Friday, June 20, 2008

Another example of confused thinking?

Everyone (including myself) repeat the mantra that it is much more difficult for adult stutterers to recover from stuttering, because they have been stuttering for so long and the stuttering has imprinted itself on the brain. I just realised that this statement is a good example of misleading and confused thinking: not completely wrong but also not 100% correct.

Imagine you are a driving instructor who has 100 novice drivers in your class to start with. Over time you sent them to the driving examination according to the level of skills learned. After a few months, you still have a few "resilient" ones that you either haven't sent to the exams yet or that have failed them. Now, surely you wouldn't say that it is difficult to make good drivers out of them because they have been driving badly for so long? You rather say that they have no talent for driving and are the worst talents left from a pool of 100 average novices.

Let's get back to stuttering. How about this simple explanation: Adult stutterers have trouble recovering because they are simply the worst talents left from the pool of kids who stuttered in childhood! They are the ones with the worst underlying issues and/or a brain with low brain plasticity! So they have trouble recovering not because of the long time stuttering but because they are a biased sample, namely the once who were unable to recover in more than 15 years?? Doesn't this make perfect sense?

OK. I am not saying that the "long term" in stuttering does not make it more difficult, but now I strongly believe that the main reason is that we are the worst of the pool!


Anonymous said...

Interesting insight!

As a stutterer I can understand why that gives us hope, but it's funny to see you all excited because hey! We're not doomed! We just suck real bad!

Anonymous said...

The guy holds a PhD in theoretical physics from Durham and a MSc from Imperial College, has his own company and earns much more than the vast majority of fluent speakers.

I think he knows he is not doomed ;-) I suppose he just wanted to share his observations.

The main reason I read his blog is that it discusses interesting theories, presents a state-of-the -art research and there is a total lack of this melodramatic crap "we are not worse than the others". And sometimes there is a really funny stuff :-)


Anonymous said...

I know I'm bad and that compelled me to excel at every job I had because I knew stuttering could take me out. I usually ended up in a position of leadership despite my stuttering and have often thought my life would have ended up mediocre if not for stuttering.

Mike said...

Begs the question of whether stuttering is a curse or a blessing in a disguise doesn't it?

As for the post, it makes sense logistically, but then again there's still so much we don't know.