|About the presenter: Florence L. Myers is Professor at Adelphi University, Garden City, New York. She has published widely in the areas of cluttering and stuttering. Her current interests include the nature of cluttering and how it relates to stuttering, as well as treatment approaches to cluttering. She was co-chair of the executive committee to organize the First International Conference on Cluttering held in Bulgaria, May 12-14, 2007.|
A very exciting event took place May 2007 in Katarino, Bulgaria, an idyllic resort nestled in the foothills of the Rila and Pirin Mountains in southwest Bulgaria. Over the course of three days, approximately sixty delegates from eighteen countries congregated at the First International Conference on Cluttering (FICC). This was a landmark conference. Delegates included clinicians, those who clutter, as well as academicians interested in the theoretical bases of and research on cluttering. From this conference came the genesis of the International Cluttering Association (ICA). The purpose of this article is to provide background on why the ICA was formed and why it is so important.
One often hears the exclamation "It's about time!" This is an apt remark as we think about the formation of ICA. Cluttering has largely been a step-child in the family of fluency disorders, overshadowed by professionals' and the media's interest in stuttering. But the fact remains that clinicians must treat those who clutter, and typically receive only one hundred minutes or less of instruction on this topic (Scaler Scott, Grossman & Tetnowski, 2007). Half a dozen organizations exist for stuttering but none until now for cluttering. These factors have the potential to leave clinicians not only ill-prepared to treat clients who clutter but also with few resources to turn to in obtaining further information about the disorder. This neglect of cluttering has existed in the United States more so than in Europe. To try to remedy this situation, a small group of professionals in the States (including K. Bakker, M. Burnett, D. Daly, L. Raphael, K. St. Louis, and F. Myers) have spent upwards of two decades trying to put cluttering on the map through a book, presentations, chapters in texts, and journal articles. More recently, the Stuttering Foundation commissioned a DVD entitled Cluttering (Myers and St. Louis, 2007), which premiered in Bulgaria. The effort to put cluttering on the world map culminated in the conference in May, with the able help and support of Professors Dobrinka Georgieva and Katya Dionissieva of South-West University "Neofit Rilski," Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. Proceedings based on this conference, containing 4-5 page summaries of the presentations, are still in development. Information regarding the availability of these proceedings will be announced through the website of the ICA (see below for the URL).
Delegates to the conference indeed experienced with their own eyes and ears the momentum that was built by the last day of the conference, culminating in the formation of ICA. "It IS about time...that cluttering be recognized!" While we acknowledged the logistic considerations in the formation of this international association, the overriding spirit was one of enthusiasm to usher in the first-ever organization devoted to cluttering. At the invitation of the conference Program Committee, Kathy Scaler Scott volunteered to convene the first meeting of the new organization at the conference and has been its enthusiastic and able coordinator since that inaugural event. The mission of ICA is to increase awareness of and knowledge about cluttering, so that effective treatment can be developed. The organization is international in membership, to include consumers and their families, speech-language pathologists, researchers, students, and interested members of the general public. A website has been developed to provide information about the nature of cluttering, its diagnosis and treatment, as well as resources for consumers and families.
On behalf of its organizers, we invite you to join the International Cluttering Association. Although ICA is relatively new, we already have a large number of members. The ICA currently has an executive committee, with chairs representing consumers, clinical and research interests, and international representatives from HOW MANY countries working to increase awareness at the international level. Our membership and leadership continue to grow almost daily.
Check out the ICA website managed by Klaas Bakker at http://associations.missouristate.edu/ICA/.
Myers, F. L., & St. Louis, K. O. (2007). Cluttering. (DVD) Nashville, TN: The Stuttering Foundation.
Scaler Scott, K., Grossman, H. L., & Tetnowski, J. A. (in press). A survey of cluttering instruction in fluency courses. Proceedings of the First World Conference on Cluttering. Razlog, Bulgaria.
St. Louis, K. O., Myers, F. L., Bakker, K., & Raphael, L. J. (2007). Understanding and treating cluttering. In E. G. Conture & R. F. Curlee (Eds.) Stuttering and related disorders of fluency, 3rd ed. (pp. 297-325). NY: Thieme.
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