Monday, January 10, 2011

Revolutionary mood at BBC call-in

Check out this emotionally very powerful and liberating BBC radio call-in on stuttering: here. I have never heard so many people stutter on national radio. Especially the stories on how stuttering has affected their lives will change the attitude on stuttering of the listeners forever. There was a sense of revolution in the air: we will speak despite and we will speak out. Big thanks to the BBC and the host who has allowed people who stutter to stutter so publicly. Funnily, the host himself had hesitant speech. He even said that he got into speaking trouble giving a eulogy for a friend who died at his funeral! I mean who wouldn't stutter there!

Just one tiny little point. ;-) The audience kept on talking about handedness, to which Leys Geddes, BSA chair, said that there is no research confirmation. I don't think that gets people's mind changed. I always say: Really? So how come millions who changed hands did not start stuttering. And millions who did not change hands started stuttering. Leys also said that it might have triggered stuttering. I don't buy that either, in the sense that without a change they would not have stuttering. BUT, the audience might be right about their observation. There is one theory that left-handed is due to problems in the development of the embryo. Also, left-handedness has a different brain organisation. So I would speculate that left-handedness might be a moderate risk factor, which coincides with a hand change because only left-handed people had to change hands! So not hand change causes stuttering, but left-handedness causes stuttering and hand change! Subtlety kills the cat (and many others).

And Leys again said: "Early intervention will reduce the number of kids who stutter". I don't buy that either. Let's assume all stuttering is genetic. So how can early intervention EVER reduce the kids who stutter, they always will have their genes. Early intervention can only shape their psychosocial adjustment, but not push the recovery rate into higher territories.


Ora said...

The audience kept on talking about handedness

Reportedly,that's what even the Queen believes.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine, who lives in London, attended a reception where the Queen was in attendance. He was fortunate to be able to speak with her briefly.

He's a stutterer, and the topic of stuttering (stammering) arose. The Queen said, "You know, my father was a stammerer. He was left-handed, but he was forced to switch at a young age." My friend was bold enough to respond, "With all due respect, Ma'am, the current science no longer supports this as an explanation for stammering."

He was afraid she'd say "Take him to the Tower!" or "Off with his head!" But fortunately he was allowed to keep his life. The Queen's reply was not reported.

John said...

About the issue of handedness, I believe there may be something in it.
I was naturally left-handed, but was forced to use my right hand when I was 5 years old. And I stutter. A few years ago, there was a discussion about this in our stuttering support group, and of the 15 people in attendance, 9 of us were naturally left-handed, but "corrected" at an early age.

Perhaps some types of stuttering are a consequence (either directly or indirectly) of brain lateralization. There has been talk of this for centuries, yet research into stuttering has been at a standstill for decades, so we still have no clue ... all we can say (as usual) are things like "there is no research confirmation".

Anonymous said...

Maybe there is something to handedness and during genetic/brain imaging studies right handed and left handed people (stuttering people and non-stuttering controls) are considered separately to make it easier to resolve a right or left handed subtype.

Ora said...

John wrote: "yet research into stuttering has been at a standstill for decades"

That's not accurate. There's been considerable research into stuttering, and it continues. Depending on what you're interested in, you may not be satisfied with the results. But there's been quite a lot of research, and a lot more is known about stuttering now than decades ago.

For a start, check: and click on "Research on Stuttering"

Google "stuttering research"

PubMed and enter "stuttering".

Stuttering Foundation of America -

Pam said...

I recently conducted a wonderful podcast episode with a woman from Canada, who stutters. She and her family are originally from Pakistan. She too reports that she was left-handed, and that her dad forcibly required her to learn to use her right-hand. In our conversation, she pondered that as a possible correlation to when her stuttering started.

Leys Geddes said...

That BBC phone-in didn't just happen, Tom. BSA Patron, Jon Smith, who knows Nicky Campbell, kindly arranged for us to see Nicky in December. We reckoned he was the ideal media guy for us, even though he doesn't stammer, because he's intelligent, provocative and a great supporter of underdogs. So I had the opportunity to give him a thorough briefing and, as a result of this, listeners obviously felt that he understood and this was not going to be another of those superficial, throw-away, media jobs. So after Jon and I had done an interview earlier, I asked Nicky if I could join him for the hour-long phone-in, because I thought it might encourage other stammerers to ring. Like you, I was astonished to hear so many stammerers on air. Even more amazing, though, was at the end of the hour, there were enough people waiting on the phones to have filled another hour of programming. So this whole event was a great tribute to Nicky's supportive attitude and his very natural blend of enthusiasm and professionalism.

Anonymous said...

That sly-ass interviewer was a covert stutterer, goddammit! xD
And annoying as hell, too, how he kept cutting people off and jutting in with questions . . . very unprofessional. But cool to see the continued exposure of stuttering to the mainstream. Keep at it!

Anonymous said...

The audio file is no longer online, can someone give another link, I would like to listen to it?