|About the presenter: Judy Kuster, M.S. in speech-language pathology and M.S. in counseling, is an ASHA Fellow and emertius professor of Communication Disorders at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is the webmaster for the Stuttering Home Page as well as the coordinator of this online conference. She holds Specialty Recognition in Stuttering and is a member of the Division #4: Fluency and Fluency Disorders. She is the recipient of the ASHF DiCarlo Award for Outstanding Clinical Achievement, the 2003 Distinguished Contributor Award from the International Fluency Association. a 2007 Outstanding Contribution Award from the International Stuttering Association, the 2008 ASHA Distinguished Contributor Award, and in 2009 named to the National Stuttering Association's Hall of Fame.|
This clinical nugget is more for clinicians, parents, teachers, and friends who don't stutter.
A high school student who came to our clinic over 15 years ago was the inspiration for this "clinical nugget." He did not stutter, but had difficulty with the /r/ sound and had decided never to say any word that had the r-sound in it. He refused to read in class since he could not substitute words. Can you imagine not applying to "univeRsities", only colleges" or being restricted to two positions on your baseball team (second base and left field) in case anyone asked you where you were going to school or what position you played?
I did four things:
Many people who stutter talk about their sound/word avoidances. I know people who have changed their name. In his 1982 classic, The Nature of Stuttering on p. 132 Van Riper reported about a man trying to place a telegram (do they even have telegrams anymore!!??).
In a old Sheehan film on stuttering, there was a young man who was from La Jolla who, when people asked where he was from, described how to get there until someone filled in the city for him, saying, "You mean La Jolla?"
Although it is impossible for a person who does not stutter to fully understand the "avoidance behaviors" that are characteristic of stuttering, the exercise of attempting to visit with a friend for 3 minutes without saying ANY words with an "r" may give you an idea of the mental gymnastics involved in sound/word avoidance, and perhaps an insight into what I often observe in many people who stutter - a tremendous vocabulary! I wonder who would win a Scrabble Tournament!
Alan Badmington shared a delightful short story about "avoidance," "Changing the Words Around," (illustrated by Chris Badgett-Richards) for the 2004 ISAD online conference. It is worth featuring again and is linked below with permission of the author. It provides a good message! Click on the picture below or if you prefer, you can hear Alan reading the story at http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/isad7/papers/badmington7/badmington17.html/.
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