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NBA Veteran Michael Kidd-Gilchrist visits Idaho State University Meridian to share personal journey with stuttering

November 8, 2023

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist watches a young boy who uses an augmentative and alternative communication device play basketball at the ISU Meridian Speech Language clinic

Gilchrist emphasizes the trusted and valued relationship between a speech-language pathologist and a person who stutters.

NBA veteran, University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Champion, and stuttering advocate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist visited the Idaho State University Meridian campus on Monday, October 16 to present on the trusted and valued relationship between a speech-language pathologist and a person who stutters. He also shared the focus of his non-profit organization, Change & Impact, which works to improve access to health care and expand services and resources for those who stutter. Graduate students within the Speech-Language Pathology program’s Dysfluency Course in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, along with members from the stuttering community, were in attendance to visit with Kidd-Gilchrist and hear his inspirational story.  

“It was exciting to get out for a visit to Idaho State to meet future speech-language pathologists who are so passionate about getting involved in this field,” said Kidd-Gilchrist.  “I remember a time when I didn’t want anyone to know about my stutter.  When I entered speech therapy at the University of Kentucky, I told my therapist that I didn’t want anyone to know,” he said.  “Today, I see my stutter as a gift that I have embraced and I want to help others who stutter and those who are getting into the field of speech-language pathology.”

Known for his basketball career, Kidd-Gilchrist has also stuttered his entire life.  In 2020, while spending time in the NBA ‘bubble’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, he began reflecting on his own personal journey as a person who stutters.  He considered how to turn his experience into meaningful work that could help others.  In 2021, he founded Change & Impact, Inc., to advocate, educate, and raise awareness about stuttering.  Kidd-Gilchrist regularly speaks at universities, hospitals, stuttering camps, and support groups; advocates at the federal and state level to improve access to health care; hosts career fairs for adults who stutter, continuing education programs for established SLP’s, and special events for children who stutter and their families, SLPs, and educators.

After visiting with students, Kidd-Gilchrist then met with several clients in the ISU Meridian Speech-Language Clinic and spent time with a young boy who uses an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device who also happens to love basketball.  At the end of his visit, Kidd-Gilchrist answered questions from students and visited with faculty members outside the CSD department in Meridian as well.

“Michael is a very humble person with an amazing story to tell and learn from,” says Gabe Bargen, executive director for ISU’s Meridian campus and audiology professor. “Michael is working on writing and proposing legislation for expanding reimbursement coverage for dysfluency diagnosis and treatment for all. Costs for dysfluency services are historically not reimbursed by insurance and the condition is not well recognized as a supported diagnosis by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, so we are thrilled to join Michael in this important endeavor.”

Kidd-Gilchrist hopes to return to Idaho again and tentative plans for him to visit the Pocatello campus in the spring are in progress.  For media inquiries about Change & Impact, Inc. or interview requests contact Kristen Peifer at (703) 626-0032 or kmpeifer@gmail.com.


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