Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Crackpot award for Jerry Halvorson

I received emails from Jerry from, and as you can see below he is propagating statements about stuttering that is not supported by hard evidence and has no intention to change his mind. As I have done in the past, I am rigorously exposing such people. (I am not saying he is a bad person intentionally, but he clearly has a responsibility of checking facts before "educating" people who stutter.) I give him my crackpot award: see here.

Hi Tom,
Noticed your blog…thought you might benefit from reading my new book on stuttering, Regression Therapy For Stuttering. Check out my website for details

Hi Jerry,
>>> The wrong word, spoken at the right time to a vulnerable child can be devastating. People who develop speech avoidance are victims of accumulated traumas that are shuttled into hiding.
1) How do you explain that genetics research has shown that genes contribute about 70% to the occurence of stuttering. For example, twins which share the same genes (monozygotic twins) are 3-4 times more likely to stutter both than dizygotic twins?
2) How do you explain that the vast majority of kids who experience trauma do not become stutterers?

Hi Tom,
Great questions…ones asked often…Short answer=all depends upon STUTTERING DEFINITION
Jerry Halvorson

Hi Jerry,
sorry but that answer is not good enough for me. So what is your definition of stuttering?
You also claim that the Monster Study has caused children to stutter. This is factually not correct as the claimants of the compensation trial were rewarded damages not for existing stuttering but for psychological trauma and others.
Best wishes,

Hi Tom,
My book, Regression Therapy For Stuttering, will answer your questions.

Hi Jerry,
With all respect, but that is a very cheap answer and you are avoiding the answer which of course you cannot have because what you say is not supported by evidence. You should be more careful what you write, because there are many real people out there who suffer from their stuttering and it is my duty to present them with hard evidence. Stuttering is not caused by traumatic events in childhood. That is the opinion of all leading therapists and scientists.

-no more emails-


Adrian said...

Tom, these Crackpot awards are my favorite part of your blog! I have never heard of this Halverson guy, but he seems to be a worthy recipient. It is a red flag when someone responds to a question with "read my book." It normally means they don't have an answer.

I'm looking forward to your next award winner.

Adrian said...

Also, it is apparent Jerry made no effort to look over your blog before emailing you. If so, he would have realized this is the wrong place for someone with his antiquated views.

Anonymous said...

With much appreciation from a parent--just like with autism, stuttering should not be attributed to parenting either.

Greg said...

What time is it?
You'll find the answer in my book.

Should I wear my brown jacket today?
This is such a silly question. Buy my book.

Why should I listen to you? Is it because you have a book?
That's a great question. Why don't you buy my book and find out?

...but in all seriousness, the thing that annoys me most about such snake-oil salesmen is their very premise--which is that we're so dumb and inadequate (and incapable of taking care of ourselves) that people can offer us utterly bad thought and theory to "save us".

Few things are more patronizing.

Anonymous said...

I am a former client of Halvorson's, and I owe every ounce of confidence in my speech today to Jerry's therapies. Regardless of whether his opinion on the genesis of stuttering is correct, he is a talented therapist. To award a "Crackpot" award takes away from the professionalism of your site. Parents hate to hear that they are the cause, and love to hear that it is genetic. Therapists just keep telling them what they want to hear, and maybe they sign up for more and more therapy sessions with their child.

Anonymous said...

Tom -
I am hoping you do not delete this submission to your blog. I understand that this is a possibility, but I am hopeful you will not delete it.

I was made aware of your blog by a number of people who stutter and therapists working with people who stutter that have had the most positive benefit of working with Dr. Jerome Halvorson.

After reading your Original Post and 4 of 5 comments, I was moved to respond to your blog "Crackpot Award for Jerry Halvorson".

Responding to your post and the comments -- emotionally -- I can only say that as a person who stutters, I have never found a more knowledgeable, caring, compasionate or gifted professional when working with children who stutter and their parents, or adults who stutter. Through my eyes as a person who stutters, his "therapist" skills are unequaled by any professional I have worked with or known in my 51 years of being involved in "stuttering". Therapists are - to me - the facilitators, the "straws that stirs the drink" in therapy with stuttering. Halvorson is the best. I know...I am one that he helped when other therapists and their therapies led me to choose silence & shame rather than to stutter. He helped me find my answer. Doesn't sound like you have found yours.

Any one who stutters would be fortunate indeed to have the chance to work with Doc to figure out how to help theirselves...

By the look of your blog, it appears you are a thinking person, big into "research"... My observation of "research" regarding stuttering over the last 60 years is that the professionals engage in "research" to support what they already believe. To me, the "researchers" that are reflected in your blog are legacy building professionals. "Researchers" have got those of us who stutter in the sorry boat we are in. We believe all their BS, when our experiences tell us otherwise. All the "Evidenced Based Research" and resulting "Best Practice" therapies have made the vast majority of us who stutter to choose silence. We who stutter get taken daily by snakeoil researchers and therapists.

Contrary to what you put on your blog, Halvorson is not one of them. Countless PWS and Professionals working with PWS have benefited from working with him. You are - to me and those others - wrong.

Regarding your question about the definition of stuttering...Robert West said in the early 50's "The only one's who need a definition of stuttering are speech & language pathologists and researchers - People who stutter already know what it is." I do not put my faith in "research"... to me, most of it is BS.

What is your definition of stuttering? Do you equate disfluency = stuttering?

BTW - If you cannot afford Doc's book, let me know. I'd be happy to send you a copy. Just let me know...

Last, but not least, Doc is my friend. In all sincerity -- I do hope to meet you one day to have a meaning filled personal interaction with you about the "cheap" idea's you so easily -- and wrongly -- convey regarding a friend.

Michael "Retz" Retzinger

Unknown said...

Hi, I have known Jerry for years. I agree he may be a crackpot about some things, but NOT about stuttering. I have seen the mute and stuttering individuals who have benfitted from his work. He really has changed lives for the better. Can you say the same, Tom?

Anonymous said...

Wow, how ignorant some people can be! I was extremely happy to read the blogs left by Davis, Retz and Karen!! This "Dr." Tom Weidig seems to be a person who must have a stick up his a**! Just because he has a college degree does not mean he knows it all, as he seems to think he does! He could have several degrees and I wouldn't think any differently of him. In all of my years I have never considered stuttering to be a handicap, as he states on his page about himself. Well, maybe he does have a handicap, but I would bet my bottom dollar it is not stuttering! His "think he knows it all attitude will eventually come back around to nip him in the rear and by that time karma is not to far off in the distance and maybe t h e n he will grow up! Do the citizens of the USA a favor and stay put Tom Weidig!