|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.|
|About the presenter: Peter Kissagizlis is from East Yorkshire in the north of the UK. He worked as a motor mechanic for many years and, an avid boater himself, also worked as a marina lock keeper for British Waterways in Hull until 2000. Now retired, Peter devotes a lot of time to voluntary work. He is chair of consumer issues for the International Cluttering Association and secretary of the Hull & East Yorkshire Stammerers self help group which is associated with the British Stammering Association. Peter is a founder member of the local support group and has built and maintains the web site: www.speakingout.org.uk He also writes the regular newsletter.|
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.
Since an organization has been formed to learn about cluttering, it stands to reason that we should try to define cluttering. This is easier said than done. Part of the challenge of arriving at a definition is intrinsic to the disorder itself, as it is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. One of the key reasons for development of the ICA was to bring together consumers, researchers and clinicians to work on this critical issue of definition. For now, one working definition--subject to revision as we learn more about it--is as follows:
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 to be international in membership, to include consumers and their families, speech-language pathologists, researchers, students, and interested members of the general public. A website is being 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 only a few months old, 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 ten countries working to increase awareness at the international level. Our membership and leadership continue to grow almost daily.
Peter Kissagizlis has consented to help the world understand cluttering by sharing some of his personal story along with a short movie of his speaking and samples of his handwriting and "unguarded" typing.
I woked hard, I was quiet, and fiound it hadr to tlak to people about some thisnhgs, adn this has hapend al my life and has held up my ecducation and employemnt. Even wehn I statred work people used to taunt me becasue I taklekd funny! I wa sbulied at scgol and at work, no one seemded to care. Life was so frustrating and intimidating, I had no idea that I had a porblem tlike \I know today, if I as awatre of tnis and the teacjhers ot my partent had adddressed this, i could myabwe had some help, hmmm, maybe not, no one knwe about clutering in those days, but it oculd have ben found that I had a comunication pronb;lem.
I have treid al my life to please peole, I was told thaty I would never do any god in life and I tried to probve evrybody worng, I ewnt into busines in the 1970's and I struggeld to hold run a business sucsesfuly, I was not harfd enought to condunt a bisusiness proplery, nad fater mnay eyars I had to amdnit defeat, I packed it al up and went back to working fro zomseone else. At least I got pasid on a Friday every week.
Whne working in the garages I was a motoer vehicle techniician and was god at my job, it would have been goukd ofr promotion, but each time I apliead for poromotion I was told dthat my spech was not suiyatbale for speaing to customomers and for teh many aplications I made in fiddefernt companies thaye gave me the sdame story.
After years of feeling insecure, differnt, isolated and excluded, I know Kknow the comndition I have, which is clutteroimng, although it is not cured and nebver can be as fra as I am aware, at lwast I am aware of the conditini aadn people wil learn from tihs, and poepke who sufer as I do wil be able t undrestand what they ahve, the amin thinsg is, peiopokle worlkd wide awil be able to reecognise the condition and maybe the ptofessionals can impement a suitable treainhg/teacjhing athen evebntaualy a treatment regime.
Ok, nuffs. enough! eh? the above sentences were typed as I type, I have made no attempt to delibertaly slow down or edit the text, this sentence is deliberately typed slow (waht a difficult job!) and aslo I have edited some of it, as even when typing slowly, I make mistakes.
ICA: It's about time!
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.
|Return to the opening page of the conference|