This is a threaded discussion page for the International Stuttering Awareness Day Online Conference paper,
A Model for Change from a Consumer's Perspective, by Michael Sugarman. 

Your journey

From: Judy Kuster
Date: 10/7/98
Time: 7:28:30 PM
Remote Name:


Thanks for sharing your interesting "journey," Michael. You mention that you were in "speech class" in
grade school (and the teacher announcing to your class every Wednesday when you were to go to speech
therapy with the yellow card on the blackboard). Do you remember anything that was effective for you in
your therapy for stuttering when you were that age? It seems that you were in your early 20's when therapy
started to be really effective for you, is that correct? I also found your description of how you used the tape
recorder during that period very interesting.

Re: Your journey

From: Michael Sugarman
Date: 10/8/98
Time: 8:59:55 PM
Remote Name:


hello judy, while in grammar school I never talked about my stuttering or what I wanted from life. In fact
my parents did not talk about stuttering. The teachers did not talk to me about my stuttering. My slp did not
talk to me about my stuttering. Nobody talked about it. However, I knew I had a problem. It wasn't until I
started to "open up" about my stuttering that I began the process to change. And that was in my early
twenties. In retrospect, I wished someone had talked about stuttering. Today, with nsp, friends, sfa, sid4,
and school slp's i hope children can talk about stuttering. In talking with my taperecorder I began to unravel
not only my speech but what I wanted to do with my life. I heard how and what I said. I feel its very
important to recognize not to "make" stuttering a taboo subject. 

identity as a stutterer

From: Jeff Shames
Date: 10/16/98
Time: 5:13:41 PM
Remote Name:


Michael, much of your article resonates with me. Like Judy Kuster, I was moved by your description of the
yellow card on the blackboard each week. I didn't have something that tangible, but remember feeling
"different" and "weird" when I left the classroom for my not very helpful speech therapy. 

What also hit home with me was your description of becoming a person, not a stutterer. There are so many
intertwining issues here: of hiding versus coming out and being oneself; of being a "normal" person,
whatever that means. 

I, too, used my tape recorder for practice. But hearing myself on audio (and eventually video) tape helped
me realize that I was a good communicator, whatever the fluency of my speech. 

Re: identity as a stutterer

From: michael sugarman
Date: 10/17/98
Time: 11:04:25 PM
Remote Name:


jeff thank you for your comments. 

Speaker-Listener paradigm

From: Chuck Goldman
Date: 10/18/98
Time: 10:53:08 AM
Remote Name:


Thanks for outlining so clearly your personal development of stuttering. Your detailing of the ways in which
early developmental speaker-listener interaction shaped your feelings and behaviors was very revealing, not
only about stuttering but about social learning as well.

Re: Speaker-Listener paradigm

From: michael sugarman
Date: 10/18/98
Time: 2:16:20 PM
Remote Name:


Chuck, thank you for your comments

A Model for Change

From: Beth Hebert
Date: 10/18/98
Time: 8:38:10 PM
Remote Name:


I truly enjoyed reading your model along with the personal stories that gave it meaningful life. 

I found the fact that you "learned about yourself" through taping your thoughts and feelings fascinating! 

One more comment - to apply to represent the University of California, Santa Barbara as a student intern at
the age of 23 - Bravo! You were quite young to have come to such a realization about yourself.

Re: A Model for Change

From: michael sugarman
Date: 10/21/98
Time: 10:35:59 PM
Remote Name:


beth, thank you for your comments

A Model for Change

From: R. Flicek
Date: 10/19/98
Time: 4:45:58 PM
Remote Name:


You say that the first step in "breaking away" is to identify when, how, and with whom the stuttering
occurs. Do you think that young stutterers (ages 12-14) are mature enough to handle this approach? 

Re: A Model for Change

From: michael sugarman
Date: 10/21/98
Time: 10:39:31 PM
Remote Name:


Thank you for your question. Much depends on the self esteem of the individual and family support systems
to have the confidence to resolve personal issues. I hope that answers your question.

The Process of Stuttering

From: Woody Starkweather
Date: 10/22/98
Time: 3:08:49 PM
Remote Name:


Thank you so much Michael for describing the process. I have been trying to tell people for years now that
stutterers are in a recovery process right from the beginning, even though when the first begin to stutter,
their process may well be more destructive than constructive. But there is a process, and when the clinician
can learn to meet the client where he or she is in the process, very good therapy can take place, without the
client feeling judged or shamed, and without fear of failure on the part of either client or clinician. 

We SLP's have always thought of ourselves as change agents, the people who make the change happen. We
think this in spite of the fact that Van Riper and others have long said that it is the client who changes and
who is responsible for the change. It seems to me that what we SLP's need to do is revamp our entire
approach to the stuttering client. We need to bear witness to the stutterer's process of recovery, maybe help
him or her from making a bad decision, offer suggestions for experiments that may teach, and celebrate the
person's individual recovery. We need to be midwives not physicians. Or perhaps I should say that we need
to be midwives, not God. 

Re: The Process of Stuttering

From: michael
Date: 10/22/98
Time: 10:14:32 PM
Remote Name:


woody, thank you for your insight and comments.


From: Bob Quesal 
Date: 10/22/98
Time: 3:55:45 PM
Remote Name:


Michael and Judy: 

Thanks so much for this conference, and for allowing me to be part of it. I've learned so much from the
papers posted, and have enjoyed (most of) the comments from the readers. This was a wonderful idea, and
you carried it out very well. I certainly appreciate all your hard work. 

Bob Quesal


From: michael sugarman
Date: 10/22/98
Time: 10:15:38 PM
Remote Name:


Bob, thank you very much for your thoughts

NSP History

From: Amy Johnson
Date: 10/1/99
Time: 8:54:05 AM
Remote Name:


I really enjoyed reading about the history of the NSP. It is easy to take for granted that people who stutter
have such a support system as the NSP and all the support organizations around the world. You have made
an incredible difference to many people. Thank you for your vision. 


From: Dick Curlee
Date: 10/8/99
Time: 6:27:59 PM
Remote Name:


Michael, I just finished reading the genesis of NSA, Woody's comments about recovery and you response.
Although I use "recovery" more than I should to describe the changes that in stuttering that occur during the
course of treatment or without treatment, it seems to me that in either case we are observing a healing
process. I think of healing as an repairs of the body, mind, and spirit that result from innate, internal
processes in each of us. As a clinician, I conceptualize my task as helping someone who wants to be healed
discover how to heal and then supporting him/her doing it. I wonder sometimes if the use of words like
disorder, treatment, recovery, etc. in connection with stuttering if that doesn't lead us to think about it as
something that can be fixed by external agents like us. Incidentally, I seem to remember that George Bush
the Elder described himself as being vision-challenged or words to that effect. Was he an example of chaos?
If so, is vision-challenged inherited? Could George the Younger be the 2nd coming of Chaos? Cheers! 

History of the NSA

From: Mary Ellen Jones,SLP
Date: 10/22/99
Time: 6:20:55 PM
Remote Name:


Thanks for the great article Michael. You have been the brave pioneer to much "public awareness" of
stuttering through the NSA. The NSP was truly an asset to me as a public school Speech Therapist in the
70's. I needed to be around and more aware of the person who stuttered, a person who was unknown to me
with the exception of the speech therapy room or who I read about in the books from college. Thanks for all
the knowledge I gained beyond the classroom or books. Thanks for making it possible. Thanks for the
NSP. You've come along way.