Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hitten loves us!

I like Hitten's Stuttering Hub. His posts are short, his comments are (mostly) wise and not just empty talk, and he doesn't make the mistake of launching into causal theories of stuttering but focusses on the reaction to (his) stuttering. I recommend his blog to anyone who wants to address the psychosocial aspects of stuttering: the fears, the sense of underachievement, frustration, self-esteem issues, and negative attitude. He also offers free counselling sessions.

If you want to know why Hitten loves us, read his post on attending a 10-day meditation course.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crackpot Award for PARTHA BAGCHI

The StutteringBrain awards a Crackpot Award to PARTHA BAGCHI for his ability to ignore the current scientific understanding of stuttering. Even a quick look at wikipedia gives a better understanding of stuttering. He writes on his website Stammering Cure Centre.
Stammering .. is an acquired behaviour not inherited. 
WRONG. Stuttering runs in families, and about half is due to genes. Moreover, gene mutations have been located, most members in some families are stuttering, and monozygotic twins are more likely to stutter than dizygotic twins.

Here are some of the many causes according to Bagchi.

Some of the causes that lead to the development of stammering are :
1. Childish imitation of other stammerers either in the family or outside;
2. An after effect of certain serious illness such as typhoid, malaria, prolonged fever, convulsion etc;
3. Feeling of insecurity in the early age of school;
4. Strict, rude & rough guardianship;
5. Sudden physical or mental shock;
6. Shy or introvert nature from childhood;
7. Very fast speaking habit;
8. Mal-adjustment between parents;
9. Disturbances and quarrel in the family;
10. If the thought process is very fast;

I am quite busy right now

Some might have wondered why the posts are becoming fewer and less elaborate. The simple reason is that I have a new job (I am employed as an expert to regulate a very big re-insurer, i.e. review their internal mathematical risk models from earthquakes, nuclear incidents, market/credit risk to pandemics plus risk management and governance issues, and I represent Luxembourg in international working groups on the drafting of the new Solvency II regulatory framework for insurance companies), work on my upcoming book on the biopsychosocial model, on a workshop on the framework, and a new website project.

But here are all the topics for posts currently in the pipeline:
  • more details from the Wwwwwikileaks affair (including two new documents, one being a legal threat to TheStutteringBrain)
  • a few new results on brain imaging
  • on the endless parade of useful research results
  • some more interesting websites
  • replies to reader's questions
  • my comments on StutterTalk's interview with Jerry

Friday, May 20, 2011

What is going on in Argentina?

I just received this news from a reader regarding events at the World Congress in Argentina of the International Stuttering Association (ISA). Can anyone confirm this or deny this? If no-one confirms, I will delete the post again. I blacked out the names until I get more confirmation.
Are you at the World Congress in Argentina? [....]

I have been back to my sources but only have somewhat sketchy details. I am not at this event but I understand that the International Stuttering Association is on some type of an implode. An ex-director XXX has been having some ongoing dispute with XXX and other Board members over non adoption of a strategic report that he prepared. He has been threatening to take legal action against XXX. The harassment issue must be a rehash of what you wrote [...]

I understand that the Argentinians gave XXX a 1 hour time slot to stand up in front of who ever wanted to listen and then then voice his unwarranted grievances. This was quiet embarrassing for many people and a lot chose to leave the room. I understand the ISA was very unhappy with the Argentinians for doing this.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tell CNN how Oprah sold cures that didn't exist

CNN gives readers the opportunity to say how the Oprah show has affected them: here. Check out a few posts on how the Oprah show sold us cure that were none.

Friday, May 06, 2011

When is a person a stutterer?

Nathan shares my suspicion that Newton was not a stutterer, and he questions whether we could even have labelled him if we had one video of him!
I watched two videos this week where people were having difficultly speaking and if these existed of Newton, I think there would be a medium strength case that he stutters. With these people it is really not clear. They probably don't, but there are some points where both of these people have difficulty speaking that is typical for me and some secondary behaviors.

 The computer scientist Donald Knuth seems to struggle with speech. And so does 2010 Physics Nobel Prize winner Novoselov.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Shocking or not?

Donald Trump called Seth Meyers a stutterer: "I thought Seth Meyers -- his delivery frankly was not good. He's a stutterer." And Stuttering Foundation of America slammed Trump: "We at the Stuttering Foundation find it discouraging that in 2011, Donald Trump has chosen to use the word 'stutterer' in a derogatory fashion, something to be made fun of, to describe Seth Meyers' speech at the annual White House Correspondents' dinner."

I am not so shocked. He probably used it more in the sense of mental hesitation. What do you think?

Unlearn fear

A reader asks:
Is it possible to reduce your autonomic response to moments of stuttering? I mean the pounding heart, tightness in the stomach, etc. If it is possible, how does one go about doing this? By just entering into more situations that evoke the "fight or flight" response?
The pounding heart, and tightness in the stomach is due to a reaction to the situation you are in. Your brain has learned to associate certain situations with fear and anxiety. So the next time your brain encounters a similar situation, it automatically triggers fear and anxiety TO HELP YOU TO BE PREPARED FOR THE DANGEROUS SITUATION. The reason your brain has learned to associate certain situation with fear is because your belief system has said that the situation is dangerous.

Two things you must do:

1) Re-visit your beliefs (Is stuttering in front of people dangerous?), and change your beliefs. At the end of the day, you need to have a belief like "It is not my fault that I am stuttering and there is no reason to be scared, embarrassed, or uncomfortable."

2) Unfortunately, changing your beliefs is not enough, because your brain has learned the association and you can only undo it by learning a new association. This means that you need to enter the situation over and over again, so that your brain realizes that it's not a dangerous situation. There are several techniques to achieve this effectively: here is a rough summary.