School

Stuttering Genes and Genetic Expression

Gene Expression

We invite you to listen-in to some of the greatest brains and latest findings (and ponderings) in this podcast from Stuttertalk.

They discuss the physical aspects of stuttering related to genes and brain structure as well as discussing “subgroups” in stuttering research.

Including Shelly Jo Kraft and Keiichi Yasu join Kerianne Druker and Tom Weidig, recorded in 2018 at the One World, Many Voices: Science and Community World Congress in Hiroshima.

 
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Dr. Shelly Jo Kraft researches etiology of stuttering and she leads global genetics research at Wayne State University. (See more about our research work with Shelly Jo Kraft)

Keiichi Yasu explores neuroscience and behavioral aspect of stuttering at Tsukuba University of Technology in Japan.

Kerianne Druker is PhD student and speech-language pathologist from Curtin University, Australia and member of Research & Publication Committee of the International Fluency Association (IFA).

Dr. Tom Weidig from Luxemberg is co-chair of the International Fluency Association’s Research & Publication Committee and creator and publisher of the Stuttering Brain Blog.

Joining UC Riverside School of Medicine

The team includes some of the greatest stuttering research minds in the world.

This summer 2019, Uri Schneider joins the faculty of University of California Riverside School of Medicine.

 
 

Uri’s appointment at UCR is coupled with his involvement in worldwide trans-disciplinary stuttering research. This cutting-edge research is on the frontier of exploration, seeking further understanding of the stuttering experience and better treatment options for stuttering from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Uri joins an illustrious team led by Dr. Gerald Maguire.

Dr. Gerald Maguire leading psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher, Director of the Kirkup Center for the Medical Treatment of Stuttering

Dr. Scott Yaruss leading clinical researcher at Michigan State

Dr. Shelly Jo Kraft leading genetic researcher from Wayne State

Dr. Per Alm leading neuroscience researcher from Uppsala University, Sweden

Uri Schneider joins this team to explore the frontiers of stuttering research, incorporating multiple disciplines and aspects of consideration including pharmacology, genetics, imaging and clinical profiles.

No one size fits all.

Uri brings unique interest in subgroups within the general population of people who stutter. By using all the tools at our disposal, we can identify and treat people more effectively and efficiently, giving each person the best individual care they deserve.

 
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VIDEO: Learning from Animal School

 
Educate each child
according to his/her way.
— Ethics of Our Fathers, Talmud
 

Education is similar to tending a garden of biodiversity. At first, we taking little sprouts and seedlings, and we invest a blend of nourishing care and supportive structures. We do this for days, weeks, months and years.

Then, we watch them grow-up.

If we’re lucky, we even take pride in their maturity and fruit-bearing years.

Diverse gardens require deliberate care.

 
Only with individualized care
can we reap the very best
individual - and collective - outcomes!
— Uri Schneider
 

Script of this most inspiring video

“Animal School” by R.Z. Greenwald


Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had four subjects ~ running, climbing, flying, and swimming ~ and all animals took all subjects.

The duck was good at swimming, better than the teacher, in fact. He made passing grades in running and flying, but he was almost hopeless in climbing. So they made him drop swimming to practice more climbing. Soon he was only average in swimming. But average is okay, and nobody worried much about it ~ except the duck.

The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there, which was against the rules. He always had to stay after school and write, "Cheating is wrong" five hundred times. This kept him from soaring, which he loved. But schoolwork comes first.

The bear flunked because they said he was lazy, especially in winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn't open then.

The penguin never went to school because he couldn't leave home, and they wouldn't start a school out where he lived.

The zebra played hooky a lot. The ponies made fun of his stripes, and this made him very sad.

The kangaroo started out at the top of the running class, but got discouraged trying to run on all fours like the other kids.

The fish quit school because he was bored. To him all four subjects were the same, but nobody understood that. They had never been a fish.

The squirrel got A's in climbing, but his flying teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. His legs got so sore practicing take-offs that he began getting C's and D's in running.

But the bee was the biggest problem of all, so the teacher sent him to Dr. Owl for testing. Dr. Owl said that the bee's wings were just too small for flying and besides they were in the wrong place. But the bee never saw Dr. Owl's report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway.

I think I know a bee or two, don’t you?

The duck is the child who does well in math and poorly in English and is given tutorials by the English teacher while his classmates are doing math. He loses his edge in math, and only does passably well in English.

The eagle is the child who is turned into a “troublemaker” because he has his own way of doing things. While he is not doing anything “wrong”, his non-conforming is perceived as troublemaking, for which he is punished.

Who does not recognize the bear? The kid who is great at camp and thrives on extra-curricular, but really just goes flat in academics.

The zebra is the heavy, tall, short or self-conscious kid whose failure in school, few realize is due to a sense of social inadequacy.

The kangaroo is the one who instead of persevering gives up and becomes the discouraged child, whose future disappears because he was not appreciated.

The fish is a child who really requires full special education and cannot shine in a regular class environment.

The squirrel, unlike the duck who “manages,” becomes a failure.

The bee, oh the bee. The bee is the child who the school just feels it cannot deal with, yet against all odds and with the backing of his parents, has enough self motivation to do well even though everyone thought he couldn’t.

I have had the pleasure of knowing many bees.

Each child is a unique blend of talents, personality, and ingredients… nowhere else to be found. Some children are skilled intellectually, others are blessed emotionally, and many are born with creative ingenuity. Each child possesses is very own exclusive collection of gifts. Children do not come with an instruction booklet. Effective parents are always learning, studying, and customizing the instructions for their individual child.

Each and every child is as unique as his fingerprints, a sparkling diamond of unparalleled beauty.

Don’t let your child be a kangaroo!

VIDEO: Stop Bullying with George Springer

George Springer has earned the MVP award in Major League Baseball - but he's also earned our respect for his consistent courage as an articulate spokesman and stand-out role-model for kids and young people who stutter.

 
 

Reigning World Series MVP George Springer joins the Shred Hate campaign to stop bullying and encourage young fans to "Choose Kindness"

 
I want kids to be themselves. And enjoy their lives.
— George Springer
 

Clients’ Voices: Ali Nicklas Talks about #Failure and #Resilience

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Ali Nicklas, Founder and President, Different & Able    anicklas@differentandable.org    www.instagram.com/differentandable

Ali Nicklas, Founder and President, Different & Able

anicklas@differentandable.org
www.instagram.com/differentandable

 

INTRODUCTION:

Good evening. Thank you Dr. Kinsey and Renata Henry for this opportunity. And thank you to the graduating class. It is an honor to be here at Hewitt, speaking with you, at your alumni induction dinner.

FAILURE:

I was told that the “word of the year” is “failure.” I know a little about that. I’ve done it several times. At this point, I would say I’ve learned to “fail very well.”

I want to share some words about my experiences at Hewitt, my journey and my failures.


TIME AT HEWITT:

It’s been 10 years since I graduated in the class of 2008, but my memories of my time here, are as vivid as ever. I remember my first day of Kindergarten, coming into my classroom, greeted by Ms. Notham and meeting the kids in my class. As much as I remember the visual scene; I also so remember the visceral feeling. It felt warm and inviting. It felt like a community.

I came to Hewitt as a child with a unique set of gifts, as well as a unique set of challenges. I had physical differences and learning difficulties unlike many of my classmates.

I worried if I would fit in. I wondered if I would measure-up to my parents’ and teachers’ expectations. I questioned what my future life could look like. Would I fail? Would I be able to make-it through and succeed? And it was scary at times.


CHALLENGES @ HEWITT:

Due to my learning challenges, geometry was really challenging. I thought math was about numbers, and then it became all about shapes and figures. (Until we got to algebra and that’s when math became all about letters a, b, c and x, y z.) I remember my teacher sitting down with me, telling me “don’t give up” - “you got this!”

Sports were also harder for me. I couldn’t run as fast as some of my peers because of my physical differences. I remember how my teachers supported and motivated me to “stick with it” and persevere even though it was hard.

There were many times I was overwhelmed. I wanted a pass. I wanted to quit.

I am where I am today, because I didn’t quit.

I am where I am today because of my teachers.

I am where I am today because of my family.

I am where I am today because of my inner resilience - I would show the world who I am on the inside!

And I am where I am today because of my differences.

Along the way, I learned how much, one-person can make a life-changing impact for another person. My friends, my teachers and my family, made the difference for me. And I am forever grateful, and ever-eager to give back.


GOALS AND PURPOSE IN LIFE:

So, it’s no surprise, I dreamt of a career of helping others, and paying-it-forward.

In the upper school, I enjoyed electives like “Anatomy and Physiology” and “Intro to Psychology.” I dreamt of becoming a doctor or psychologist.

So, when I went off to college, I registered for the courses in sciences and psychology. But it wasn’t what I expected! I didn’t enjoy the course material and by all measures, I failed the class. Suddenly, I was confronted by the fact that my dream of becoming a doctor or psychologist wasn’t looking likely. I was back to square-one. I wondered, and I feared:

What course of study was right for me?

What career should I pursue?

Was I going to be a failure?

It was then, I remembered geometry, gym class and the many times I struggled and even failed tests. In fact, it got so rough, there was a time in Hewitt middle school when we were considering whether Hewitt was the best place for me. Needless to say - I dug deeper, and found resources and success I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Sometimes, failure is like that: it forces you to dig deeper than you think you can. To tap into a reservoir of otherwise untapped power and ability. So, following my “failed attempt” with the sciences and psychology, I pivoted to linguistics and language disorders. These classes interested me, I enjoyed the material and I was excited by the career of speech language pathology. I declared my major in Speech Language Pathology. I graduated Marymount Manhattan College with my BA in Speech Language Pathology and thought to myself, grad school is the next step in my path to career success.

Well… I was in for a big surprise.

I succeeded in receiving admission to graduate school at Lehman College, AND coursework continued to be of-interest, AND even I performed well on coursework, BUT... the clinical practicum was really challenging for me. As hard as

I tried, I wasn’t finding my way and I wasn’t meeting my professors’ expectations. I tried my hardest the first time, and even after failing my practicum, I tried again, repeating the practicum a second time, and failing again. Double fail.

I realized I wasn’t able to succeed in the training - and the graduate program wasn’t a good fit for me. So I made the difficult decision to accept my failure, and I terminated my studies in Speech Language Pathology. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t a bright time for me. At this point, I had failed in my first pursuit of medicine and psychology. And now I had also failed in my pursuit to speech language pathology. 2 strikes. I didn’t know what to do. What kind of future was in-store for me? I was a flurry of ideas, doubts and challenges during this time.


STARTING D&A:

And then, a few experiences coincided:

1. My friend Valentine was creating a website for her nutrition practice.

2. And I was discussing my situation with a friend who is a speech therapist, and he suggested there might be a way to “give back,” doing meaningful work, making a difference and really achieving everything I wanted to achieve as a speech language pathologist - even if I wasn’t going to be a speech language pathologist.

And from these different experiences, conversations and insights, Different and Able was born in the fall of 2017.

I decided to use social media and a website to provide support and resources for people with “differences.” My passion grew; I invested more and more time collecting resources and personal stories; meeting leading professionals and celebrities; and starting a proper non-profit organization to grow Different and Able. My failures. My “near strike-out” actually laid the foundation for my foundation.

Through the Different & Able Foundation I am:

  • Empowering people who live with physical, learning, speech, emotional and medical differences;

  • Offering hope and inspiration, professional resources and a community of ongoing support;

  • Building a more diverse and tolerant community, with bridges of access for all people, irrespective of the differences in their abilities.

The website will launch soon. For now, you can follow-us on Instagram @differentandable

Now you see, I may have failed courses but I learned many lessons. I learned to reach high. I learned to work hard, and then when it gets tough… work harder. I learned to listen to myself. And I learned to lean-on others and listen to others’ journeys. And I learned that when you reach your limits, that’s where the real growth begins.

At my Hewitt graduation, I remember the speech delivered by Carolynn Erisman, the then Assistant Head of School. She called it: “Life is not a straight line”. Life isn’t a linear equation. It isn’t a straight line from here to who you become. Lean-into-it.

As the saying goes: “You may try and fail. Just make sure, you don’t fail to try!”

And if you do try, I promise you will find your meaning and purpose. And when you do, and whatever you become, come back to Hewitt to share your story so some 12th grade girls, and even younger ones, can learn from your life journey and find what path they choose to try.