Monday, March 26, 2012

Presentations are now on-line

The presentations from the Antwerp conference are on-line: here.

You can also find my workshop: here.

And the title, abstract and summary:
3. Title:
From genes to social context: Understanding and treating stuttering in a biopsychosocial framework

4. Abstract:
Genetic, neurobiological, behavioural, cognitive, and social factors contribute towards the dysfunction and handicap experienced by people who stutter, and are also key to an improvement of the condition. In an upcoming book, we propose an overarching
framework to model all biopsychosocial drivers of human processes, and apply it here to stuttering. The neurobiological basis of stuttering is modelled as a neurological demand and capacity issue, whose impact propagates to all other areas of the human system. After presenting the model, we ask the audience to participate in the evaluation of a case study, including a discussing of treatment options.

5. Summary:
Brain imaging and genetics suggest a neurobiological basis for stuttering whose exact nature and causes are unknown and most likely different for different subsets of people who stutter. Moreover, the consequences of a neurobiological basis and resulting re-enforcements are multi-dimensional and highly individual. An overarching framework is needed to capture the essential multi-causal and multi-dimensional nature of the disorder while at the same time providing room for individual causes and symptoms.
In an upcoming book, we propose a generic biopsychosocial framework to cater for all drivers of human processes: overt behaviours, experiences, and internal body processes. In the basic model, human processes are determined by elements of the physical state of four domains: the body, the physical domain of two types of information stored within our brain (communicable and non-communicable via language), and the environment. We have applied our four-domain model to a variety of disorders, but we use it here for stuttering. The key element is the abnormal neurobiology that leads to inferior speech performance which then interacts with the other elements of the body and the other three domains, e.g. acquiring learned associations, motor codes, and episodes, but also unhelpful cognitive constructs. The neurobiological basis is described by a neurological demands and capacity model impacting a second, psychosocial level, called NDC2.
After presenting the framework and NDC2 model, we present the participants with a case study, and diagnosis and treatment sheets. These hand-outs are designed to record all relevant elements in the four domains that drive the processes in that person who stutters. The participants are encouraged to fill out the sheets themselves, and compare to the version we suggest. Then, they have to search for techniques to change elements in the four domains, and we will discuss the different treatment options. The goal is to allow the participants to better understand our framework by directly filling out the diagnosis and treatment sheets, and see how the framework provides a holistic approach to understanding and treating stuttering.

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