Stuttering support group formed by SLP students

Dr. Tellis poses with Terry Murgallis.
The Department of Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) at Misericordia University will be the first in the region to start an onsite support group for people who stutter. The inaugural meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in the 2nd floor lobby of John J. Passan Hall, College of Health Sciences, 100 Lake St., on the lower campus. Future meetings will also be scheduled.

According to Misericordia University student coordinator Terry Murgallis, a small group of students began to meet informally about two years ago and recently decided to open their sessions to other people across northeastern Pennsylvania who also are afflicted with stuttering. The group plans to hold monthly meetings.

Murgallis, a sophomore speech-language pathology major from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., began coming to the Misericordia University Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic for speech therapy when he was in high school. He says it was the first time he had ever spoken to another person who stuttered. He is one of the organizers behind the expansion of the support group. “It is great to be able to talk about my stuttering in an environment where people understand,” Murgallis says. “It gives me peace of mind to know that I am not the only one facing this type of challenge.”

Murgallis adds that he chose to enroll in Misericordia’s five-year master’s degree program in SLP, with the hope of helping others with similar speech and language issues.

“I am very proud of these students for being willing to open up their group to those outside the campus community,” adds Glen Tellis, Ph.D., professor and chair of the SLP program and a board recognized fluency specialist and mentor. “It will be the only stuttering support group located in northeastern Pennsylvania. There are more formally organized groups hosted by The National Stuttering Association in Pennsylvania and across the country, but the closest ones to us are located in the Philadelphia, Lancaster and State College areas, each approximately two hours away.”

According to The Stuttering Foundation website, “Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions, prolongations, or abnormal stoppages of sounds and syllables often accompanied by unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak.” More than 3 million Americans stutter, including Vice President Joseph Biden, well-known actors Emily Blunt, Nicole Kidman, Bruce Willis and James Earl Jones, newscaster John Stossel, and NBA-legend turned sportscaster Bill Walton.

For more information about the Misericordia University Stuttering Support Group, please contact Donna DiBlasi, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, Misericordia University, at (570) 674-6724 or email