Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Michael Mills

Mills' response to his Crackpot Award shows how ignorant he is about the science behind stuttering. He is treating people who stutter, and he should at the very least be up-to-date with the current understanding on stuttering.

stutterers do not block when speaking out loud alone in a room - that is an objective fact - it is true for all the thousands of people who stutter that I have come into contact with - and it is true for all the fluent speakers who, when asked to give a public speech, panic (i.e. alone in a room they can give a great speech - but when giving the same speech in front of people they panic and block) - why is it so? Alone in a room fluent - explain it in other terms apart from social panic - that is your challenge - if you have the courage for it - or are you going to revert to your evasions of attacking the person rather than debating the concept
You are mixing two things here: the observation that stutterers have few blocks when alone, and the interpretation of this observation. Your interpretation (1) is that social panic causes the block, because that is what we sometimes see in other people. And further you say that this developed in childhood due to bad
experience(s). However, there are other interpretations: (2) the speech system in people who stutter is very neurologically unstable (like a bad transport system) and a social situation is more demanding (the brain needs to work more) which leads to more blocking in social situations (like there is more traffic jam on Monday than Sunday), (3) stutterers have an unstable speech system and therefore they also develop social anxiety linked to certain situations because they stuttered in those situations before.

So why is your interpretation 1) correct? How do you know that it is not 2) or 3)?

TOM: Who defined stuttering like this? And based on which arguments?
Based on an objectively observable fact - people who stutter do not block when speaking out loud alone in a room

You write "Stuttering is now defined as a social panic disorder". You actually mean "According to me and to no-one else, stuttering is a social panic disorder because" See above the explanation of why this is not true, but social panic can be an aspect of stuttering.

TOM: How does genetics fit in here?
Social panic and fear is not genetic it is created by value systems - i.e. it is learnt

You completely misunderstood the question. Why? Because you have no clue that several research studies have clearly shown a genetic component to stuttering. Stuttering often runs in families. There are physical genes that increase the likelihood of people starting to stutter. How does this fact fit into your theory? Ehud Yairi reports.

TOM: What about brain imaging work showing differences in young kids and adults?
I am aware that the child and adult brains are different - your point being?

You completely misunderstood the question. Why? Because you have no clue that tens of research articles have clearly shown that the brain of stuttering are functioning in a different way and have structural abnormalities as compared to fluent adults. The same was found in stuttering kids compared to fluent kids. How does this fit into your theory? Kate Watkins explains.

To summarise, you are unaware of the stuttering research literature, and you commit the fallacy that if a theory fits an observation it must be the right one.

Stop telling people what stuttering is about. Yes, you can work on social anxiety and it will help many, but you will not cure them because stuttering is caused by social anxiety. Social anxiety is a symptom of an underlying neurological issue.


Satyendra said...

Good debate. Stutterers have been taken for a ride by many such well meaning but poorly informed people...

Dave Rowley said...

A fundamental problem seems to me to be that many people can't distinguish between a cause and a trigger!

Mark B. said...

I'm a 55 year old life-long stutterer and I stutter when I'm alone. So much for that assertion.