Monday, February 27, 1995

An institute?

In response to a comment about an institute

Well, for one thing an institute can be a stepping stone towards a
University, and perhaps the only realistic approach. BTF (and I
have been reading about it only very quickly) might well be an
excellent example.

Fortunately imagination is cheap though... The university idea stems
>From solving the constant dilemma between approaching stuttering
by focusing on it and by NOT focusing on it. One could get a degree
without attending a single therapy session and yet have "worked" on
one's stuttering by approaching every subject in the context of his/her
path towards whatever degree of fluency s/he sees as a goal. All in
a supportive environment.

Women have used the "supportive environment" argument to justify women's
colleges. I don't know what it is about us stutterers... but even admitting
the need for a supportive environment seems hard to do. Perhaps because
of the 4 to 1 ratio of male to female stutteres there is a pervasive
"malist" attitude that we should be "tough enough" to take on whatever
comes our way. Dare I say that we need larger dosage of good nourishing
"female" thinking?

The more I think about it, the more I am becoming convinced that four
or more years where we can FORGET and NOT FORGET about stuttering and
LIVE, with it, without it, though it ... whatever .. could change the
lives of many people.

Thursday, February 23, 1995

Stuttering University

These broadened therapy concepts remind me of an idea I have toyed with
on and off for some time: a Stuttering University! The model might be
something like the university for the deaf (sorry, the name escapes me
for the moment) but the idea would be more than creating a "safe"
environment for learning. The idea is a place where, in the context of
getting a degree, a student can approach stuttering from all possible
angles.

It would also be a place where research, both therapeutic and basic, could
thrive.

Some examples: I feel that one of the best things I have done for my
stuttering has been to study dance for several years! I wasn't sure it would
help, but I had a gut feeling that increasing the general awareness of my
body and areas of tension would help me achieve a "natural" kind of
control.Take it for what it's worth, but I think it really helped. Anyhow,
thisis only an example of how learning (and having fun!) in different areas,
including art, drama (I've done that too... equally useful!) can be brought
tobear to tame this beast.

In the context of research, this could be a major center for brain studies,
brain disfunction, artificial neural networks (my area!), psychology...
the sky is the limit! We could also have a media center to produce
materials for schools and networks. There could be a school of engineering
focused on control theory, systems, artificial speech, electronic aid
devices, computer science.

SU (Stuttering University.... I know, we can come up with a better name)
would be international... and I would love to see it located in the
S. Francisco bay area (where I live... of course). It would also have
a strong Internet-based component, to allow some level of attendan(virtual
attendance) for people who couldn't manage to move here for the required
time.

How about it? Could we do it?