My first NSA – Parsippany, NJ, Jun 25-28, 2008

A conference like NSA is transforming for the first timers.

This time, there were about 600 people who stutter, their family members, SLPs and researchers attended. The place was in Parsippany, New Jersey, in a castle-like Sheraton Hotel.

Wednesday – a long drive from North Carolina to New Jersey. Arrived at about 5 o’clock. Met with some old friends, such as Ted from Australia, Tammy from Arizona, whom I got to know 4 years ago in Australia World Congress for PWS. Talked with a lot of new friends.

Thursday – Dr. Patricia Zebrowski’s presentation. She is from Univ. of Iowa, former student of Dr. Conture. Her speech was about treatment and positive attitude. I did not finish it because some dude kept standing up and talking about his own experience and feelings of shame, guilt, and hopelessness. Of course these were great topics, and inspiring to many new comers. Probably not for me.

Then I came to Seton Hall univ., about 25 miles away. A compact and beautiful campus in a small town. They don’t have their own clinic, so students have to practice clinical stuff in various clinics. Their speech dept. chair, Dr. Orlikoff, is leaving for West Virginia. Ludo Max used to work there, and Dr. Balasubramania, an Indian, had some publications with him.

And I did not miss Dr. Dennis Drayna’s speech about his recent development in genetic investigation of stuttering. Stuttering is partly contributed by gene, with a correlation of 0.4-0.6. Various stuttering people may have different mutation in the gene, and new result just came days ago. Wait and see.

A great night with all the food and Karaoke. Some of these stutterers were really crazy at the time. Another evidence that personality is not a big issue for stutterers. The Our Time Theatre kids performed on stage, a little big, and I was so moved by their courage. I could not do that when young and stuttering badly.

Missed Dr. Scott Yarus and Dr. John Tetnowski’ speech about childhood stuttering treatment. Dr. Tetnowski is from Indiana University at Lafayette, last year’s SLP of the year awarded by NSA, and a “fluency specialist” approved by ASHA. To read more of him, see here and here. Dr. Tetnowski had published something interesting, like stuttering and the moya-moya disease, stuttering and music, etc. He could be described as a clinical researcher.

Friday – So sleepy in the morning. Glad I did not miss Dr. Gerald McGuire’s speech about, of course, medications. The good news is that they are still on phase III of pegaclone, and probably at the ending stage. But they, or the company, is still seeking buyer for the drug.

The night belonged to New York.

Saturday – Drove back.

Some highlights:

I will write tomorrow.

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