Client with mild stutter?

I have an 11 year old client who stutters. I’ve heard him stutter twice over the past five sessions (we are also working on articulation of /r/). He typically stutters with friends and families in high energy situations. Outside of session, his mom says he stutters a lot, however client says he only stutters a few times a week. I see him on teletherapy so it’s difficult to recreate a high energy environment (we’ve tried bringing his siblings on, playing intense games like chess etc). My questions is suggestions on how to get him to stutter more during sessions?


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Client with mild stutter? — 3 Comments

  1. Hello! Thank you so much for asking a great question to the professional panel. I do have a couple of questions to follow up with this. Is there a reason to get him to “stutter more”? 🙂 Here are my thoughts:
    – How does stuttering effect his life right now? Does he seem to avoid communication at all? Stuttering therapy isn’t just about overt stuttering characteristics…. but also largely about the emotional experience. Stuttering ebs and flows and to stutter more prominently in a high energy situation versus a more comfortable/familiar situation is quite common…
    – What are the goals for this child in therapy? What does he want and what does his guardian want? Do they want the same things? Does the child want to work on stuttering and think it effects his daily living/school/life?

    Can you comment a bit more on these things? We don’t want to necessarily make him “stutter more” just to get him to stutter…. unless we are teaching him to use pseudo-stuttering as a skill for communication confidence to give him a sense of further communication control over his stuttering if that makes sense, or unless we are getting him to pseudo-stutter in practicing speaking skills/strategies (like stuttering modification) if that’s what he would like to work on in therapy/what his guardian also wants. 🙂

    Do these questions makes sense/help a bit thought process wise…. If you are able to respond that I will also look for a response and respond.

  2. Hi – Steff has given you an outstanding answer, and I don’t have much to offer except this: try to think about not just about the observable stuttering and how you can address the observable stuttering; think instead about whether or how stuttering is affecting the student (just as Steff said). If the student is not experiencing adverse impact, then it’s appropriate to talk to the parent about the fact that stuttering therapy isn’t designed to eliminate the stuttering but rather to help the student communicate easily. (This is important for parents to understand anyway.)

    I always get worried when I hear parents say “he still stutters” — of course he still stutters. The key is to ask if stuttering is causing a burden for him. If it is, then you can work on reducing that burden (regardless of whether or how much he stutters in a session). If it is not, then you can reasonably wonder why he’s in therapy. (That’s one of the reasons that Steff asked about goals, and she’s spot-on).

    Thanks for bringing your question to the group!

  3. Hi!
    I have the same reservations as Steff about getting him to stutter more!
    I feel the mistake we make with a lot of school going children is that we underestimate their metalinguistic and metacognitive abilities.. in simple terms we don’t give them as much agency to think and express for themselves, and about themselves, as they deserve.
    Ask this boy what problems he faces because of his stuttering. Work on ultimately solving those, and not just on the act of stuttering.
    Talk to the parent about the discrepancies in their perception of impact of stuttering and the client’s.. figure out why the discrepancies exist.
    Sit with both the client and the caregiver and figure out common goals that are actually going to make a positive difference in this boy’s life.
    Hope this helps!