This blog posts was written by Stephen Groner. He’s an SLP and a person who stutters. He has an amazing website (and Instagram page!) filled with tons of tips for SLPs who work with students who stutter!
If you haven’t checked out his website before, I’d recommend that you start with this post. It’s amazing.
So here’s Stephen’s top 3 mistakes that he sees SLPs making when it comes to stuttering:
1. Not buying my Ultimate How to Treat Stuttering Package. (just kiddingggg;))
Real # 1. Not generalizing outside the therapy room from Day 1. It is incredibly hard to use fluency techniques to speak more fluently. It’s usually always worth it to me, but darn, it’s hard. In the intensive stuttering therapy program I attended, at the end of the very first day, after we’d been taught to stretch out our syllables for 2 seconds to slow our speech down so we could learn to implement other fluency techniques, we had to tell the entire group of participants and their gathered parents what our names were, stretching out each syllable for 2 seconds. Talk about excruciating. But it was so GOOD. That continued for the whole program. Every time we’d learn a new technique, we’d have to use it IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE. That day. That hour. It made it a lot less scary, gave me more confidence, and trained my brain how to juggle all the chainsaws at once thinking of what I wanted to say and how to say it using my fluency techniques. Generalizing in front of other people (most familiar first!) has GOT to be a consideration of treatment starting on day 1. If it’s there on day 1, it’ll be easier on every day after that.
2. SLPs teaching self-advertising and/or pseudostuttering first, before anything else. I’m a huge advocate of self-advertising my stuttering and am even a fan of pseudostuttering, and both can reduce stuttering and increase positive speech attitudes, but sometimes those are the techniques that are led with straight out of the gate and, let me tell you, if you pulled me out of my 2nd grade class and made me pseudostutter in front of you for 30 minutes, I would never come back. Now, that could just be my personality, and I’d never attempt to speak for the entire stuttering community, but in my estimation and practice, I always teach at lease one technique that is something physical the client can do to reduce their stuttering. Only after I’ve armed them with physical tools they can use to I weave in self-advertising and pseudostuttering. You see, stuttering’s not “fun.” Telling others you stutter isn’t “fun.” Making a client go through that grueling experience before you’ve even hinted at the techniques that could help them to stutter less in front of other people is a disservice.
3. SLPs focusing entirely on speaking feelings and attitudes or entirely on speech fluency. We all know we should treat the ABC’s of stuttering, the affective (or emotional), behavioral (or speech), and cognitive (or thought) facets of stuttering. But sometimes I see SLPs treating JUST feelings about fluency without actually teaching fluency! Other times, I see drill-and-kill on fluency techniques with no feelings work. When we say we have to treat all facets of the disorder, that doesn’t mean we just get to treat the facet we’re most comfortable with. It means treat them ALL, hopefully every session.
I’m always looking to grow my professional knowledge when it comes to stuttering. Stephen’s website and materials have been so helpful for me so I hope this post (and all of his other information!) helps you if you’re in the same boat.
Thanks for reading!