John Harrison’s Take on Stuttering and Me

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John Harrison’s Take on Stuttering and Me

John Harrison is a founding member of the National Stuttering Association and a great leader in the stuttering community. John stuttered until he was in his 20’s and was part of the personal growth movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Most importantly he brought enlightenment to the stuttering community through his monumental book Redefining Stuttering and the life changing workshops he led. I have known John for many years. Here John talks about why he and I have decided to do joint webinars.

I met Barbara at a stuttering conference put on by the professional community in Munich in 1994.  When we first met, I was immediately struck by how different Barbara’s ideas were from those of a traditional SLP.   She didn’t obsessively focus on the person’s speech but on the individual behind the speech.  She would form a holistic picture o
f the individual and how everything interacted.  I found everything she said a breath of fresh air.

That’s why it was so exciting to meet Barbara.  For the first time, I had found a kindred soul in the professional world.  By 1996 I had been involved with stuttering for 61 years (I started stuttering at age 2.)  In San Francisco I had been actively been involved in the personal growth, self-discovery movement that characterized life in San Francisco in the 60s and 70s.  By the time I joined the dozen or so people in San Francisco who made up the first chapter of the National Stuttering Project (now the NSA) I was sure I had figured out what stuttering and blocking were all about.  In 1984 I came up with the concept of the stuttering hexagon and presented it at the NSP’s first national conference.  I say “national” with my fingers crossed.  We had 30 people at our first national event.  29 attendees came from San Francisco and one came from Seattle.

In the 33 years since I first introduced the stuttering hexagon, more and more people have come to understand blocking and stuttering as a problem that involves the whole person.  And in the webinar on July 16th, that holistic concept will underlie everything we say and do.  Barbara has had some real successes in whole person speech therapy.


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