Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I did a recording with StutterTalk and its hosts Peter and Eric. We talked on the neurological basis of stuttering. I am not 100% happy with my performance; too many ideas. I need to focus on an idea at a time, talk less and stutter less! :-)

Anyway, Peter was asking an excellent question regarding my position that stuttering is mostly learned behaviour from an unstable and sensitive speech system most likely due to neurological connectivity issues: I often see kids that started starting a few days ago and they often have already full-blown stuttering symptoms. How can this be learned behaviour? Here is my answer:

a. His experience is consistent with a large scale survey on early childhood stuttering that shows sudden onset of stuttering to be typical. And therefore, it seems unlikely to be just learned behaviours, even though learned behaviours can be learned within days, I guess?

b. I did not actually mean what I said that stuttering is mostly learned behaviour from an unstable and sensitive speech system. I really mean: automatic response and learned behaviours. If you observe stutterers, there are two kinds of behaviours: shared by most stutterers and not shared by most stutters. (In fact it would be interesting to do a study of this. Which symptoms are most shared?) Behaviours shared by most stutterers is mostly likely an automatic response due delayed speech initiation like a long pause, a block, repetition. And then there is learned behaviour like looking down, moving your arm etc. Think of holding your breath: we all react in identical ways, but at the same time we also handle it differently.

Here is what I really mean: there are three types of activities. The internal activity of the brain, the overt automatic response to delayed speech initiation, and learned behaviour associated to stuttering and triggered by events, words, situations, people, etc.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good Luck!