Advice for future SLP’s

Hey! We are two graduate students from the University of South Carolina earning our master’s in Speech Language Pathology and are currently taking a course on stuttering. We loved exploring your page and learning more about stuttering. After reading some of your pages content we had a few questions for you.

Throughout your daily routine, where in your life do you experience the most pressure to avoid stuttering? What steps can be taken either by you or another party to alleviate those pressures? What can we as future SLP’s incorporate into our future practice to best improve the therapy for a stutterer?

Look forward to hearing from you!


Eliza Jane and Mackinlee

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Advice for future SLP’s — 5 Comments

  1. I think the best advice for future SLPs who want to successfully work with people who stutter is to create a therapeutic alliance with your client. Ask the client what she wishes to work on and develop those goals together.

    In my opinion, the SLP should not assume they have expertise with stuttering, thus conveying a “I know what is best” dynamic.

    It’s important to know and understand that a person who stutters is an expert on their unique experience with stuttering. And recognize that every person who stutters is on different stages of their journey and also on the continuum of stuttering – from being OK with it to wanting absolutely no one to know.

    Your other question: where in my life do I feel the most pressure to avoid stuttering? I don’t much avoid stuttering anymore, but situations where there is time pressure can be difficult and stressful, because sometimes my head is telling me to hurry up as I don’t want to burden the listener.

    Thanks for asking. I think many PWS have an attitude of “nothing about us without us.”


  2. Hello,

    I can just emphasise the importance of Pam first answer. Great SLPs are those who understand the person who stutters in front of them, and adapt their therapy to the need and the personality of that person. Copy pasting techniques often does not work

    My life challenge is/was to accept my stutter and its consequence on my whole life (family, friends, intimate, hobbies, professional). A few years ago I started to let go the fear from stuttering and just accept it as it is. That does not mean that I do not work on myself anymore. However, I am not obsessed with fluency anymore.
    I managed to do so thanks to the support of my relatives but mostly because of my SLP who helped me to accept my stutter and let go


  3. To me it’s hard to speak with people (incl myself) who are in a rush, who interrupt and finish my sentences, loud noise, big groups and people who make me feel inferior. It’s not always easy to speak, so respect my speech by simply let me speak, be a good listener, remain eye contact and show you listen to what I say instead of how I say it. And if you wonder about something, ask and get the elephant out of the room. But I too can do something about that. I’ll tell you when I don’t want you interrupt or finish my words. And at noisy and busy events, I either chose to stutter or to go outside with the person/people I want to talk to.

    And there’s so much you can do to make it easier for us. In my keynote speech for the ISA World Congress I spoke about just that. As PWS are such a huge variation of people, all with a different stutter, a different background, with different experiences AND with different wants and needs, there is no one therapy for all. One might want fluency, another might want confidence, the third might want public speaking skills, the fourth might simply want relaxation. A multi-disciplinary approach, with not just clinicians, but also using yoga, song, mindfulness and massage might do the trick. Just like going to the gym is not for all. Sometimes the tools aren’t right, sometimes the clinician/trainer, sometimes the time isn’t right. So by listening to the client and, together with the client, find a smorgasbord of activities to pick from, and maybe invite a friend to the therapy room to help your client with the challenges and exercises outside the therapy room might be the key. (Just as it’s more fun to do tough things together with a friend.) So, give the client a smorgasbord, explain the different “dishes” and let the client pick and choose and give it a try. It’s the combination of “flavors” that can make the perfect “dish”. Being in this “kitchen” together, client and clinician, makes a team and can maybe create new “dishes”, instead of a teacher-student situation where one simply does what he is told, leaving the room with a sigh of relief. And what is more rewarding than for a client to feel proud and wanting to keep on expending comfort zones and new speaking levels, and for the clinician to watch and cheer the client, you’ve been coaching, reaching new levels. The books need to be rewritten, from counting stuttered syllables, risking to silence the client, to counting life successes, as that’s what really matters.

    Stay safe and keep them talking


  4. As a person who stutters we tend to want to avoid stuttering in situations where we believe the consequences are the highest. If I stutter in this situation what impression will I give. Will it effect my self esteem?. Will the person wonder what is going on and how will I feel about that? Will the person take me seriously? Will the person want to speak with me? Am I better off getting my fluency technique working better today then attempt the speaking situation? Should I just avoid that situation all together and just send an email? To better assist people who stutter SLPs could first hep their client to change their thoughts and feelings around the experience of dysfluent speech. Learn to accept their differences and be less judgmental of themself. When I person who stutters can learn to accept themself they are then ready to learn to stutter in a different way. A way that is more acceptable to themself and others. Then and only then can the SLP work of fluency shaping techniques to help the client speak more fluently but this requires the client to think and speak in a different way. All of this is better handled by a and SLP who has experience and specialist skills in working with adult stutterers. have a read of my Stuttering Jack blog where I talk about a lit of this.

  5. Hello,

    I do not feel pressure to avoid stammering at this stage;that would be going back to the dark gloomy days where I would do anything to hide my stammer. I have learnt to be confident in tough speaking situations and be myself as a PWS. Being myself means that is the way I speak and I may not be able to speak as fluently as others.Again, the emphasis here is delivering excellent communication and once I do that the pressure is taken off.

    What you can do to be excellent SLPs is to treat every client as a novel case. Do well to assess the nature of the person’s stammer and their individual peculiar conundrums. It is about the person and not what you know already. Be open to new learning and change and you’ll become that versatile SLP the world is awaiting!


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