Differences are GOOD!

Hello, My nam is Chloe Chappell and I am an aspiring SLP studying at the University of Akron. I one day hope to help people accept their disabilities or disorders as a special part of themselves rather than a curse. Throughout your experience, What have you found to be some of the best therapeutical techniques to help people over come bullies? How have you helped PWS or other disorders raise their self esteem and become comfortable with themselves? Finally, How can I help these people prior to entering the field? 

Thanks for your time and expertise. Chloe 

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Differences are GOOD! — 2 Comments

  1. Yikes! Curse?! Please be cautious with the language you use when discussing stuttering with family, clients and other professionals. To promote stigma about stuttering is one of the most harmful things we can do. Also, to simplify the process of acceptance is also detrimental. People can’t “just get over it” and accept that you have a “special part of” you. Acceptance is about understanding, not throwing in the towel. You don’t need to like stuttering to accept/recognize/manage it. Helping PWS with self esteem is a journey and one that you guide, not direct. Listen to your client, develop skills with each child or adult you see on your caseload and know that their journey is an individualized process regardless of your/their goals–be they managing bullying, developing self confidence, or acceptance.

  2. Hello, Chloe. Thank you so much for asking questions of the professional panel. I copied and will paste your questions here to make sure that I address them all, but before I do that, congratulations on your studies and welcome to the amazing and beautiful field of speech-language pathology!!

    Question 1: “I one day hope to help people accept their disabilities or disorders as a special part of themselves rather than a curse. Throughout your experience, What have you found to be some of the best therapeutical techniques to help people over come bullies?
    -This is actually two very different comments/questions. Some individuals who stutter have told me and referred to their stuttering as a “curse” but do make sure to let the individual who stutters tell you what they think of their own stuttering- not the other way around. 🙂 I am reading so much empathy in these questions that you ask. Acceptance, for individuals that stutter, looks so differently .Acceptance is a big term and a major process, and not necessarily constant. For me, acceptance is a day to day basis. Some days I accept something and some days I just don’t. For others, acceptance may be, “I accept this from now on.” As SLP’s we need to realize this. Once an individual says they accept their stuttering, this may not always be the case, or it might- it’s such a process. Regarding methodology for acceptance, Dr. Scott Yaruss, with Stuttering Therapy Resources has some excellent work on acceptance and some useful tools. There are publications by the Stuttering Foundation of America that are so helpful through this process, and also, helping the individual that stuttering to find a support group (if they are ready for this step- this is also a huge deal) through programs like Friends, Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) or the National Stuttering Association (all American associations) can be so helpful. Listening to this person sitting in front of you and just showing that empathy is huge- you may be the first person who has ever done that. Also, helping this person to realize they are not alone, is so helpful. Regarding bullying, check out Dr. Yaruss’ work on this as well- he has great books and resources, along with the Stuttering Foundation.

    Question 2: How have you helped PWS or other disorders raise their self esteem and become comfortable with themselves?
    -This is a great and loaded question. Remember, that here in America, The American-Speech Hearing Association describes our scope of practice regarding the counseling aspect of what we do to include “swallowing disorders” and “communication disorders” with anything beyond that to be out of our scope of practice. These instances may need a referral if it falls beyond our scope, and this question sounds like it falls into that realm. We may encourage the individual to become more comfortable from a communication standpoint with increased confidence which incidentally may raise that person’s self esteem- but we are not directly targeting self-esteem. We are directly targeting the goal of increased communication confidence. 🙂 Make sure that the goals you are targeting are within our scope of practice.

    Question 3: Finally, How can I help these people prior to entering the field?
    -You are already helping by asking these questions on this world stage to this panel of professionals. You are already helping people who stutter by showing empathy in your words. This is already quite the start, so bravo. Keep being amazing, advocate for people who stutter, and educate the world who doesn’t know any better. The more people who know about stuttering, the better. Be well!

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