University of South Florida

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences


CSD associate professor returns to alma mater to discuss stuttering as neurodivergence debate

Nathan Maxfield

Maxfield speaks to attendees of the alumni event in New York.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Associate Professor Nathan Maxfield, PhD, CCC-SLP gave an invited presentation titled "Stuttering as Neurodivergence?" at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center PhD Program in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences 2023 Alumni Event. The theme of the event was "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility."

His talk addressed the current debate about whether the verbal condition of stuttering should be approached using a medical model of disability, which aims to normalize people who stutter, using the neurodiversity model of disability, which aims to help people who stutter adapt while creating a social environment in which it is easier to stutter, or some combination of these two models. Maxfield reviewed literature addressing both sides of this debate and then presented his own perspectives as a person with a history of severe stuttering who is also a speech pathologist.

The event took place in midtown Manhattan and was the first in-person alumni event of the program since New York City reopened from the COVID pandemic lockdown. Maxfield completed his PhD at CUNY Graduate Center in 2005.

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The Mission of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) is to advance knowledge through interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service that improves the capacity of individuals, families, and diverse communities to promote productive, satisfying, healthy, and safe lives across the lifespan. CBCS envisions the college as a globally recognized leader that creates innovative solutions to complex conditions that affect the behavior and well-being of individuals, families, and diverse communities.