So I am sitting here on the airplane on my way to Las Vegas. I am meeting my friends Tim Flynn and Andrew Bowers. Andrew is a good friend of mine from the NSA. I met Andrew 5 years ago at the conference in New Jersey. I know Tim from the NSA conference as well. You all may know Tim from True Life: I Stutter, on MTV. On a side note, let me just say that I am very pleased with my choice to fly Southwest Airlines. This is one of my two free round trip flights offered to me for opening a Southwest Airlines credit card. Plus, for five dollars you can access their in flight wifi hotspot, which is why I am writing this blog post from 38 thousand feet. Good thing I bought this iPad a couple days ago!
Lately, there has been a lot of conversation on Facebook about a cure for stuttering. There is an individual by the name of Anna Deeter, who is consistently posting on a popular Facebook group for pws, claiming that she can cure our stuttering in 3 days. I also heard from an inside source that she has charged people close to ten thousand dollars for her therapy. It appears that she does all of her therapy over Skype. Now, I do believe there is a place for speech therapy using Skype or Google plus. That isn’t the problem here. The problem is that she is claiming the she can cure stuttering. The last time I checked stuttering is not a sickness Or a diseaae. Let’s face it people, there are effective therapy techniques which can be be taught to pws. There are even some medications out there that doctors are prescribing to decrease tension and anxiety, but we all need to realize that thus far, there is no cure for stuttering. I am extremely displeased by Anna’s claim that she can cure stuttering. She has posted several youtube videos which show the progression of her therapy, and in every video her client seems to be speaking fluently. However, all of her therapy sessions are taking place in the comfort of her clients home. She does not appear to require her clients to practice speaking outside of their home in more stressful situations. Any talented Speech-Language pathologist couldamaze a client speak more fluently in three hours in the therapy room, but unless the slp brings the client outside of the therapy room as well to practice, the client will most definitely experience a relapse. As we know from the Iceberg Analogy, so much of stuttering is exacerbated by fear, shame, stress and anxiety. In none of these videos do I see Anna targeting any of these things and in my view these negative feelings should be dealt with before techniques are introduced. All I can say is that with Ms. Deeter charging that much money and claiming that she can cure stuttering, I am expecting some lawsuits coming her way soon.
So, to all of my readers, beware of these people claiming that they can cure your stuttering. While there is no cure for stuttering, there are effective fluency techniques, and even more importantly, there is support out there. Contact your local NSA chapter and start attending chapter meetings. Better yet, come and meet me at the 2012 National Stuttering Association conference in St. Petersburg, Florida between July 4th and 8th. While the NSA won’t provide you with a cure for your stuttering, it will guide you along your path towards accepting your stuttering.
Now we come to the almighty question. If there was a peer reviewed, valid and reliable research study in which a cure for stuttering was found, would I take that magic pill and become fluent? I can tell you all with complete confidence that I wouild not take it. My experiences throughout my life as a person who stutters have molded my personality. Through my experiences, stuttering has provided me with the ability to work hard, and show compassion for others. Stuttering is the reason why I chose to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. Stuttering is a permanent part of me. I would never change that. What has stuttering given you?