Iceberg of Stuttering

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Re: Iceberg Analogy

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 10/19/03
Time: 1:41:44 PM
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Hi Julie,

Ned the carpenter had only one tool - the saw. He could cut up wood like a storm, but he had a heck of time pounding nails to fasten his wood pieces together.

Bill, the other carpenter, only had a hammer. He was a master at pounding nails, but he could never find the right length wood to build anything decent.

So both Ned and Bill were pretty much failures as carpenters. They had two choices...

1. They could work together, Ned sawing and Bill hammering.

2. They could both learn to use more than one tool.

Either choice works.

You like analogies? So do I! I'm sure you can see what's going on here. I had Ned as my SLP years ago when they hadn't even invented hammers yet! I went through four long summers in a "speech correction" camp that used a primitive form of therapy they called "speech controls." It was a forerunner to the Hollins approach. And sure enough, I failed each summer. Did it work for some people? Yeah, I guess so, as long as you never had to nail the pieces together. It certainly didn't work for me. I've heard many horror stories from the Hollins approach too. Despite what their own statistics show, the "precision fluency shaping" approach works in the long term ONLY on the people who have very light icebergs. Ones that don't have much ice under the waterline. If you don't need nails, Ned is a good carpenter.

I got the nails - the emotional baggage support - nearly 25 years later in form of an NSA support group. It worked miracles for me! I already had the wood pieces of the right length, so all I really needed was a way to nail them all together. It's a shame they didn't know about hammers back in the olden days, but they did the best they could. The good news is that we KNOW about hammers today. There's no longer a need for anyone to wait for 25 years to simply hook the pieces together. That's where YOU and your fellow student SLPs come in.

As I understand it, Hollins still pretty much resists the use of a hammer. It sticks to what it knows best, the saw. Their "success rates" come mainly from the light weight icebergs or other such tightly controlled auditory measurements. I've known many, many failures who have come out of Hollins very fluent only to relapse horribly. Those people are encouraged to come back time and time again for "refresher" courses where the saw is used again and again... I really feel for these people...

We have a guy in our local group right now who has recently gotten back from Hollins. He was a VERY severe stutterer when he went, now he can at least communicate! Hooray!!! Don't knock success! But his saving grace is that he's a member of our support group and he gets encouragement and understanding from us all the time. He calls me on the phone several times a week just to practice his "targets." He really doesn't realize that what he's getting is "below the waterline" support - which is so vitally important to him. I think he has a decent chance of a long term recovery. Thanks at least in part to Hollins, but also thanks in the other part to our support group. It just takes two to tango... (Gosh, I'm going crazy with analogies! But don't you love 'em? <smile>)

You student SLPs are learning to use a wide variety of tools. So you're going to be SOOOO much better at doing your job than the old one-tool "speech correctionists" in my day. And the more tools you have in your tool box, and the better you learn to use them, the better carpenter you'll be!

How that for a good analogy?

Thanks for a good question, Julie! Good luck in school! I know you'll do well!


Last changed: September 12, 2005