Very excited to be helping to facilitate a FRIENDS workshop on March 28, 2015 in Washington, D.C. There will be sessions for children, teens, siblings, parents and speech-language pathologists . You can learn more about this wonderful organization by visiting their website at http://www.friendswhostutter.org/.
If you had a chance to go back in time, would you do things differently? Is there advice you might give your younger self, knowing what you know now? Why not put it in writing? Simon Walsh, a person who stutters and the host of the blog "Diary of a Stutterer", did just that. After reading his post, I immediately knew I wanted to use this idea in my own therapy room. The purpose of this assignment is not to dwell on "mistakes" of the past, but rather to help identify all the positive changes that have been made. This is a fun way to get students talking about the consequences of previous unhelpful thoughts or habits so that if they were to reappear, which habits so often do, the student might be better equipped to identify and extinguish them. For younger students and students that are new to therapy, this assignment can be adapted by having them write a letter to their future self. Instead of focusing on how things have changed and what they have learned, instead this assignment allows students to ask questions they may have about stuttering and identify things that they want to change.
This is one of my favorite therapy activities! With permission from the student, I have posted an example of one of these letters. Do you have any similar activities you have done with your student, your child or something you did for yourself? Post below!
Both parents and speech therapists alike find themselves struggling to decide when therapy is complete for someone who stutters. Therapy for a child who has difficulty saying their "r"s has a distinct beginning and end (i.e. when a child meets criterion for 90% accuracy in conversation), however, stuttering is much more variable, by nature. In fact, once a child reaches the age of 8, it is much more likely that their stuttering is going to persist, in some form. Does this mean that therapy will continue forever?? The idea of therapy continuing indefinitely is daunting to both the therapist who has to continue to think of new and exciting activities and the parent who has to both make room in their schedule and in their budget!
A few months back one of my fabulous students, Spencer, wrote a letter to Vice President Joe Biden and shared with him his experiences with stuttering. As many of you may know, VP Biden, whose very job it is to speak publicly, identifies as a person who stutters (PWS). He is a spokesperson for the American Institute of Stuttering and has spoken publicly about stuttering on such talk shows as The View (posted above). Because I am so very proud of Spencer and all of my students for their willingness to advertise and educate others on stuttering, I have attached the letter Spencer received from Biden (upon Spencer's permission of course!)
Hi! My name is Zack and I have been participating in speech therapy on and off since I was 11 years old and now I am 16 years old. This is a public opinion survey to research how people feel and react to stuttering. Please answer the questions freely, as this is an anonymous survey. Once you have completed the survey, you have the option to leave your email so that we can send you a free informative brochure on stuttering!
Although we all look forward to the summer, June through August can bring with it some changes that impact the fluency of a person who stutters. Changes in routine, taking a prolonged break from speech therapy, and the stresses of a new environment and people (such as a new summer camp group) can act as triggers. However, these "changes" are learning experiences (both for the child who stutters and their parent) in how to cope with both easy and hard speech days!
Don't shy away from these new experiences, just go into them prepared!
Below is an example of an assignment I give to clients who are taking a break from speech therapy over the summer months. Going into each week with a speech challenge, no matter how small it may seem, is essential to easing into the changes of summer and maintaining good speech habits! I usually encourage students to email me each week with a speech update and in doing so they begin to take ownership of their speech work. Even if you're not a student of mine, go ahead, email me how you're doing each week!
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this website is to act as an educational aid and address common topics associated with stuttering. It is not intended to replace the need for services provided by a licensed speech pathologist who can tailor treatment to an individual's needs.