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Listening is a tool to use before you speak

illustrationThere is a well known saying, “we were born with one mouth and two ears because listening is twice as important as speaking”. For those of us that stutter, we probably think about communication more than most. However, what we often fail to realise is how communication is a two-way process. If I am to become a better communicator, and I don’t mean someone who does not stutter, it is imperative I listen, and do it actively. Words have for some time been my nemesis. I’ve changed what I wanted to say mid sentence, used fillers and avoided those awkward vowels and consonants to make my delivery appear more fluent. It’s a tiresome and frustrating sequence of events that has led me to wonder if I ever have the time to actually listen to what others are saying to me.

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Did Alan Turing stutter?

Alan TuringAlan Turing

You may have seen the recent movie, The Imitation Game, about British mathematician Alan Turing. During the Second World War he devised a machine, much like a computer, to break the encrypted "Enigma" code used by the Germans for communication. This gave the Allies a secret advantage and the ability to end the war much earlier than otherwise possible. Turing was not publicly credited for this during his lifetime.

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How to Survive Your First Conference

The Canadian Stuttering Association is having a one-day conference this month in Toronto. It will feature a number of speakers giving short presentations on stuttering, from personal stories to scientific research on the causes and treatments for stuttering. For more information, check out the website. Alexandra, a CSA board member, offers advice here for people who have never attended a conference for people who stutter.

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Anxiety and stuttering treatment

illustrationSummary of the Research paper: Anxiety of children and adolescents who stutter: A review. By Kylie A. Smith, Lisa Iverach, Susan O’Briand, Elaina Kefalianosa, and Sheena Reilly. Published in the Journal of Fluency Disorders 40 (2014) 22–34.

Approaches to stuttering treatment have undergone changes over the decades. As in any field, practitioners don’t always entirely agree. But one thing all speech pathologists would definitely concur on is the need for more research into the nature of stuttering, its impact and causes, and implications for better treatment methods.

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The stuttering patient: Stuttering and health care

This is a summary and review of the article "A Simple Case Of Chest Pain: Sensitizing Doctors To Patients With Disabilities" by Leana S. Wen, from Health Affairs, October 2014.

Leana Wen Dr. Leana S. Wen

In the recent issue of Health Affairs, Dr. Leana S. Wen discusses the problems people with communication difficulties sometimes have getting adequate medical attention. As she is a person who stutters herself, she brings some insight to the problem. In the article, she relates a story that took place in the emergency ward of a hospital where she was working as an intern. Late at night, a man with chest pains was brought in. He stuttered badly when the senior resident talked to him, and the doctor walked away from him telling Leana to “talk slowly so he understands.”

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More NSA Conference reflections

Casey (2nd from right) and conference friends Casey (2nd from right) and conference friends

I stepped into a beautiful hotel lobby on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Washington, DC. Almost immediately I could sense that this conference was going to be extraordinarily and terrifyingly special. I saw groups of people – hundreds of people – mingling, talking, and laughing. Old friends, spotting each other from across the room, excitedly called to each other to catch up on close friendships that had been put on hold since last July. Many “first-timers” were excitedly introduced to complete strangers as though they were family members not yet met. Others, like myself, stood for a few seconds on the sidelines with suitcases, watching in awe.

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