About the presenter: Jim Clarkson and his wife Lorraine live on a five acre property surrounded by forest and looking out over the vineyards of the picturesque Mandurang valley way down in the southern part of Australia. His occupation is in the engineering field were he has qualifications in mechanical and electronic engineering. His main expertise is problem solving in industry. To him stuttering is just another ongoing problem to be methodically solved.

Jim's therapy details are :- Intensive therapy program Royal Melbourne Hospital 1978 (prolongation). Joined in with son Matthew for second intensive program Lincoln Institute Of Behavioural Sciences Melbourne 1984. Group leader of local Speak Eazy self help group for many years. He has been his own therapist for many years and the best therapy with the longest carry over period he has found that works for him is to be at one with the sea in heavy weather at the helm of an ocean going yacht. ( i.e. sheer relaxation).

You can post Questions/comments about the following paper to James Clarkson before October 22, 2001.


by James Clarkson
from Australia

An overview of our family tree appears to indicate a hereditary disposition towards stuttering. It also shows the intermixing of two family lines with a history of stuttering. Some may say this is a crazy thing to have happened, which maybe it is. But interestingly there is more than one occurrence of this in this family group. The genetic factor although not having been clinically tested appears to be there. And we would be right in saying this is a stuttering family.

Here we have the opportunity to examine events in time, which may or may not have had an effect on PWS in this group being classed as belonging to a stuttering family. Perhaps if circumstances were different in time, for us there may have been only one PWS in this group or even none. Still considering though that it is a stuttering family genetically, no matter what there circumstances and outcomes were and are.

Our records of persons dispositions and personalities do not go beyond 1863. We do have records of some of the horrific times and periods in these peoples lives going back well before that date. Of religious conflict, famine, and an account of a sea voyage to Australia by Agnes Weir. During this overcrowded voyage of the 749 passengers 84 died principally confined to children. (As reported British parliamentary papers 1852). Some of these persons may have become quite hardened in their nature and sometimes this can be carried over to a following generation or children.

Our first factual recognition of a PWS was Thomas Brown (Braun). He was recognized as being a troublemaker and a social misfit who did not fit in with the families’ ideas and beliefs. Not marrying he lived out the latter part of his life as a hermit (recluse). As reported by Clarice Brown (school teacher).

Frank Poole. Frank and his brother lived with their step brothers and sisters. Their elderly father tried to whisk them all away with him, but only managed to get tiny Frank and John. They were later found at an isolated farmhouse, their father had died. Frank aged four had been feeding scraps and flour to his brother aged two. It is estimated their father had been dead for 2 weeks. (Coroners report Leongatha). Frank rejected by his biological mother and stepmother was orphaned eventually being fostered out, which back then in Australia was the equivalent of forced child labour. He lived an extremely tough life and died at age fifty. The times that I knew him I would rate his impediment as severe (9.5) mannerism hardened.

Keith Watson. Accountant, mannerism mild, impediment rate (8.5). Parents mother busy, father mild. Some association with cousin Douglas Clarkson at early age.

Douglas Clarkson. Burnt in petrol fire age four, third degree burns to 50% of body totally blind. Runs own engineering business, mannerism busy, impediment rate (7), mother mild, father pre 1945 busy.

James Clarkson. Engineer, mannerism mild with swings, impediment rate (9). Parents mother mild, father very hardened. Some association with brother Douglas Clarkson at early age. Main observable core speech problems, indecisive and disruptive choice of broad based synonyms with similar composition and length. Reverse choice of opposite meaning words (as found at slow rates intensive speech therapy program).

Matthew Clarkson. Engineer, mannerism mild, impediment rate (9). Parents mother mild, father hard at start gradually mellowing in time. Stuttered from day one of talking (as reported by mother Lorraine Clarkson). Close association with PWS from early age, i.e. father, sister, occasionally grandfather. Observable problems, missing words caused primarily by indecision with words that begin with similar sound and can be visualized upside down (p and b), or advanced sequential choice, (fourteen missing). Not word substitution (as found at slow rates intensive speech therapy program).

Haidee Clarkson. Accountant, mannerism busy, impediment rate (8.5). Parents mother busy, father busy. Late with starting speech development, stuttering developed slowly. Very close association with brother Matthew during speech development. Close association with father James from early age.

Jenny Poole. Property conveyancer, mannerism busy. Parents mother mild, father mild. Late with starting speech, with early intervention overcame speech impediment at an early age. Now has very normal perfect speech.

Alanna Pratt. mannerism highly active. Parents mother busy, father busy. Grandmother Marlene Poole divorces Alanna’s grandfather Robert Rumbold and like her sister marries a PWS Douglas Delzopo (8.5) (Italian) 1990. Alanna Pratt grows up in very close association to step grandfather at early age because both families lived together. (Note. Douglas Delzopo not shown on family tree).

The only definite left-handed persons in this whole group including non-stutterers are Haidee Clarkson and Alanna Pratt. The associated (or maybe not associated) twins in this group to them, are all female and are non-stutterers. They are two daughters of Benjamin Pooles first marriage and two grandchildren of Lola Brown. Douglas Delzopo is also left-handed.

When considering the events in time so far one may form the opinion of some shock element involvement, which may be so. This has not entirely been bought out as true because of other similar much more serious happenings to persons in this family tree which have not been revealed here. Like with any family at this stage many have already passed on by natural or unnatural courses. This in turn can have an effect on shaping the behavioural patterns towards others or even to separate individuals coming on. Also revealing to us the maybe inherited mannerisms of two combining family groups, not necessarily only from the genetic stuttering line. But the combination of both bringing out the underlying genetic problem or problems either by genetics or behaviourally or together.

The PWS in this group would much rather leave their disability behind because it affects the forefront of their lives in both the good and bad times. Because of our complexity though, we must proceed with care and not conclude in haste.

The basic factual information gathered here is from a broad base for one family but in effect it is only a very small sample. To this also consider the fact that three of the PWS mentioned here and on the family tree, are from different families and have identical Christian names, this is factual but also coincidental.

You can post Questions/comments about the above paper to James Clarkson before October 22, 2001.

June 15, 2001