Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Our brains are not abnormal but just different? A harmful attitude!

BSA posted a link to a research paper on their website here and added this sentence after a very short description of the research:
In 'research-speak' the authors are talking about 'abnormalities', though BSA holds that our brains aren't 'abnormal' but different.
Our brains are clearly abnormal, in the sense that they are different to the norm. They are not just different, because this typically means that they function well within the normal range and have aspects that are different but which do not impact functioning.

Therefore, BSA (or the person who posted it in the name of the whole BSA) does not represent my view as a person who stutters, and I am confident that many people that stutter and that I know would agree with me. Indeed, the BSA does also not represent the majority view of the stuttering community on this issue, in my view.

In fact, this attitude of telling researchers how to express themselves is making the researchers' life just more difficult and causing real harm as they have to spend valuable time thinking about words rather than about their research and are being forced to use words that do not accurately reflect their thinking just so as not to trigger some people who believe that stutteres are offended when, in my view, most don't care at all and would love to hear the unfiltered words of researchers.

Moreover, this attitude harms people who stutter as it prevents them to face the realities of their brains and creates hostility against researchers as the "bad" people who describe people who stutter in a "wrong and discriminatory way". Quite the opposite is the reality. Researchers care about people who stutter but they also care for their freedom to express themselves as they see fit.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

European Clinical Specialization Course on Fluency Disorders

The European Clinical Specialization Course on Fluency Disorders is a one-year program - compatible with the workload of an SLT - for speech-language therapists wanting to become European Fluency Specialists. It consists of 25 credits (ECTS). Graduates of this course will distinguish themselves by their outstanding ability, in-depth knowledge and expertise in the field of fluency disorders. The program provides specialist knowledge and skills, that can be recognized by your local professional body as important criteria leading to clinical specialization.

The program is run by a consortium consisting of 16 partners (universities, colleges, specialized centers) from 9 European countries and will start its tenth course cycle in September 2017.

We would like to inform you that registration for the 1718-course cycle and pre-registration for the 1819-course cycle are open. (For the 1718-cycle only a few places are still available) 

The application procedure can be found here.

The ECSF consortium

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Firing of veteran NIH scientist prompts protests over publication ban

A very sad story. A senior researchers got fired because he did not adhere to the very strict and often completely uselees but politically correct procedures. Result: the valid experimental data (on stuttering!) cannot be used in a scientific publication and the junior researchers face professional disaster under the "publish or perish" doctrine. Nan and Jerry asked for sanity for the sake of research.

Read here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Latest review on genetics research

If you want to read the latest review on genetics and stuttering, you should read this Open Access article by Drayna and  Frigerio-Domingues.

Drayna is team leader at NIH for genetics of stuttering.

[Thanks to Ora for the tip]

Saturday, January 21, 2017

We do not need a witch hunt against those that mock our stuttering!


I am shocked to read that

A Starbucks barista has been suspended from their job after apparently ‘humiliating’ a man with a speech impediment by writing his name as ‘RRR…ichard’ on his order.
I certainly do not want that the person loses his job.

I suggest that that person and the person who got mocked meet and they talk through it.

But I also suggest that we stutterers should learn not to be offended by every little politically incorrect word or action that people who have no clue do. Change yourself and you will be Zen, and most importantly, you will have the strength to give the person useful feedback.

And I suggest that the BSA (British Stammering Association) should not become like an inquisition and change its tone to "many people are unaware of the issues faced by people who stutter but we are against punishing someone but in favour of them meeting up with people who stutter to understand their perspective."

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Nan's Fluency Bank


Check out the Fluency Bank!
FluencyBank is a shared database for the study of the development of fluency in both normal and disordered populations. Support comes from NIH Grant 1R01DC015494; P.I.s are Nan Bernstein-Ratner (University of Maryland) and Brian MacWhinney (Carnegie Mellon University) . Participants include normally-developing monolingual and bilingual children, children with disfluencies (CWD), adults with disfluencies (AWSD, and second language learners. Researchers and clinicians studying fluency who are interested in joining the consortium should read the Ground Rules and then request a username and password by sending email to nratner@umd.edu with contact information and affiliation.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Stuttering in advertising



Joe Gill writes to me:
Growing up with a stammer and studying to go into the Graphic Design industry I found that nearly all advertising aimed towards stammering was either very condescending or just outright bad design. I tried to tackle this with a design of a poster advertising campaign for 'The Starfish Project'.
What's your opinion? I really like the texts as they get to the heart of what it is like to be a person who stutters.

Here is an article on his work.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The new treatment approach: Stutter Pride

Here is what I recently read in a document need for damage control resulting from strong debates between various teams (fluency shapists, stuttering modifiers, and "stutter pride" proponents).

Until recently, we had two approaches: fluency shaping (learn how to speak in a new and more fluent way) and stuttering modification (learn how to modify your stuttering for the better).

Now, we have in analogy to Gay Pride, Stutter Pride. You say: it's OK that I stutter, actually it is not only OK, it's great because it makes me special and we should tell the world that we are proud to be stutterers. The approach is clear: define-away the problem. Just declare that there is no problem, or at the very least that this difference to the norm is no issue at all and it's society and the affected person brainwashed by society to set those norms. And in a second step, unleash political correctness on your enemies, because everyone who declares that fluent speech is the norm and that they do not like to listen to people who stutter, are stutter-phobes (in analogy to homophobes) is an enemy