The Neurodiversity Paradigm: Shining a light on the problem with normativity, ableism, and the path to neurodivergent-affirming practice

The origins of the ‘normal range’ and the Medical Model In the latter 1800s, Sir Francis Galton, statistician and proponent of eugenics, Darwin’s survival of the fittest and scientific racism, was the first person to apply statistical methods to study human difference, describing the ‘normal distribution’ in human characteristics, determining everything from the average attractiveness … 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…

The Fluency Questionnaire

To celebrate International Stammering Awareness Day 2021 and to contribute to the International Stuttering Association online conference, we developed The Fluency Questionnaire.  Inspired by The Heterosexual Questionnaire attributed to Martin Rochlin (1972), it is based on fluency-phobic premises, rather than the fluency-philic premises currently dominate in today’s society. The Fluency Questionnaire aims to upend the typical dynamics … read more…

A stammer: in a class of its own

I have been wondering of late, what it is about a stammer that seems to rumble the core of the whole communication experience. Compared to other speaking differences, such as speaking fast, hesitating, or needing time to find a word, a stammer above all else sparks stigma. In recent years, emphasis has been placed on … 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…

Power Imbalances and Stuttering: The Double Empathy Problem

Perspective-taking – the cognitive ‘deficit’ in autism: Professionals have characterized autistics as having impaired Theory of Mind – the ability to imagine the feelings and thoughts of others in order to comprehend and predict their behavior (Baron-Cohen, 1997). It is also called “perspective taking”, and can explain to neurotypical people why an autistic does not … read more…

Why Stutter More?

To celebrate International Stammering Awareness Day 2020, J&R Press have kindly released Emma Alpern’s exquisite chapter “Why stutter more?” from ‘Stammering Pride and Prejudice: Difference not Defect‘. You can read the chapter for free here. Enjoy! If this chapter resonates and leaves you hungry to read more, a Kindle version of ‘Stammering Pride and Prejudice: Difference not … read more…

Stammering and autism

Intersectionality is an interesting concept. When you think about it, you think of two, unrelated things intersecting in unexpected ways. When people think of intersectionality, you think of the black male saying he knows everything about racism and the white female saying she knows everything about sexism, while the African American woman is standing there … read more…