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The residue of stuttering pseudoscience continues to thrive…

I ran across an interesting blogpost by a ’40-something professor’ that totally pins the pseudoscience on (Wendell) Johnsonian (diagnosogenic) stuttering theory and pediatric stuttering treatment.  (i.e., just ignore it because it’ll go away on it’s own)  Amazing how a non-SLP-professional can easily point out the flaws of our field…yet our field continues to chug merrily along under the guise of ‘success’.

In essence, the source article talks about how ignoring a behavior (such as stuttering) is a great way to treat the behavior (such as stuttering).  After all, it works some 80% of the time, right? And if they’re still stuttering around age 6, then you can do something about it then.  *smacks forehead* The field of SLP has largely supported this tripe for decades, even though we’ve had data for over 10 years that clearly states differently (Yairi et al., 1996).

The area of stuttering is devoid of true science.  Sometimes I wonder why I even bother…

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  1. Pamm
    March 31st, 2009 at 19:31 | #1

    You bother because you care!


    Greg @ Stuttering.me Reply:

    Ugh! I just wish I had better and more exciting things to report!


  2. Sandra
    April 1st, 2009 at 14:01 | #2

    My very highly verbal two year old started stuttering this weekend. It’s severe, with frequent total blockages. She’s incredibly frustrated and has already chosen to cut the amount she speaks to about 25%.
    Can you point me to good information and resources?
    Thanks so much.


    Greg @ Stuttering.me Reply:

    Hi Sandra,

    There are a few really good studies on this kind of thing; I may be able to email them to you if I get an email. (You can contact me by my email/username; just make sure you delete the spaces.) Somewhat antithetically, the severity and frequency of stuttering at onset is not a predictive variable towards persistence or recovery.

    In any event, you’ve basically got 2 or 3 therapy options; but at age 2–I’d probably suggest indirect treatment, such as time-outs and reducing the linguistic complexity.

    There’s really too much to discuss over email; the best thing to do is to contact a qualified SLP in your area that knows pediatric stuttering. You can go to the Stuttering Foundation of America and search out the referral page. When you have some to choose from in your area, ask them how they’ve integrated the Yairi, 1996 data into their clinical decision-making re: the onset of stuttering. If they give you a coherent answer, they’re good. If they can’t–then hang up on them…


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