2018 Talk to a Professional

We are in graduate school studying Speech Pathology and have a question regarding the environmental impact on a clinical session between an SLP and a PWS. What are your thoughts on how much influence the environment has on therapy for PWS? We are wondering if a more natural environment,  such as a coffee shop, can lead to faster generalization as well as an increase in emotional confidence within the community than a traditional therapy room in a clinical setting.

Sarah Twigg, Dylan Thorp, Emily Taylor

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2018 Talk to a Professional — 3 Comments

  1. Y’all,
    In my experience, it is not the physical environment, but the different persons that need to be introduced in stuttering recovery exercises as soon as possible. I found that assigning the PWS to do some easy bounces with different people right from the start help. Then as therapy proceeds, the PWS is instructed to do some of the same exercises or simplified versions of the same exercises right from the start.

  2. Thanks for your nice question. indeed, generalization is one of the greatest challenges that we face in therapy (for stuttering or anything). Put simply, it’s easier for people to the things we hope for them to do (whether that is speech changes or attitudinal changes or whatever) in the safety and comfort of the therapy room with the clinician they trust. Taking that out into the “real world” is challenging.

    Therefore, I start working on generalization from minute one in therapy. Every activity is a generalization activity, because it occurs somewhere along a hierarchy from easier situations (like in the therapy room) and easier tasks (like talking to me) to harder situations/tasks (ordering coffee, for example). I work to ensure that I am bringing elements of the therapy setting out into the real world with the client (e.g., by having sessions at the coffee shop, going on “field trips,” “taking it on the road,” etc.) and by bringing elements of the real world into the therapy session (using real-world materials rather than canned approaches in therapy).

    Much more to say on this topic, of course, but this is a general overview of how I approach it. You’ll definitely want to be focusing on generalization from the very beginning.

    Good luck! Thanks again for posting.
    J Scott Yaruss

  3. Hi you guys,

    I am also a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology field. I enjoyed reading your guys’ post about generalization of stuttering. When thinking about this question, I thought about the therapy that we do with all of clients with speech and language disorders. It is always more challenging for these people to perform well in an outside environment compared to the therapy room. I feel that it is very important for our clients to feel comfortable with their disorder before they can use it in the “real world.” For example, we always start with articulation therapy in the therapy room and then eventually we attempt to generalize their progress by going out in the clinic area/on the quad/etc. I am assuming this holds true for stuttering, as well. Once the client has learned all of the techniques to overcome the disorder, they will be more likely to feel comfortable outside of the therapy room.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.