Iceberg of Stuttering

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Re: Question

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 10/19/03
Time: 10:01:38 PM
Remote Name:


Hi Shanna and Beth,

The short answer to your question is no. We just didn't know about anything else that made any sense in those days. That was in the 1950's, nearly a half a century ago! And we rode around on dinosaurs... <smile>

A slightly longer answer is yes, I had some private after-school-once-a-week therapy during that time also, but it was pretty much the same thing. Working on my "speech controls." Stuttering bad, fluency good. Nothing beneath the waterline at all. We simply didn't know much in those days...

Amazingly enough I ran across Joe Sheehan himself at Purdue University in about 1961 when he was a visiting professor there. He invited me to be in his class of graduate SLP students much like yourselves. I was an engineering student there at the time and being invited to join ANY graduate class was quite an honor. And - to be honest - having a class full of the best looking girls at Purdue made me jump at the chance! Ha, ha!

Joe and I talked quite a bit about stuttering, but I was never a real client of his. I was only a student in his class. Actually he used me as a guinea pig for the rest of the students, but heck, I sure didn't mind!

One very cool thing he let me do, however, was to participate in some scientific research in the speech lab. They were using a modified reel-to-reel tape recorder (a high-tech device in those days!) to produce a primitive delayed auditory feedback (DAF) device. Amazing - and FUN - work.

Another thing I got to do was go into an anechoic chamber where there was NO - ZERO - sound! Talk about spooky! After about 15 minutes in there, you could begin to hear your stomach digest food, and the bones in your neck and hands creak like skeletons at Halloween! If you ever get a chance to go into one of those chambers, DO IT! You'll never forget it!

But what did that have to do with stuttering? Not much, I'm afraid. Joe came up with the iceberg analogy in a book he wrote in 1970. Hmmm... I wonder if I gave him that idea nearly nine years before...? I probably did... Yeah... that's the ticket! Of course I did! That was MY idea along! I'm a genius and don't even realize it! I'm cool - Jack! Ha, ha, ha! (I hope you're both SNL and Seinfeld fans. If you are, you'll understand those references. If not, you probably think I'm nuts. <smile> Ask your parents... Ha, ha, ha!)

Best of luck to both of you. Thanks for stopping by!


Last changed: September 12, 2005