About the presenter: Carol Mary Nolan is a Carmelite Sister for the Aged and Infirm. As a person who clutters she has experienced the frustration of getting a variety of diagnoses for her communication difficulties. A board certified specialist in fluency disorders identified her problem as "cluttering" paired with difficulty in language. She is a member of the National Stuttering Association and has attended several conferences. In 2009, she founded the "Cluttering Speech" Facebook group as a forum for persons who clutter.


Cluttering Speech: A Facebook Social Network for Persons Who Clutter

by Sr. Carol Mary Nolan
from Massachusetts, USA

I am a person who clutters in her speech. I'm the youngest of six siblings, the only one with a speech problem. My early developmental milestones were reported to be within the normal range. My mother's pregnancy was full term and without complications. My mother, a registered nurse, identified my speech problem very early in my childhood and took me to speech therapy. In 1964, when I was ten years old, my mother took my to the Boston Children's Hospital for evaluation. It was established there that my problem was in the language area of speech. In 1972, I again attended speech therapy for a few months during my last year of high school. I tried speech therapy again in 1981 and in the mid 1990's with the same therapist I had seen in 1972. He had become a board certified specialist in fluency disorders, one of about 20 in the state. He identified my speech problem as "cluttering," paired with difficulty in language. He stated that my "executive language function" was not automatic.

In 1999, I joined the Boston-North Chapter of the National Stuttering Association and attended NSA Conferences in Boston (2001) and Anaheim (2002). When the American Speech and Hearing Association conference was in Boston in 2007, I was able to attend a meeting of the International Cluttering Association and meet several professionals interested in cluttering. After searching for many years to learn more about my speech problem, I have finally been able to find people who are knowledgeable about cluttering! It has been a long, and sometimes frustrating journey!

I started the Facebook group "Cluttering Speech" in March 2009 because I wanted to increase awareness of cluttering and to create a social network for persons interested in speech dysfluencies to help to put cluttering on the map.

In the year since its inception, the group has grown to about 150 members, all ages from all over the world. At the beginning, I wanted to invite every person who clutters that I could find, so I sent a message through the Yahoo group, also represented in this first online conference.

I think it has gone well so far. A lot of people have written on the "Wall," sharing other web sites and seminars related to speech. They also leave comments related to cluttering. Some people seek information and others share personal experiences. Students of speech pathology write, seeking subjects for their thesis. There's also a place for discussions, people have created about 7-8 topics. In the information area, I have included the link for the International Cluttering Association: http://associations.missouristate.edu/ICA/.

In the future, I hope that the group will be a source of information and hope for persons who clutter. From time to time I send news about cluttering.

All are invited to join the group. You need to sign up for a Facebook account first. Then visit this site and click the JOIN button to connect with "Cluttering speech." All are welcome!


SUBMITTED: March 10, 2010

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