The Friends Stuttering Group has grown from monthly meetings held at Eve's house with only 2 students attending, to now as many as 12 students that meet in different local establishments, including laser tag and bowling. What makes this group so special is that not only do the children get a chance to meet peers that share similar experiences and feelings, but their families are also invited to participate. Both the children and their parents are given the opportunity to develop a support system, which is an invaluable aspect of stuttering treatment. In addition to families, classroom teachers have taken the initiative to join these meetings as well. FSG allows for students to practice using their strategies in "real life" situations such as introducing themselves or ordering food. Eve sends out monthly updates to the student's therapists to share what occurred at the meetings and to pass along articles to assist in educating everyone on stuttering.
With budget cuts and the "politics" involved in receiving funding, therapists interested in starting their own stuttering groups must first work towards educating their school districts about stuttering and the needs of these students. WIth a little bit of creativity to keep costs down and a whole lot of perseverance, the therapists at KUSD were able to create a group that is surely making a substantial impact on the lives of the students involved. If you have any questions about the Friends Stuttering Group and how you might be able to develop a similar group, please comment below and I will be happy to direct questions to the FSG therapists.
Do you have a stuttering therapy or support group similar to this in your community or school district? Please share with us and inspire other therapists to do the same!