Sunday, November 06, 2005

Theorists and reality

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will surely have noticed that I am more of a theorist/scientist than a practician! To my benefit, I can claim that I have been practising since the age of 3, and have become really good at stuttering! But of course I have very little therapist experience, in fact none. I attended many group meetings, talked to therapists, or read relevant literature. So I guess I fairly well have experienced most aspects of PDS in adults (but not from the side of a therapist), but my greatest lack in experience is disfluent children. I have never really seen any, or talked to them.

So last Friday, I had some second-hand experience on what it is like to be a parent that has a disfluent child. At the local swimming pool, I met an old friend of mine, and his daughter (had) stuttered. He told me that she had stuttered for some months, and they took her to a speech and language therapist, who didnt really do anything except tell them that they should not judge her speech and that she should start first grade earlier (in Luxembourg it is possible to delay first grade by a year if you are close the the age limit). Then three days before she went to school, she suddenly stopped stuttering, and only stutters occasionally but far less. I find this sudden recovery (if it proves to be permament) amazing. Why is this happen so sudden? I always had been in the back of mind, the knowledge that children suddenly start stuttering and suddenly stopped stuttering. But hearing it first-hand from my friend, makes this phenonema more important. How can this fit with my view that PDS starts with a defect and recovery is compensation within the brain. How could this happen so suddenly? I asked a similar question here with an answer by Prof Bosshardt (here). I can understand that stuttering can suddenly start but that is suddenly stops is a bit too much for me. This would suggest to me that levels of neurotransmitters might be relevant. I need to think more. Also, is it really so sudden or is this just parents approximating reality into more neatly defined periods.

Oh I forgot, my friend also said that a few days before his daughter's recovery he decided to repeat every single sentence in the same ways that she had spoken it for one day. He said that this made her aware how she spoke, but he didnt know whether this has anything to do with her recovery.


Jen said...

my 6 year old son is aware of his stuttering.....he actually asks for help and has seen speech therapists. For some reason I don't think that making him aware and repeating a sentence like he does will help this point i'll try anything

Tom Weidig said...

Hi Jen,

I did not imply that it is working as a method. I just said that my friend did this and some days later his daughter was more fluent. Now this could well be a coincidence as 80% of children recover spontaneously.

This link might help:

Good Luck!