NBA Player Visits EKU Communication Disorders Class

Published on November 30, 2022

By Sarah Bashford

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist visited EKU’s advanced fluency disorders class in the graduate communication disorders program on Oct. 18, 2022, to share his personal journey as someone who stutters. 

Kidd-Gilchrist played college basketball for the University of Kentucky, where he and his teammates won the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament under Coach John Calipari. He then was selected as the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NBA draft by the Charlotte Bobcats and owner Michael Jordan. He has played for several teams in the NBA since 2012. 

Kidd-Gilchrist created his nonprofit, Change & Impact: Voices for Stuttering, with a mission to improve access to healthcare, expand services and provide resources for those who stutter. He is currently on a speakers’ circuit visiting colleges and universities who offer speech-language pathology (SLP) degrees. 

In addition to graduate students in the communication disorders program, other students and faculty joined the class to hear Kidd-Gilchrist talk about his experience with stuttering. 

The presentation resonated with Madison Sharon, a student who struggles with a stutter and plans to become an SLP one day. “He talked about people automatically assuming that you don't know a word because you can't necessarily say it as quickly as everybody else. I can do it. But the best thing anyone can do is just listen,” said Sharon. “I’m going to have a stutter forever and that's okay. It's learning to accept that, but also be willing to fight for what you want to say.”

Kidd-Gilchrist also discussed the importance of the relationship he had with his clinician and how that impacted him more than anything else.

“We were so thrilled and grateful to have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist visit our class and not only share his experiences as a person who stutters, but also share information about how the students can increase awareness and advocate for those who stutter in their future careers in the field of speech-language pathology,” said Charles Hughes, assistant professor in the communication sciences and disorders program. “His talk also highlighted how the therapeutic relationship is so important when working with individuals who stutter in a clinical setting. I know hearing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s story and message will have a great, positive impact on their academic training in the area of stuttering.”

Kidd-Gilchrist shared the goals of his foundations and how he wants to encourage speech-language pathologists to build relationships so that people will find and get services when they're needed. 

In addition to hearing first-hand accounts from speakers, such as Kidd-Gilchrist, students in the graduate communications sciences and disorders program have a unique opportunity to learn about speech-language pathology through education-abroad in London. 

In the movie "The King's Speech," King George VI struggled with stuttering but found his voice through speech therapy services in 1920's London. In the education-abroad program this December, EKU students will explore a variety of historical and contemporary settings of speech-language therapy services, such as the case of King George VI. Through activities, they’ll also learn about therapy practices used in hospitals, schools and care-homes, and compare the role of the National Health Service to the 'open-market' healthcare systems in the United States. Learn more about the communications disorders education-abroad program here.

The fields in communication sciences and disorders are rated in the top healthcare fields with a growing need in coming years. Graduates with a master's degree in communication sciences and disorders can work in various settings with a range of patients across the lifespan. To learn more about EKU’s speech-language pathology programs, visit