Working with people who stammer: secondary school aged children to adults
Dysfluency describes a disorder which affects the fluency of speech production e.g. this could present as hesitations, repetitions and/or blocking. These changes in the flow of speech may impact on the person who stammers (PWS) social and emotional wellbeing.
Treatment of fluency disorders includes techniques to control the fluency of speech but can also focus on the ‘hidden’ parts of the stammer. These are the parts that are not noticeable to others but can cause a great deal of anxiety for the PWS. For example, the PWS may avoid certain situations or avoid certain words, they may have feelings of low self esteem. This can have an impact on the person who stammers social and emotional life and educational/employment prospects.
Positive changes in attitudes and feelings about yourself and your stuttering will lead to positive changes in your speechMalcom Fraser, Founder of The Stuttering Foundation
Onset of a fluency disorder often presents in childhood, however, a change in fluency can occur later in life either gradually or suddenly
Therapy for Dysfluency
This will include a detailed case history, gathering information on the onset and development of the stammer. Acoustic and perceptual evaluation of the speech/voice characteristics. Exploring the impact of the stammer on relationships, employment, education and recreation. Finding out the reason the PWS wants therapy at this point in his/her life.
Once the information on both the overt and covert features of the stammer have been gathered, we will agree a treatment plan, including goals for therapy.
Therapy may include the following:
- Helping the client understand speech production and identifying what he/she does when they stammer
- Improving general communication
- Teaching fluency/voice techniques and integrating them into everyday life.
- Using Psychological theories to explore and challenge the ‘hidden’ aspects of the stammer.
(e.g.Cognitive Behavioural therapy, mindfulness, Acceptance and commitment therapy)
Evidence based practice underpins the therapy offered. This involves keeping up to date with latest research and attending courses. See my blog for recent courses attended and a feature on the new president of the USA ‘A president with a stammer’
I am a member of;
The National Dysfluency Clinical Excellence Network for SLT’s
British Stammering Association www.stamma.org
This is an active and supportive charity offering all PWS information and support.
I have been working with PWS for many years and I hope to tailor a therapy program to meet the individual’s needs and achieve the goals set.