Maartje served on the ISA Board in 2011 and from 2013 to 2014.
Maartje was born and raised in the south of the Netherlands, in a family where stuttering wasn’t uncommon. With a father and a brother who were dealing with the same issues, Maartje grew up in a home where stuttering was a well discussed problem.
After years of therapy, she decided at the age of 21 that enough was enough. All through high school, stuttering was an obvious problem, but when she started her college education, it became a paralyzing speech disorder.
She took matters into her own hands and she found a therapy that actually helped her move on from all the negative thoughts. Around that time, she came in contact with the Dutch Stuttering Association Demosthenes. She started a youth department for young adults between 18 and 30, a group that needs a lot of attention. From 2003 till 2009, she organised a lot of events and weekends for these young people. In 2003, she also took part in an ELSA meeting, where young people learn to get a voice for people who stutter in Europe.
In the meantime, she finished college with a dentist degree in 2007 and has been working since than as a fulltime dentist. Besides this busy and demanding job, she took place in the board of her National Stuttering Association Demosthenes in 2008.
At first, the youth department and the organisation of activities was the biggest part of her tasks, but since 2010, she also has the position of Public Relations-board member. She has had more than enough training concerning media and PR, for she has been in two short films about stuttering, countless interviews for newspapers and magazines and a few radio broadcasts. All this was meant to make the Netherlands more aware of stuttering.
After participating in the ISA World congress for PWS in Croatia in 2007, Maartje only wants to do more for the community of PWS worldwide. The year 2010 was partially used for preparations for the World congress for PWS in 2013, which will be held in the Netherlands. She is chair of this event.