker Mantell
National Stuttering Association Conference

 

VIDEO: Communication Courage and Artistic Expression (Rebecca Klein)

Although my words still get stuck, my heart no longer burns with the pain of feeling different. I am free.
— Rebecca Klein (spoken words)

She stutters when she speaks, but not when she sings. What is going on in that beautiful mind?Watch and see - and LISTEN - to Rebecca.

Rebecca is an incredibly dignified, courageous and articulate woman. We are sure you will agree after you hear what she has to say (and sing.) She uses her voice to express vivid images and powerful emotions - struggle and pain as well as friendship and acceptance. Likely, you will find yourself full of emotion as you watch and listen to Rebecca. We encourage you to focus on the message of her words as she demonstrates poise and poetry to express herself.
Then, wait for (or skip to 8:14) the moment Rebecca transitions from delivering spoken words as she stands behind a lectern, and switches to sit on a stool in center stage with a guitar and singing sweet song (written, composed and performed by the one and only, Rebecca Klein.)

I now realize I have choices when I open my mouth.
I can stutter freely.
I can use speech tools.
And I can choose not to talk.
I am no longer confined to the jail cell of an unspoken life.
— Rebecca Klein (spoken words)
 
 

Gala Performance at SAY: The Stuttering Association For The Young, April 16th, 2012. SAY (previously known as Our Time) is an artistic home for young people who stutter. For more information go to http://www.say.org/ (See lyrics below.)

 
My words were fisherman lost at sea. Navigating the vast ocean of my mind. Desperate to find a home.
— Rebecca Klein (spoken words)
 
rebklein 2.jpeg
 
“Ticking Clock”

Step right up to the center of the stage

Tell me what’s your name

It looks like you’ve been battered, you’ve been bruised

By the way you talk

But don’t mind the ticking clock

Just one more abusive thought

To keep me up at night

FocusING on the details of your life

Tell me what’s it like

To be alone where no one knows the ache

Of a thousand locks

‘Cause sometimes this ticking clock

Like a time bomb, it just goes off

And I know you’ve got so much to say

So let them rain

‘Cause you fill me up with your voice

They’re all the same

But us, we’ve got a choice

To step right up to the center of a stage

And say our names

I know we’re all battered, we’re all bruised

By the way we talk

But don’t mind the ticking clock

Hung there, on the wall

‘Cause I know it can’t be stopped

But our words are much more than thoughts
— Rebecca Klein (Lyrics)

Get Playful for Learning Success

You can’t learn to swim if you’re scared of the water.
Once you’re comfortable getting wet, you’re ready to learn.
— Uri Schneider


How do we foster learning and growth? We need the right balance of "pressure" with "safety."
Only as we explore new territory, outside the familiar comfortable routines, we find opportunities to learn and grow.
As we confront challenges, engage in problem solving the puzzles, we are forced to dig deeper. As we are pressed past the boundaries of the familiar, we discover the world of learning.

But we need to feel safe enough to explore. And that makes all the difference.

If it's just PRESSURE, then we are too pressed and unable to really learn more than spit-back.


Check out our Instagram @SchneiderSpeech for more great content!

 
 

VIDEO: Stop Bullying with George Springer

George Springer has earned the MVP award in Major League Baseball - but he's also earned our respect for his consistent courage as an articulate spokesman and stand-out role-model for kids and young people who stutter.

 
 

Reigning World Series MVP George Springer joins the Shred Hate campaign to stop bullying and encourage young fans to "Choose Kindness"

 
I want kids to be themselves. And enjoy their lives.
— George Springer
 

Clients’ Voices: Ali Nicklas Talks about #Failure and #Resilience

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Ali Nicklas, Founder and President, Different & Able    anicklas@differentandable.org    www.instagram.com/differentandable

Ali Nicklas, Founder and President, Different & Able

anicklas@differentandable.org
www.instagram.com/differentandable

 

INTRODUCTION:

Good evening. Thank you Dr. Kinsey and Renata Henry for this opportunity. And thank you to the graduating class. It is an honor to be here at Hewitt, speaking with you, at your alumni induction dinner.

FAILURE:

I was told that the “word of the year” is “failure.” I know a little about that. I’ve done it several times. At this point, I would say I’ve learned to “fail very well.”

I want to share some words about my experiences at Hewitt, my journey and my failures.


TIME AT HEWITT:

It’s been 10 years since I graduated in the class of 2008, but my memories of my time here, are as vivid as ever. I remember my first day of Kindergarten, coming into my classroom, greeted by Ms. Notham and meeting the kids in my class. As much as I remember the visual scene; I also so remember the visceral feeling. It felt warm and inviting. It felt like a community.

I came to Hewitt as a child with a unique set of gifts, as well as a unique set of challenges. I had physical differences and learning difficulties unlike many of my classmates.

I worried if I would fit in. I wondered if I would measure-up to my parents’ and teachers’ expectations. I questioned what my future life could look like. Would I fail? Would I be able to make-it through and succeed? And it was scary at times.


CHALLENGES @ HEWITT:

Due to my learning challenges, geometry was really challenging. I thought math was about numbers, and then it became all about shapes and figures. (Until we got to algebra and that’s when math became all about letters a, b, c and x, y z.) I remember my teacher sitting down with me, telling me “don’t give up” - “you got this!”

Sports were also harder for me. I couldn’t run as fast as some of my peers because of my physical differences. I remember how my teachers supported and motivated me to “stick with it” and persevere even though it was hard.

There were many times I was overwhelmed. I wanted a pass. I wanted to quit.

I am where I am today, because I didn’t quit.

I am where I am today because of my teachers.

I am where I am today because of my family.

I am where I am today because of my inner resilience - I would show the world who I am on the inside!

And I am where I am today because of my differences.

Along the way, I learned how much, one-person can make a life-changing impact for another person. My friends, my teachers and my family, made the difference for me. And I am forever grateful, and ever-eager to give back.


GOALS AND PURPOSE IN LIFE:

So, it’s no surprise, I dreamt of a career of helping others, and paying-it-forward.

In the upper school, I enjoyed electives like “Anatomy and Physiology” and “Intro to Psychology.” I dreamt of becoming a doctor or psychologist.

So, when I went off to college, I registered for the courses in sciences and psychology. But it wasn’t what I expected! I didn’t enjoy the course material and by all measures, I failed the class. Suddenly, I was confronted by the fact that my dream of becoming a doctor or psychologist wasn’t looking likely. I was back to square-one. I wondered, and I feared:

What course of study was right for me?

What career should I pursue?

Was I going to be a failure?

It was then, I remembered geometry, gym class and the many times I struggled and even failed tests. In fact, it got so rough, there was a time in Hewitt middle school when we were considering whether Hewitt was the best place for me. Needless to say - I dug deeper, and found resources and success I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Sometimes, failure is like that: it forces you to dig deeper than you think you can. To tap into a reservoir of otherwise untapped power and ability. So, following my “failed attempt” with the sciences and psychology, I pivoted to linguistics and language disorders. These classes interested me, I enjoyed the material and I was excited by the career of speech language pathology. I declared my major in Speech Language Pathology. I graduated Marymount Manhattan College with my BA in Speech Language Pathology and thought to myself, grad school is the next step in my path to career success.

Well… I was in for a big surprise.

I succeeded in receiving admission to graduate school at Lehman College, AND coursework continued to be of-interest, AND even I performed well on coursework, BUT... the clinical practicum was really challenging for me. As hard as

I tried, I wasn’t finding my way and I wasn’t meeting my professors’ expectations. I tried my hardest the first time, and even after failing my practicum, I tried again, repeating the practicum a second time, and failing again. Double fail.

I realized I wasn’t able to succeed in the training - and the graduate program wasn’t a good fit for me. So I made the difficult decision to accept my failure, and I terminated my studies in Speech Language Pathology. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t a bright time for me. At this point, I had failed in my first pursuit of medicine and psychology. And now I had also failed in my pursuit to speech language pathology. 2 strikes. I didn’t know what to do. What kind of future was in-store for me? I was a flurry of ideas, doubts and challenges during this time.


STARTING D&A:

And then, a few experiences coincided:

1. My friend Valentine was creating a website for her nutrition practice.

2. And I was discussing my situation with a friend who is a speech therapist, and he suggested there might be a way to “give back,” doing meaningful work, making a difference and really achieving everything I wanted to achieve as a speech language pathologist - even if I wasn’t going to be a speech language pathologist.

And from these different experiences, conversations and insights, Different and Able was born in the fall of 2017.

I decided to use social media and a website to provide support and resources for people with “differences.” My passion grew; I invested more and more time collecting resources and personal stories; meeting leading professionals and celebrities; and starting a proper non-profit organization to grow Different and Able. My failures. My “near strike-out” actually laid the foundation for my foundation.

Through the Different & Able Foundation I am:

  • Empowering people who live with physical, learning, speech, emotional and medical differences;

  • Offering hope and inspiration, professional resources and a community of ongoing support;

  • Building a more diverse and tolerant community, with bridges of access for all people, irrespective of the differences in their abilities.

The website will launch soon. For now, you can follow-us on Instagram @differentandable

Now you see, I may have failed courses but I learned many lessons. I learned to reach high. I learned to work hard, and then when it gets tough… work harder. I learned to listen to myself. And I learned to lean-on others and listen to others’ journeys. And I learned that when you reach your limits, that’s where the real growth begins.

At my Hewitt graduation, I remember the speech delivered by Carolynn Erisman, the then Assistant Head of School. She called it: “Life is not a straight line”. Life isn’t a linear equation. It isn’t a straight line from here to who you become. Lean-into-it.

As the saying goes: “You may try and fail. Just make sure, you don’t fail to try!”

And if you do try, I promise you will find your meaning and purpose. And when you do, and whatever you become, come back to Hewitt to share your story so some 12th grade girls, and even younger ones, can learn from your life journey and find what path they choose to try.

VIDEO: True Stuttering Courage with George Springer

George Springer has earned the MVP award in Major League Baseball - but he's also earned our respect for his consistent courage as an articulate spokesman and stand-out role-model for kids and young people who stutter.

 

His power, speed and defensive prowess are something to be marveled. As Jen Lada reports, it is his courage, character and fearlessness that have truly made an impact in the lives of those who stutter.

 
The game allowed me to be who I am
— George Springer