Friday, July 01, 2005

First day of ODC

I am writing directly from the Oxford Dysfluency Conference - live coverage so to speak from St Catherine's College. I was nice to meet up again with old friends. This morning was mostly key note speeches and in the afternoon three parallel sessions. I have been speaking with many people.

First, Ruth Watkins spoke about language ability and whether it is related to stuttering/recovery or not. I am a bit suspicious about the research methodology. The language ability was computed from speech sample, so I am wondering whether it really reflect the true language abilities of the kids or whether it is distorted due to the (expected) disfluencies. For example, kids might on purpose use grammatically simpler sentences as it makes speaking easier, or kids might on purpose use grammatically more difficult sentences to avoid certain words? I believe that the language abilities should be deduced from non-speech related tests. In any case, they did not find any clear differences...

Second, Scott Yaruss gave a talk. He is a good public speaker, in fact he should have become a TV preacher!! :-) The talk's contents was OK, but very general and not very specific. So hardly a scientific talk...

Ehud Yairi talked about genetics of stuttering. It is quite exciting what they found. I was quite happy to hear some signal on chromosone 12, but then he said that there is also on chromosome 13, 2, and more.... And the genes have not been identified yet, so there might be different subtypes genetically speaking. He also admitted that he does not completely understand what the geneticists in the team did. I think he should have spent more time understanding it properly.

I also went to another genetics talk, which I found much clearer. I missed part of it, because I fell asleep!!

OK. I am off to bed.

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