NBA player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shares journey as a person who stutters

Kidd-Gilchrist talk
Photos by Louis Brems

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist discussed his past, present and future journey as a person who stutters as a guest speaker for Kenneth Logan’s “Principles of Speech Pathology: Stuttering” course on December 6.

In his talk, Kidd-Gilchrist emphasized to master’s students in the communication sciences and disorders program the importance of the trusted relationship between a person who stutters and their speech-language pathologist, and introduced the mission of his newly launched foundation, Change & Impact, Inc.

“Michael’s presentation provided my class with the perfect conclusion to our semester,” said Logan, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, an associate professor in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. “He helped the students to hear, firsthand, about the significant challenges that stuttering can present for people during their daily activities. He also helped the students to appreciate the importance of the clinician-client relationship in the therapy process. Michael’s foundation addresses issues that are important to people who stutter, and I look forward to following the work that they do.”

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist next to podium

Kidd-Gilchrist played in the National Basketball Association for the past 12 years. 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, he founded Change & Impact, a stuttering initiative with a mission to improve access to health care and expand services and resources for those 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.

“At first, I didn’t want anyone to know about my stutter,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “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.”

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.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist group photo with class