Japan Society of Stuttering and Other Fluency Disorders

Greeting from the President


Taiko Nagasawa

The Japan Society of Stuttering and Other Fluency Disorders (JSSFD), established in 2013, had its second board election in 2019, following the procedures in the Bylaws. The election resulted in my serving as president for another three years. I appreciate your confidence in me.

JSSFD has been engaging in various activities in order to raise the QOL of people with stuttering. However, our activities are, unfortunately, not sufficient to achieve our goal. In order to solve those problems, we need the cooperation and encouragement of the community, in addition to the members of the JSSFD.

The JSSFD has had seven annual congresses. Each congress finished successfully as a result of the devoted efforts of the chairperson, the executive committee, and the members of the JSSFD. The sixth congress, held in Hiroshima in 2018, was especially notable because it was an international congress, which the JSSFD cohosted with the Japanese Stuttering Genyukai Association, a Japanese self-help group for people with stuttering, in cooperation with the International Fluency Association, the International Cluttering Association, and the International Stuttering Association. More than 600 people, including participants from overseas, participated in the Hiroshima Congress in spite of problems caused by a destructive typhoon in western Japan shortly before the start of the congress. The special lectures, symposiums, individual presentations, and post-congress seminars were all exciting and significant.

Public perception and awareness of stuttering seems to have changed considerably in recent years. For example, stuttering has been bought up by the mass media, including newspapers and television; meetings have provided information about stuttering for junior and senior high school students; meetings for parents of children with stuttering, such as a “stuttering café”, have enabled parents and children to learn together about stuttering; and seminars conducted by people who stutter have been increasing in number . Furthermore, group teaching has expanded in special speech classes in elementary schools, where children are encouraged to focus on their attitudes and emotions about stuttering and learn to talk about them with others, using their own words. Most of the leaders of these activities are members of JSSFD. I am really proud of those members.

Incidentally, the first class on stuttering that I took was at the graduate school of Wichita State University in the state of Kansas in 1963, more than 50 years ago. The professor started with this question: “Why do we have two brains?” It was at that time that the “diagnosogenic” theory by Wendell Johnson was considered the best theory of stuttering. That lecture was given by Dr. Martin F. Palmer, who, in the 1950s, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Tsuneo Taguchi, had visited Japan as an advisor and studied the circumstances of Japanese people with speech and language disorders. In Dr. Palmer’s exciting course, a variety of topics including physiology, psychology, and sociology were discussed, but I especially remember what he said at the end of the semester about clinical work: “The foundation of speech-language pathology is surely science. However, in clinical practice, science is only 5%, whereas art is 95%. Never forget that.” In 1970, I started to work as a speech and language specialist at a welfare center in Tokyo. Two years later, I began to work at the National Institute of Special Education in Yokosuka. When I was struggling with my clinical work every day, the words of Dr. Palmer came back to me. I realized then that I was struggling because I pursued only science and disregarded art.

The purpose of the JSSFD is improving the quality of life of people with stuttering and other fluency disorders. We have many things to do in order to accomplish this aim, including supporting people with these disorders and their parents, early intervention, enlightenment of the public about stuttering, and therapy for stuttering. All of these activities are difficult to do alone. After all, as the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. I believe that we should continue to make an honest effort, sometimes altering our own behavior. I want to continue this work with the help of all members of the JSSFD .

Taiko Nagasawa, D.H. Sc.

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