National Stuttering Project to Hold 14th Annual Convention In Amherst

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: June 19, 1997 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- P.F. Bentley, a photographer and special correspondent for TIME who is a stutterer, will deliver the keynote address at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 28, during the National Stuttering Project's (NSP) 14th Annual Convention. The convention will be held June 26-28 in the Buffalo/Niagara Marriott, 1340 Millersport Highway, Amherst.

More than 400 children, teens and adults from the U.S., Canada and several foreign countries are expected to attend the convention co-hosted by the University at Buffalo's Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic.

Other highlights of the convention will include a presentation on the latest in stuttering research at 10 a.m., Friday, June 27, by Gerald Maguire, M.D., of the University at California-Irvine. Maguire has conducted extensive neurological research into brain activity that may be a cause of stuttering.

Also featured during the convention will be more than 40 self-help and other workshops, presentations and a day-long session on Saturday for youths who stutter and their parents.

Bonnie L. Weiss, convention chair and a member of the NSP's board of directors, notes that there are an estimated 3 million children and adults in the U.S. who stutter. Their numbers include actors James Earl Jones and Bruce Willis, ABC-TV "20/20" reporter John Stossel, country-Western singer Mel Tillis and Sen. Joseph Biden.

Some experts believe the problem originates in the brain's processing of thought into speech. Others advance a theory that fine motor control and muscle coordination of the speech organs may be responsible for the dysfuntion. Genetics also may play a role.

There are several therapeutic approaches that can help individuals who have the disorder.

NSP, celebrating its 20th anniversary, has more than 4,000 members nationally, with local support groups in 55 cities, including Buffalo. A non-profit organization, it provides information, advocacy and support through local chapter meetings, a newsletter, regional workshops and published materials.

For more information on the event call 1-800-364-1677.