#1 Tip for Communicating with PWS

Hi, I am a masters student in speech pathology. What is the most important thing people should know or do when communicating with people who stutter in order to best support their communication. Thank you! 

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#1 Tip for Communicating with PWS — 1 Comment

  1. Hi! This is such a good question. I really love how you said, “in order to best support their communication.” Look at you showing that empathy already! 🙂 The most important thing, in my opinion, that you can know or do when communicating with a person who stutters is to ask the person who stutters what they prefer while you are communicating with them. Not interrupting a person who stutters while they are communicating is huge. Most individuals do not like to be interrupted, whether they stutter or not.. it’s just not a pragmatically nice thing to do to someone. Some people who stutter do not mind if a close family or friend interrupt them and they may have that agreement, but they may really mind when their SLP interrupts them. Some people who stutter, however, may have a different preference. I am a PWS (along with being an SLP) and just to share, my journey with stuttering started four months ago, as I now have an acquired neurogenic stutter (due to head injury.) Well, I also have a physiological concomitant medical condition of lung disease that causes me to have shortened breath support with speaking and a voice disorder. So, if I am in a short block while stuttering, it is physically painful to my lungs (let alone a longer block.) I actually appreciate being interrupted because it is relieving to me. It relieves my physical lung pain in that moment. I must tell you, I may be a rare case…. (well, there may be someone with lung disease that also stutters out there) but my point is, that a speech pathologist may assume that ALL people who stutter don’t like to be interrupted… and I happen to be one (because of my medical condition) that does. So, ask the person sitting in front of you for speech therapy what they prefer. How do they feel about specific aspects of their OWN stuttering journey? What do they call their own stuttering and how do they feeling about certain stuttering terminology (yes, people who stutter have feelings about certain words that we use in the therapy room and may not like some of those words… just like we have feelings about words with anything in our world and we need to be sensitive to that in the therapy room, specifically with adults but also be sensitive to what we are pressuring children to do or be too.) Once you establish their preferences, parent preference, meeting child and parent goals in the middle, and you develop a relationship… a mutual therapeutic alliance, the therapy journey can be so beautiful for the both of you. Because it is their stutter, not yours… and each person who stutters has their own individualized journey that we are so thankful to be a part of. 🙂 Thanks for chiming in and I hope this helped! The Stuttering Foundation of America website also has a great “tips for listeners” handout that is so helpful, and you can print it for free I believe or find it for low cost, so check it out.

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