Thursday, November 27, 2008

Live from ASHA

StutterTalk.com has broadcast from ASHA: see here. Listen to the first 15 minutes. It reminds me of giggling teenage girls. A brilliant snapshot of the atmosphere in which therapists interact. Laden with the following commandments:

  • do no criticise your colleagues
  • always praise your colleagues
  • always accept everyone's ideas (even if wrong)
  • never publicly admit that you have made a mistake
  • we are all a big family of friends
  • smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile.
  • displeasure is shown by a shorter-than-usual smile

These taboos cause discussion rounds with most therapists to be completely and utterly useless unless you talk to them one on one! And filters through to research and debate on research. There is this immense strong emotional desire for harmony and peace (though if you know them personally, you realize that many don't like each other and bitch all the time! :-). Listen to the first 15 minutes again. Not a SINGLE CRITICAL THOUGHT on their own work. Their sentences contain virtually no information. Their workshops are brilliant, wonderful, I have learned so much, exceptional experience, I was so lucky to have X, amazing exhibition, so valuable, though i am confident of my skills I learned so much more. Let's do the reality check. Let's now compare what people who stutter write to me in tens and tens of emails: I am still stuttering (that's like 95% of emails), I am desperate, speech therapy was pretty useless for me, she saw me fluent but then my stuttering came back, and the only thing she did was smile all the time.
As I have said many times before, this atmosphere of forced harmony and peace is counter-productive to real constructive debates, because therapists are scared to speak out and from the beginning as students their brains are forced into into intellectual schizophrenia as it has to spend 99% of the resources in adhering to the prevailing social atmosphere (what should or can I say in this situation, how do others expect me to react) instead of speaking out (what do I think and what do I feel)
And regarding StutterTalk, from now on I call them the Larry Kings of stuttering. Whoever you are, from saint to dictator, you feel comfortable in their interviews, and leave with your world view intact!

4 comments:

The Stuttering Comedian... said...

ASHA...The organization that sanctions and approves failure for research and therapy in stuttering.

SFA...The Professional Lovefest organization for the Queen's distinguished and vaunted professionals who cure stuttering, unless of course, the stutterer fails in practicing the cure techniques...

StutterTalk...Moe, Larry and sometimes Curly

And the comedy - as well as the stuttering- continues...

Adrian said...

Tom,

Excellent points. The SLP community seems to be in complete denial. The fact is they have done very little to help stutterers. Yes, most are very well meaning good people, but so what?

ASHA currently does not mandate any clinical work in stuttering for graduate students in speech pathology. Perhaps some SLPs are questioning this behind the scenes, but I have seen no criticism of this publically. Of course, the stuttering community has not done it's job either. Even the NSA (an organization for stutterers) has done nothing. The NSA has chosen to intertwine themselves with the SLP community instead of challenging and asking the tough questions about the current state of stuttering therapy.

It is a very unfortunate situation which does not seem to be getting better.

Adrian

Anonymous said...

Adrian makes a good observation.

At the national level of both the NSA and FRIENDS (National Association for Young People Who Stutter), the organizations are focused - and pushing - for the advancement of the agenda's of the SLP's on their respective professional boards and professional advisors.

The local chapters and local support groups are still the best, though!

Anonymous said...

Tom -

Just listened to the broadcast.

Complete agreement with your view.

FYI - The broadcaster's of the SFA Lovefest are 'employed" by the Memphis Queen.

All the Bee's protect the hive...

Unfortunately, the Honey is bad...