Friday, March 17, 1995

Objections to "Stuttering University"

In response to the problem of a "separatist enviroment" (problems "re-joining" the fluent world)

I share this concern, and considering that it took me years before
I could comfortably approach other stutteres, I surprised myself in
having changed my thinking. (What follows is part of previous private
posting) 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?

Response to the "relapse problem" following successful intensive therapy

The idea is precisely to prevent this problem. An "intensive therapy
environment" could not be sustained for 4 or more years. It would have to
become REAL life along the way... good grades, bad grades, your girlfriend
dumps you.. your roommate snores. A recent posting on how John H. and
I agree on this issue should clarify why I think this would work differently,
but I could be wrong, of course.

The more I think about it, though, 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.

Response to the need for a better name... ("it's the people who stutter, not the university!")

Before it becomes real, if ever, I am sure we'll figure out a better name,
all the more so since (imagination being so cheap anyhow) I actually envision
some non-stutterers wanting to enroll. Why? The best SLP department, great
engineering, computer science and biology (for control, artificial
intelligence, brain modeling etc.), great liberal arts for personal
growth, international atmosphere, and yes, lots of PWSs... the best
bunch of folks that ever walked the earth (please allow me one of the
few elements of pride allowed to stutterers... you have to become a pretty
special person to survive stuttering with some degree of sanity.. and
most of us do! :-)).

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