Saturday, February 03, 1996

Questions on "organic predisposition"

Is there a predisposition specifically for stuttering or for the system that supports it?

There is system and there is system.. What you call "act" is in the fact the
result of a very complex control system that transforms your thoughts into that
very complex sequence of articulations that produce the sounds we call speech.
I, and probably most of those who think in terms of predisposition, see a
likely weakness in this system. BUT, this doesn't exclude the importance of the
LARGER SYSTEM, which includes fears, bad habits etc. This larger system can
make it very hard to get to the bottom of the problem, but this is the system
can can be undoubtedly modified (in fact it MUST be). Here I agree with John H.

Is there also an organic predisposition for other "habits"?

We stutterers have other habits too. Drinking, smoking (and some good ones too) etc. come to mind as possibilities. I, for one, don't think they compare at all with stuttering. Somebody can probably bring some statistics to bear, but I think that will and support (e.g. 12 steps programs) can, in fact break many habits in a way no stuttering therapy has. Now, there are certainly aspects of what we label stuttering that include "habits". Looking away while blocking, closing one's eyes, twitching, whatever.... come to mind, and these can in fact be eliminated the way unwanted habits can.

Can we be organically predisposed to some habits? Some people think this is the case for alcoholism, for example, and there is much talk about "addictive personalities", but, again, I suspect that whatever organic weaknesses make one prone to drinking, smoking, overeating, depression are different from each other, and different from whatever causes stuttering. The trend seems to be that more and more of what we used to view as (controllable) bad habits have in fact some organic origin.

Comment: everybody seems to be coming from different stuttering paradigms

Actually they seem to be only two: genetic/organic and psychological (bad habit,
just say no.. etc.). But of course there are all kinds of shades in between. The problem is really that the two are not mutually exclusive and it's very hard to sort out the relative weights of both in the "full blown" manifestation of stuttering. I suspect that these relative weights are different for each stutterer, which leads to the differences in perception we often seem to display.

No comments: