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Archive for February, 2009

And the greatest of these is Pseudoscience

February 28th, 2009 No comments

This is a real gem of a post.  It’s written by someone with a self-professed PhD, and describes (at some length) the general perspective behind the neurosemantics pseudoscientific perspective.  The thing that made me physically laugh out loud on this one is that he’s citing W. Johnson’s “research” on native American reservations–theory being that if the native Americans did not have a word for stuttering, then stuttering would not exist in their culture; thus, there would be no native Americans who stutter.  So if anyone wants to go out and “prove” their theory–they will, truth be damned.  And this is exactly what happened; he “proved” his theory and it even got published.

Unfortunately, his “reserach” no where near resembled reality.  Not only were there words for stuttering in these languages/cultures, there were stutterers as well.  On the reservation.  At the same time as W. Johnson.

Tragically, Dr. L. Michael Hall is making the same public pseudoscientific error as his snake-oil predecessors.  Dogmatic Deductive Thinking.  (Since I believe or “know” that my central tenet is the “truth”, let me “prove” it by finding supporting evidence.)  The funny part in all of this is that the “supporting evidence” is known to be patently false.  But don’t let that stop you!

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Steven on Stuttering: On Parental Support

February 28th, 2009 No comments

Steven on Stuttering has quickly become on of my favorite stuttering blogs.  Consistently great content with excellent emotional intelligence.  This post discusses (at least in part) the importance of a stuttering support system–particiularily that of one’s parents.

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On the “some of the time / all of the time” myth…

February 28th, 2009 No comments

One of the things that can mess w/ the minds of those who stutter is the illusion of control.  We seem to be able to influence or control stuttering *some* of the time.  And since speech is something so simple, so easy, that anyone can do it… if we can do it *some* of the time, we ought be able to do it *all* of the time, right?  Here’s a post, written by a PWS, that (in his words) cites this very myth. If I can be “fluent” some of the time, then I ought be able to do it all of the time.  But since I cannot be “fluent” all of the time, I must be a failure as a person. The core of this myth is the belief that stuttering is either a psychological problem (i.e., anxiety / character flaw) or a speech-motor problem (if I can make 5 free-throws in basketball,  I ought be able to go 95 out of 100).  Both of these perspectives are flawed.

For me, it’s much better to realize that this thing stuttering offers us the illusion of control.  Therefore, this some/all of the time myth becomes moot.  Stuttering is a neurophysiological state, and like other neuropathologies, it is variable.  The act of stuttered speech is not the pathology, but rather the body’s response to the neurophysiological stuttering phenomenon.

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Pam’s post on perfectionism

February 28th, 2009 No comments

Pam posts another post on her blog, where she discusses the role of perfectionism in her life.  These are her experiences, and are absolutely valid and pertinent relative to her life and living with stuttering.

But on a professinal note, the association between stuttering and perfectionism concerns me quite a bit.  There is at least one SLP (having a PhD, inexplicably) who is actually going around citing that ‘perfectionism’ is the root cause for stuttering.  (Her “reserach” consists of a 10 question survey; very rigorous indeed.)  The very dangerous facet of this pseudoscience is that it’s further supporting the prejudice that stuttering is, at its core, a psychological problem.  A character flaw within the person.  And nothing could be further from the truth.  No, a 10 question survey cannot solve the ‘mystery’ of stuttering, nor can it decipher causal relationships.  It’s just as easily possible that PWS score a survey a certain way *because* they have lived with stuttering.  In other words, because we (as a people) have gotten our tails beaten by society, we tend to try and push ourselves to perform to the best of our abilities.

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Yet another media personality who stutters

February 28th, 2009 No comments

Ran across this post written by an Australian talk show host who stutters.  Which reminds me of another (NASCAR) sportscast announcer who stutters–discovered by me while watching NASCAR races on TIVO during SLP grad school.  Any others (live) media personalities that stutter?  Feel free to post them in the comments section.

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Episode 29 of the Stuttering.Me micropodcast is up

February 26th, 2009 No comments

Episode 29 is up.  On the raw life experiences found on the internet, and what you can do with stuttering for job interviews.

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New Stuttering Podcast: The stuttering hour with Stuttering Steve and Derek

February 26th, 2009 No comments

How cool is this?  The movement is growing… there’s a new podcast entitled “The stuttering hour with Stuttering Steve and Derek.”  I love it when a plan comes together…

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A study on “Characteristics of disfluency clusters in adults who stutter.” Likely changes nothing…

February 25th, 2009 No comments

I’ve been interested in why people review the motor characteristics of stuttering for quite some time.  It seems that some may feel that the keys of the stuttering phenomenon can be uncovered by such ‘research’.  My view is very different of course, as I am quite confident that we (as a profession) don’t even understand what the motor act of stuttered speech even represents.  What amazes me is that stuttering was ostensibly defined under the auspice of former (failed) theoretical perspectives.  Yet the field of SLP happily continues believing the “definitions” while trying to (at least superficially) reject the entire perspective in which they were derived.  It just seems antithetical to the concept of science and evidence based practice that ASHA and other national SLP organizations profess.  But I digress…  (And yes, this is actually how I think to myself.  This Ivory Tower in which I live feels so very, very comforting…)

Point: The motor act of stuttering does not represent the stuttering pathology.  The motor act of stuttering is not stuttering.  Stuttering is a neurophysiological phenomena; the motor act of stuttering is the body trying to compensate or overcome the neurophysiological stuttered event.  Discuss…

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Students’ perceptions of face-to-face pseudostuttering experience.

February 25th, 2009 No comments

I’ll probably spend some time and read this article, although the abstract doesn’t indicate a paradigm shift anytime soon.  In any event, this is an activity that I impose on my students annually.  Some like about it, and ultimately cheat themselves out of a learning experience.  Others go into it with a bad attidude, only focus on how they’re being “dishonest by pretending to stutter”, and likewise–get nothing out of it.  Yet a handful, a few, go into it with the right perspective; to try and taste the pathology to better understand the lives, experiences and treatments of their clients.  And since a lot of existing reserach says that some 80% of SLP grad students hold negative unfounded stereotypes about stuttering and people who stutter stutterers, I’ve come to accept that getting 1 to 3 good ones out of every class can be a victory. (And since when did PMS get listed on PubMed?  It’s about time…)

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“Beginning to feel rather worthless, and not sure how to handle it…”

February 25th, 2009 No comments

Wow, what a powerful post.  For those that may not know, I used to be faculty at Gallaudet University, which is a university (established by Abraham Lincoln) for the deaf community.  As such, issues surrounding deafness are still very sacred to me–so I was quite floored when I saw my two passions (deafness and stuttering) combined.  And in such a powerful and raw fashion that it cuts to the quick.  This is why I love the Internet; the glimpses of raw humanity: the victories and the challenges.  Definitely worth your time.  There are powerful emotions when one is perceiving that they are losing their voice, as a person.  People who stutter face it; some in the deaf community may face it.  We are not alone.  Yet, I firmly believe that with self-help and self-advocacy, we can most definitely overcome it.

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