NBA Player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Speaks with WCU Students on his Personal Journey with Stuttering
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, also known as “MKG,” spoke to students in Professor Jennifer Walsh Means’s graduate Fluency Disorders class at West Chester University on Tuesday, October 5. Kidd-Gilchrist shared his past, present and future journey as a person who stutters with students who may be future speech language pathologists (SLP), and emphasized the importance of the trusted relationship between a person who stutters and their SLP, and introduced the mission of his newly launched foundation, Change & Impact, Inc.
“I’m excited to meet the future SLP’s studying at West Chester University and to share my own personal story with them,” said Kidd-Gilchrist. “At first, I didn’t want anyone to know about my stutter. When I entered speech therapy I told my therapist that I didn’t want anyone to know. Today, I want to share my story and see my stutter as a gift that I have embraced because now I can help others including those who are getting into the field of speech language pathology.”
Kidd-Gilchrist played in the National Basketball Association for the past 12 years, most recently with the New York Knicks. While spending time in the NBA ‘bubble’ in 2020, Kidd-Gilchrist began reflecting on his own personal journey as a person who stutters. He considered how to turn his knowledge and experience into actionable and meaningful ways to help others who stutter. In 2021, Kidd-Gilchrist founded Change & Impact, Inc., a stuttering initiative with a mission to improve access to health care and expand services and resources for those who stutter. Change & Impact, Inc. is focused on raising awareness for stuttering, bringing together key stakeholders to improve the quality of life for those who stutter, and working on behalf of the stuttering community to improve insurance coverage for speech therapy. As an advocate for the stuttering community, Kidd-Gilchrist regularly appears as a guest speaker at colleges and universities across the nation that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in the disciplines of audiology and speech-language pathology. He also makes appearances as a guest speaker at camps and conferences focused on stuttering.
The 33 students in Means’s class listened while Kidd-Gilchrist shared his experiences. Afterward, the students were able to interview Kidd-Gilchrist and ask questions.
Means says, “This was such an opportunity for my students. To hear first-hand from someone who knows what clients need from their therapists is invaluable. Michael spoke about being a good listener. Sharing his story will have an impact on the type of speech language pathologists these students will become. As well, these students can be advocates for the work that Michael is doing in this field.”
Founded in 2021 by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Change & Impact, Inc. is a stuttering initiative with a mission to improve access to healthcare and expand services and resources for those who stutter. In 2020 when spending time in the NBA ‘bubble’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kidd-Gilchrist reflected on his own personal journey as a person who stutters and considered how to turn his knowledge and experience into meaningful ways to help others who stutter. Change & Impact is focused on raising awareness for stuttering, bringing together key stakeholders to improve the quality of life for those who stutter, and working on behalf of the stuttering community to improve insurance coverage for speech therapy.
Enrolling more than 17,000 students, West Chester University is the largest member of the 14-institution Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and is currently celebrating its 150th Anniversary year (www.wcupa.edu/wcu150/). Founded in 1871, the University is a comprehensive public institution, offering a diverse range of more than 200 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 50 fields of study. In addition to the main campus in West Chester, the University offers programs through its graduate center, the campus in Philadelphia, and online. Six colleges and two schools comprise the University: University College, Colleges of Arts and Humanities, Business and Public Management, Education and Social Work, Health Sciences, and the Sciences and Mathematics, as well as the Wells School of Music, and the Graduate School.
CONTACT: Christine Kozsuch, West Chester University 610-436-3384
CONTACT for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Change & Impact, Inc.: Kristen Peifer, email@example.com, 703-626-0032 (cell)