Calling ALL SLPs: Stuttering Challenge

I am earning my masters in speech-language pathology at Touro College. I am taking my first fluency disorders class this semester, and I love it! As part of our midterm grade our professor asked us to do a project in which we must stutter in a public place, with a stranger for at least 5 minutes. I completed this assignment and was astonished by some of the responses I received! Some people I encountered were empathetic, while others were cruel and completely inappropriate in the way in which they responded to dysfluent speech.

This was an extremely enlightening experience for me! It allowed me to enter the world of a PWS, and truly understand what they have to deal with on a daily basis.

The question that I am possing is do you think ASHA would ever consider making this a requirement in the certification process? We often times have students and adults on our caseload who have fluency disorders. But we never truly understand what they go through, this would give us a better insight to our clients feelings and emotions, and perhaps better assist us in our delivery approach for PWS.

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Calling ALL SLPs: Stuttering Challenge — 1 Comment

  1. Dear Kolson,
    I always gave my students an assignment to voluntarily stutter in public. I had them do only three (and potentially) short situations. I did it for two reasons. First, it gave them a chance to get at least a taste of what some stutterers experience, although it is not at all the same experience of a real stutterer. Second, if they were later to take their clients out to do public speaking situations, they would be much more successful with fearful clients if they did the first 10 situations themselves. Some past experience certainly helps in such circumstances.
    I can tell you that I have been challenged–not by students but by a well-respected colleague–about this assignment. She asked, “If you were teaching a class in mental retardation [the old terminology, I realize], would you ask your students to go out in public and pretend to be mentally retarded?” That was tough to answer. And after that, I always made a point to tell my students never to try to purposely make others any more uncomfortable than the stuttering itself might do.
    So, no, I do not believe this should be a requirement for certification. It’s a good thing to do, but when activities such as these are institutionalized, there are always problems that cannot be anticipated. For example, stuttering is seen much differently in different cultures around the world, and so is the fact of walking up to strangers and talking with them.
    Just my opinion…