The Accident of Stammering

Models and Metaphors   Bit by bit, humans make models of the world to try and make sense of it. This is as true for disability as it is for astrophysics or evolutionary biology. In my contribution to Stammering Pride and Prejudice, I outlined just four ways that disability has been modeled: “a cosmic sign … read more…

Stuttering and the social model

Having presented together at the online Oxford Dysfluency Conference in January 2021, we were delighted when our article Stuttering and the social model was accepted for publication in a Special Issue of the Journal of Communication Disorders in February 2022. In accord with Elsevier’s post-print policy, please find the article here: Stuttering and the social model … read more…

Reflections on Neurodiversity and Stuttering

Learnings from the 2019 Annual Conference of the National Stuttering Association of the USA In 2019 I was surprised to receive an invitation to address the annual  pre-conference of the National Stuttering Association of America (NSA). To this day, when it comes to neurodivergent conditions, people tend to think of Autism, ADHD, the Dys “sisters”, Lexia, … read more…

Acts of resistance: how one speech and language therapist found a new tribe

What happens when we view speech and language therapy for children who stutter as a celebration of difference rather than a process of chasing fluency? Is it possible to throw a party announcing we stutter, loud and proud? About three years ago I sat in a room with six 10 and 11 year old boys … read more…

Stammering: Difference Not Defect

Having presented together at the online Oxford Dysfluency Conference in January 2021, we wrote up the talk for publication. In accord with Elsevier’s pre-print policy, please find the article here: Stammering – Difference Not Defect We hope that this enables broader access to our talk and write up, and that it also encourages an ongoing … read more…

We need to talk about therapy for children who stammer: a new approach

In the previous blog post, ‘We need to talk about therapy for children who stammer’ (March, 2019) we argued against traditional, medical model practices which perceive stammering as un-natural or disordered, and focus on eradicating or diminishing stammering. We argued for a new, consistent approach to support children who stammer in their early years; one … read more…

Reflecting on the power behind language

Working as a speech and language therapist for over 15 years, I had some awareness of the social model of disability, but it’s fair to say that most of my training taught me to view communication differences from a medical model perspective. There isn’t anything too unusual about this as a speech and language therapist. … read more…

Re-imagining adult stammering therapy

Last year, I went to a talk by Max Gattie on the therapies available to adults who stammer. Max listed the core approaches most people opt for: City Lit, NHS therapy, McGuire and Starfish. I realised, whilst looking at the whiteboard he wrote them on, that they are all informed to some extent by the … read more…

We need to talk about therapy for children who stammer

cut out kids

Childhood stammering therapy has come under less scrutiny than adult stammering therapy from a social model perspective. In this blog, we want to look at how criticisms of the medical model, and the rise of the social model and neurodiversity, may challenge some clinical practices for childhood stammering therapy.

read more…

A Potted Glossary of Speech and Language Therapy

silhouettes

I believe one of the advantages of stammering is the intimate relationship with language it brings. Stammerers think, feel and speak language in a way that is at once broken but at the same time filled with opportunities. Blocking, repeating and word-swapping can all be seen as failures of communication, but they also open up avenues of speech that would in a fluent person go unexplored. Indeed, the multitude of authors who stammer – David Mitchell, John Updike, Lewis Carroll – evidence the unique apprenticeship in language offered by stammering.

It is with this in mind, the importance of words to people who stammer, that I want to begin to reflect on some of the common language we hear in and around speech and language therapy.

read more…