In Their Own Words: Stories for the Speech Language Pathologist from People Who Stutter (Tricia Hedinger)

About the author: Ms. Tricia Hedinger is a clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Knoxville, TN.  She specializes in stuttering disorders in children, adolescents and adults.  She is the Chapter Leader for the National Stuttering Association local chapter in Eastern Tennessee and is an active member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association Special Interest Group for Fluency Disorders (ASHA SIG 4).  She consults with schools and SLPs throughout the southeast United States on the evaluation and treatment of people who stutter and has published multiple articles on topics related to stuttering and clinical education.  Ms. Hedinger also directs the UT Volunteer Your Voice Summer Camp for children ages 8-16 with speech, language and/or hearing impairments.

The complete video can be viewed at this link.

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In Their Own Words: Stories for the Speech Language Pathologist from People Who Stutter (Tricia Hedinger) — 56 Comments

  1. Thank you for your contribution. I am an SLP graduate student at Idaho State University. I have very little experience with stuttering and fluency disorders and, before entering this field, I don’t believe I ever interacted with a person who stuttered. I have found that my lack of experience is not uncommon and I believe that educating people about stuttering is one of the best ways to break down negative stereotypes. Videos like this are a great way to do just that.

    • Thank you for watching! Hearing a variety of stories from different people at different points in their journey can help new SLPs (and old SLPs) gain a little perspective. One person’s struggle is not the same as another’s. Therefore, “one-size fits all” approach to therapy will not work.

      I hope this is helpful to you as you begin your career. I’m not sure if you have seen Dr. Hudock’s (from ISU) TEDTalk, but it’s great! Definitely worth a look.

  2. I really enjoyed hearing the perspectives given about speech therapy. One man mentioned that his hour in therapy would pass and then it felt much different going into the real world. As a future speech-language pathologist, I want to take the valuable information presented here and apply it to my practice. For example, hearing that one of the first steps to developing a treatment plan is to determine what their daily struggles with their communication are. Probing for this type of information makes treatment relevant and effective. Thank you!

    • Glad you watched the video! The evaluation is such a critical part of the therapy process. It should involve so much more than a simple count of stuttered syllables. Learning about a person’s hobbies, interests, social life, work life and aspirations are as relevant to planning treatment as frequency of disfluencies (if not more). Knowing the obstacles and stressors a person faces on a daily basis helps build the SLP-client relationship, as well as create a roadmap for the course of therapy.

      I’m happy to see future SLPs contributing to the ISAD conference!

  3. I agree thoughts and feelings are a major aspect that needs to be looked at with a person who stutters. As a curious SLP graduate student, what are some of the strategies you use with a client to evoke these feelings if they are closed off and a little reluctent to start speech therapy?

    Thanks for your insights!

    • In my experience, most SLPs agree that it is important to address thoughts and feelings, but are uncertain how to begin. I start off getting to know the person and their interests. What do they do on the weekends? What kind of work do they do? Hobbies, passions, family life, social habits, etc. Getting to know your client affirms that you see them as a whole person, not just as a person who stutters. Then, I prefer to use paper-pencil tasks to get the ball rolling. “The School-Age Child Who Stutters: Working Effectively with Attitudes and Emotions” is a great workbook to get you started. It has worksheets that can be adapted for adults as well.

      I like beginning with a Worry Ladder. The client is given a ladder as a visual, then asked to rank speaking situations from least stressful leading up to most stressful. We use it as a guide in designing session tasks over the course of treatment.

      After 2 or 3 sessions, we complete an “Effective Communicator” diagram (Donaher, Scott, and Sisskin; SF MidAtlantic Workshop) where the patient identifies a person they view as an effective communicator (e.g., “Who would you like to sit next to at a party? What teacher would you like to take a class with? Who do you enjoy talking to?”) Then, they list all of the characteristics that make them an effective communicator, considering body language, content, interaction style, etc. Upon completion, we emphasize and discuss that many factors (unrelated to fluency) make up an effective communicator.

      Other “tasks” I use to open up the lines of communication include identifying errors in thinking, reframing negative thoughts, creating positive thinking strategies, and using problem solving charts. Many of these strategies come from principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I also like the chart in the workbook that lists “What I would like _______ to know about stuttering/MY stuttering/what helps me.”

      I find that after some of these more structured tasks are completed, that conversation about thoughts and feelings start to flow more easily. After time has passed, I encourage PWS to find someone in their life that they can talk to about their stuttering struggles and successes on a regular basis. Because most people (surprise! surprise!) don’t want to come to speech therapy forever. Having an outlet and a supporter is valuable.

      I hope these are helpful ideas. I HIGHLY recommend the workbook mentioned above. It’s available on the Stuttering Foundation website. It is great because it not only has blank templates/worksheets, but also has examples of completed worksheets.

      Tricia 🙂

      • Thank you so much for the detailed response! Very helpful and much appreciated!


  4. Tricia,

    First of all I really enjoyed your video. I am a graduate student in the Speech Pathology program at Appalachian State University so your title captured my attention. As a future SLP I think it’s extremely important to take into account the individual and their experiences related to their communication disorder and stuttering is no different in that aspect. I really appreciated your comment in the beginning of the video about the fear of the unknown when it comes to treating stuttering. I have found that I have those feelings that I worry my services are not skilled enough and I don’t have the answers. My question for you is how open are you about these feelings with clients and when is experience a barrier that should be over come by referral to another specialist?

    • Responsible thinking! The question you must ask first is… how willing and able are you to learn more about stuttering treatment? And I don’t say that with any type of negative flair. Think about practicality and interest levels. If you can reasonably plan to attend CEU courses quickly, read some current literature, and consult with a more seasoned SLP, then taking the case and being honest about your background is professionally responsible. Everyone has to start somewhere. Telling the client that stuttering is not your area of specialty but you have a strong support network that you will utilize to provide the best possible treatment is the best you can do. You should not pretend to be something that you are not. It leaves the decision in the hands of the client. Offering them good quality resources (from SF or NSA, for example) and alternative treatment options is also a good move.

      Think about what you would want if you were on the other side of the clipboard.

      Tricia 🙂

  5. Tricia,

    This video is so educational. I believe everyone should watch it! Oftentimes as an SLP, we can get so focused on treatment and what has to be done to help an individual that we forget about the emotions and cognitive aspects that the client has.

    What are your thoughts on secondary behaviors and how they can impact/influence the emotions a PWS has? What are some strategies you use when targeting secondary behaviors in therapy?

    Thank you,

    • Generally, once I start identifying the secondary behaviors, I see a dramatic decrease in their frequency and severity. Voluntary stuttering practice and freezing the moment of disfluency can reduce secondaries. Also, use of fluency shaping techniques can help too.

      How do secondary behaviors impact emotions? Hmmm…. that is a good question. They probably come together as a package with the actual disfluencies and result in the same emotions: frustration, anger, guilt, shame, embarrassment, etc. If you are exhibiting a lot of secondaries, then you are probably trying really hard to control/suppress stuttering.

      Tricia 🙂

  6. Tricia,
    Thank you so much for putting this video together! I am currently an SLP student and found it very helpful to hear these important messages and testimonies. I think my biggest concern going into practice is that stuttering therapy is not one-size-fits-all and each case is so different. I appreciated what you said about talking to the client about their feelings and trying to understand their daily struggles with communication. Do you have any other “go-tos” for ways to start a therapy session with a new client? Are there other things you have found particularly helpful?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Sallie,
      If you scan above in other comments you will see some suggestions (there’s a long one from Oct 4th). I like to start with paper-pencil, structured tasks related to stressors, attitudes, emotions, etc. in the beginning of therapy. Completing a worry ladder, identifying traits of effective communicators, reframing negative thoughts, positive self talk, etc. Once we complete the more structured tasks, it generally leads to an easier flow of dialogue related to thoughts and feelings surrounding communication.

      Another item to add…. get PWS connected with other PWS! That’s a huge part of my job… helping to make these connections. No matter how much I know and care about stuttering, there is still something I cannot offer. I have never walked a mile in their shoes. So I like to introduce PWS to someone else who has.


  7. Thank you for video taping Power of folks who stutter voices to disclose their experiences. Kindly Michael

  8. Great video! I am a SLP graduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I am currently taking an advanced fluency disorders course. I do not have much experience with people who stutter, so this was definitely a nice way for me to hear stories from people who stutter. It was interesting to hear from different individuals and to hear what their thoughts were/are on stuttering. As I was reading through the comments, I saw that you mentioned how you like to introduce a PWS to another PWS. Do you find this strategy successful with most PWS? Thanks for the great read!

    • Like any difficult situation or struggle, it is helpful to be around other people who know what it feels like to deal with it on a daily basis. Whether it is cancer or divorce or first-time moms or stuttering, being near others who have an insider’s perspective on the struggle is nice. Stuttering may sometimes feel lonely or isolating. Increasing feelings of commonality and solidarity can only stand to improve a person’s outlook or mood. So much about stuttering is changing perspectives.

      There is an article by Michael Boyle titled “Psychological characteristics and perceptions of stuttering of adults who stutter with and without support group experience” in the Journal of Fluency Disorders (2013). The findings revealed that support groups helped PWS limit internalization of negative attitudes about self. It also indicated that focusing on helping others in a support group context was linked to higher levels of psychological well-being.

      I hope this is helpful! Glad to see so many SLP students here.

  9. Thank you very much for bringing these individuals together and creating this video. I found several things particularly helpful like the perspective that therapy is an hour and then you have to go out into the real world. It sounds as if generalization was something he experienced alone and, perhaps, without a lot of success. I think this means the SLP should get out of the therapy room more frequently with clients and get into the community (perhaps pseudo-stutter with their client if previously agreed upon). I’m sure this also means that techniques and skills are easier to implement in the therapy setting as opposed to the real world.
    Another helpful tidbit was that some people didn’t understand why a PWS can be so fluent in one setting but less so in other settings. This is a good thing to keep in mind when conducting therapy. When the client needs encouragement, perhaps a setting where the person has experienced success previously should be used or vice versa if the person is in need of a challenge. There were so many helpful personal remarks on this video, thank you again for organizing and making it!

    • You’re welcome! Taking therapy outside of the clinical setting is eye opening for both the patient and the SLP. I am on a university campus so I am able to tour other departments & the awesome athletic facilities, order at campus eateries, and require other graduate students to attend sessions to provide an authentic “unfamiliar communication partner” scenario. I have arranged to meet kids at frozen yogurt places and in their schools. Additionally, I direct a summer camp where we take children camping in the Smoky Mountains for 3 days while providing speech therapy; its a great opportunity to use a different environment with different adults and peers in more naturalistic environments ( I love it and they love it!

      I find it helpful to have “graduates” of speech therapy come back to be advocates for the disorder by guiding young people who are starting out in therapy. They write letters to patients, pose for interviews, and give informative talks. One of my former patients was hired to develop educational videos for the department and got to meet several children who stuttered in the process. I’m not sure who benefitted more from the process… the videographer or the kids!

      Whenever I can support a PWS outside of a therapy room, I do!

      Tricia 🙂

      • I forgot to finish my thought! While college campus settings make it a little easier to get out of the therapy room, its always valuable take a look around your environment and see how you can change the scenery or communication partners. Ask the receptionist a question, ask someone in the hall for directions, find a way to talk to a class or a group of kids, have the child take a survey in the cafeteria, ask if he can make an announcement on the loudspeaker on a scheduled day, etc. Ask if you can bring a friend to speech with him (if it does not interrupt important academic work).

        Have the PWS brainstorm for ideas too!

  10. Thank you for sharing this video! I have not had a lot of experience with people who stutter. I agree with your comment at the beginning that feelings may be more connected to how confident an SLP feels in treating the stutter. As a future SLP, how do you have any advice on how I can develop my knowledge and skills?

    Also, you mentioned it is important to get your clients to tell you about their daily struggles. I know it is important to build rapport with clients so they will share this type of information. How long do you wait to ask about their daily struggles (the first session? later?)?

    • I ask about daily struggles in the evaluation and/or first session. It is usually an ongoing dialogue that occurs during each session. After a brief conversation about what they did over the weekend, friends, family, etc, I ask “how was your speech this week? tell me what successes you had? What struggles did you have?” People start to become more analytical about their situations when they know you are going to ask it every week. i am always sure to include successes; you want people to pat themselves on the back and take note of their own accomplishments.

      I typically use the OASES to help identify struggles and reactions. Its a great assessment tool.

      Participating in this online conference is one great place to start expanding your knowledge! Go to CEUs on stuttering, check out Stuttering Foundation and National Stuttering Association websites, listen to podcasts and talk to people who stutter when possible.

      Best of luck to you!
      Tricia 🙂

  11. Hello Tricia,

    I am currently a SLP graduate student at Appalachian State University. Your video was wonderful! I appreciate you taking the time to share all your experiences with us. I read a comment where you talked about the importance of a support group and/or introducing PWS to other PWS. As a new clinician and working in a new/unfamiliar environment, what would be your advice for finding these support groups or individuals to aid in your client’s stuttering journey?

    Thank you,

    • Check with the National Stuttering Association ( to fund a support group nearby.

      The Stuttering Foundation ( also provides a list of specialists by state.

      If you work in a school district, ask if there is an SLP in the district that specializes in stuttering. If there is not, maybe consider going down that path yourself. There are many great CEUs available to help you in the process. Having a mentor will help too.

      Glad you are interested! Tricia 🙂

  12. Wow! Thank you so much for this video. It was fascinating to hear each of the different perspectives, both young and old. It seems like tackling the confidence piece can have a great impact on helping children and adults who stutter find their voice. One comment that really struck me was about how therapy at school was great in the therapy room, but as soon as the person went back into the classroom environment they felt like they were back at square one. I thought your comments above were very helpful for breaking free of the therapy room and encouraging students, with our support, to engage with different communication partners, in different situations to help build that confidence.

  13. Tricia,

    As a PWS and a SLP graduate student at Appalachian State University, I found this video to be truthful and intriguing. Throughout the individual perspectives, it seems that confidence, avoidance behaviors, and generalization into every day life seem to be a commonality in which I have experienced as well. Although I am a PWS, I have limited experience in a therapy setting. I was hoping you could share some insight into the best techniques in which to help a PWS tackle those objectives and create a positive therapy environment? Thank you so much for this video and your time!


    • It will be a little bit different for everyone. Here are a few ideas:

      Confidence/avoidance behaviors: identify characteristics of effective communicators and note how they are not necessarily related to fluency; watch the video of the commencement speech by Parker Mantell on YouTube (he stutters) and discuss his message and speaking behaviors; identify other areas of strength in life that are unrelated to speaking; identify body language characteristics of “confident” people and practice them; practice self-disclosure in role play and real life; practice pseudo stuttering (Peter Reitzes has a great handout on the “why and how of voluntary stuttering” that is super at explaining its purpose).

      Generalization: Unfortunately, this is one of the toughest areas to conquer. Taking the client out of the therapy room and practicing with a variety of people in a variety of high stress, life-like scenarios makes sense. Finding a friend or relative outside of the clinic to discuss stuttering struggles an successes with is important. When my clients reduce their frequency to a maintenance level, I work with them to develop a plan for actions they can take DAILY, WEEKLY and MONTHLY to facilitate management of stuttering and/or increased fluency. Daily might include using fluency shaping strategies, identifying personal reactions, etc. Weekly might include self reflections, assessing successes and challenges, listening to a Stuttertalk Podcast, etc. Monthly might include attending a support group, having an intentional conversation with a friend/family member about stuttering.

      Hope this is helpful!
      Tricia 🙂

      • Thank you so much for such a thoughtful response! This is going to be so helpful to me. I really appreciate it.


  14. Thank you, Tricia, for this video! I’m currently a graduate SLP student, and I welcome any opportunity to gain insight into the experiences of my future clients. Something that struck me as I was watching was the idea that many individuals referred to therapy as not part of the “real world.” I can understand how this happens, as the therapy room is a controlled environment that is typically not an integrated part of the client’s daily life. What is your advice for new (and seasoned) clinicians to make therapy less of an island, and more of the client’s “real world?” I want to provide therapy that improves my client’s quality of life, but I am concerned that this ability will be hindered if they don’t feel that our time together is also the “real world.”

  15. Hey Tricia!

    I enjoyed watching this video. I am a graduate student studying speech language pathology and think its very important to hear from people who stutter. A few of the people in this video say that they would see improvement during a therapy session and then after leaving the session would go right back to stuttering in social situations such as ordering food or talking in class. What is a way to generalize what they do in therapy to real life situations?


  16. Hello Tricia,

    I am also a student and very thankful for this opportunity to learn from the many contributors in this organization. Thank you for sharing this information and the personal touches from each of the people in the video. My grandfather stuttered for most of his life and we accepted it as part of his way of speaking. I agree that having the client contribute to the therapy choices would help generalize to “real life” outside of the clinic setting. As one gentleman in your video stated, some therapists are not holistic. I am reminded of the CALMS components of stuttering and feel that successful approaches to therapy should address the multidimensional aspects in an effort to be more holistic and effective for the sake of the PWS. I love your suggestions for suggestions on opening a daily dialogue. It personalizes the interaction and helps the person become more analytical between sessions. What a positive move and I can see where the PWS would have more control over time.

  17. Hello Tricia,

    Thank you for posting this video. I am a graduate SLP student and have not yet worked with clients who stutter and have very little experience with this population. It was very beneficial for me to watch the video and hear clients personal life stories and struggles. What techniques do you use or suggest in order to create a real-world atmosphere during therapy?

    • Good question. If you are working on fluency shaping or pseudo stuttering, or self disclosure or a variety of other skills, practicing the same way every week will hinder progress and your patients’ satisfaction. Here is a guiding principle for planning sessions: change the complexity, change the context, change the listener.

      Change the Complexity: if you practice skills when reading sentences or paragraphs, consider it a brief, focused warm up. Do not make this the bulk of your session. Almost all skills should be targeted in conversation-style activities. Start with simpler tasks (e.g., describing an object or a daily routine) and progress to higher complexity speaking tasks with increased communicative stress (e.g., explanation tasks, role play, debate, disagreeing with others). Consider what is easy and difficult for each person.

      Change the context: Therapy rooms are convenient but we are not locked in. Therapy rooms can facilitate learned fluency. Where else can you go? An empty classroom, the cafeteria, outdoor picnic tables? Can you walk down to the receptionist and ask a few questions? take a survey? Can you ask kids as they enter the school a few questions about an important topic going on in the school or take a 2 question survey about something?

      Change the listener: The SLP might be awesome. However, your client needs to practice his skills with other people. Bring other students, teachers, adults, parents, friends, etc. into the session. Take your client into other settings with peers. Ask your client how much help he wants from you… a little, a lot, none?? Empower your client by asking them WHO they want to practice with… make them part of the decision.

      Respect when your client says they are “not ready.” Ask them what challenge they are ready for. Maybe have a list of options for them to choose from.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Tricia 🙂

  18. Hi Tricia,

    I am a graduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth in an advanced fluency course. I have had limited experience working with this population. However, I recently started working with a school aged client in a medical setting who is doing extremely well. We have been working on generalization recently, walking the hallways, paying for candy, etc. during our therapy sessions and they have only been pseudo stuttering. The clients states that once they leave therapy everything goes back to normal and they continue to stutter. Do you have any recommendations that we could try next?

    Thank you!

    • What are his home assignments? Are they related to real life tasks? There is a difference giving an assignment of pseudo stuttering while reading a list of words vs. pseudo stuttering with your friends or while raising your hand in class. Does he do the assignments? If so, ask him how he could do them differently to make them more meaningful and helpful. If not, why not? Are they too hard? Is he afraid of the consequences?

      Ask him what he thinks the problem is. Are his reactions highly negative? Can he identify which situations are successful and which ones are a struggle? Sometimes kids have one bad moment and that is all they can remember… they might need help identifying that there were a lot of successes in the week. Writing specific struggles down on paper can help make it feel more manageable and not so pervasive. Write down successes next to the struggles to take note of accomplishments.

      Does this make sense? I am not going to lie… generalization is difficult and a point of frustration and disappointment for many PWS. Help your patient by having him help you. Ask him what he thinks his homework should be. As I mentioned above (Oct 17), developing a management plan for DAILY, WEEKLY and MONTHLY tasks to improve stuttering management might be helpful.

      Best wishes to you. Tricia 🙂

  19. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing such a powerful video. I enjoyed hearing everyone’s personal stories of success. I am currently in grad school for speech language therapy. If I ever have a chance to work with a person who stutters, I will remember that confidence can be key to their success, and will work to strengthen it.

  20. I really enjoyed watching this videoing and listening to stories and perspectives of people who stutter themselves. As a future speech-language pathologist, I find it very beneficial to hear from these individuals. A couple comments were brought up that made me start thinking. One was about kids being mean and needing to have “thick skin” as a person who stutters. This brought to mind the degree of counseling aspects that may take place in a stuttering therapy session. As an SLP who special in stuttering disorders, do you find yourself doing a lot of counseling of patients and helping them feel comfortable with their speech/ people’s reactions to it? Does it seem to be a touchy subject with people who stutter or are they pretty open to sharing the negative experiences they have with listeners?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Marissa,
      I am certainly not a trained psychologist, but I do feel that counseling is an important part of the job. Opening the lines of communication to develop an honest dialogue about the reality of stuttering is what I aim to do most of the time. I use various paper-pencil activities and lists in the beginning of the therapy process, but it often morphs into a general free flowing discussion on successes, struggles, theory, “magic pills” that make it go away, how life would be different if stuttering was not a problem, etc.

      People are all different, of course. I think for many, when they come to my office, it may be the first open honest conversation they have had about stuttering. Not too many friends or family feel comfortable diving into the details. In such cases, it can be slow moving or it can come out like a flood. I never know! I do my best to work at the patient’s pace. I usually make it a point to thank them for their honesty… because being vulnerable isn’t easy.

      Thanks for your comments and questions. Tricia 🙂

  21. Thank you for sharing this video! I am currently an SLP graduate student enrolled in a fluency course. One thing that has been brought up throughout the course is that our clients need techniques and skills that they can use in their daily lives not just in the therapy room. When the gentleman in the video mentioned that it was difficult for carry over from the one hour in the therapy room to the real world was difficult that really stood out to me. Hearing that from a person who has experienced speech therapy for stuttering really made me realize how important it is to give my future clients the ability to utilize their techniques outside of our sessions together. It was amazing hearing stories of people who stutter and being able to gain a small glimpse into their experience with speech therapy.

    • Thats was my intention and hope in making the video, Kristin. SLPs who do not get to see PWS often don’t get to hear a lot about living with stuttering. Its helpful to get a little “glimpse.”

      Best to you. Tricia

  22. It wasn’t until graduate school that I learned that a lot of SLPs do not feel comfortable treating stuttering. I have always heard of stuttering and assumed that it would be something that SLPs take on frequently. I now know that many schools do not offer a specific class dedicated to treatment of stuttering, which I find unfortunate.

    Watching this video allowed me to gain some new perspectives on stuttering. For example, Mr. Vawter said that after therapy was done with for the day, he felt he “had to go out into the real world.” That made me think, “Wow. His speech therapist was treating the disfluency and not him.” So, I wonder how beneficial his speech therapy actually was.

    • That is such a good point, Kimbra… treating the disfluencies vs. treating the person. I am glad this video provided you with some new perspectives.

      Thanks for watching and participating in this conference.
      Tricia 🙂

  23. Tricia, I absolutely love this video. Hearing the diverse experiences and opinions of individuals who stutter is probably the best tool in supporting clients who stutter. I am in graduate school to become an SLP, and the field of stuttering with all of its variation is of great interest to me. I would love to learn more and it is always beneficial to meet people who stutter.
    Thank you,

    • I am glad you liked it, Julie! Thanks for the compliments. Best of luck to you.

      Tricia 🙂

  24. Hi Tricia,

    I enjoyed all the different perspectives that were shared throughout this short video. As a speech-language pathology graduate student, I liked how you mentioned the importance of determining each client’s communication struggle and how it will be different for each individual. This video really reflected how each person who stutters is affected differently. The variety of individuals interviewed in the video portrayed how speech therapy has changed over time. Particularly one older gentleman who described how different it was to be in therapy compared to in the real world. This illuminated the importance for speech-language pathologists to find ways to make therapy functional for each individual, rather than using the same techniques. I hope the general public has access to videos like this because many of the individuals talked about how the reactions of people around them impacted their communication.

    Thank You,

    • Hi Amber…
      Thanks for your comments and I am glad you enjoyed the video. I think perspective on treatment of stuttering has changed over time, but not with everyone. When SLPs feel uncomfortable or unprepared to treat stuttering, they often turn to a kit or program or book that spells out a to-do list. These resources can be valuable if seen for what they are… tools. Generally speaking, they are not enough. Nothing will replace the counseling and human interaction component. All therapy needs to be individualized… personalized. Hearing stories from a variety of people with a variety of experiences can guide SLPs (and help us identify our own weaknesses).

      Best to you, Amber!

  25. Hi Tricia,
    I loved hearing all of these stories! I particularly connected with the comment about using strategies to be fluent and how people who don’t stutter have a hard time understanding why someone can be fluent in some situations and not others.
    I am currently a graduate student in SLP and I am taking a fluency course in which we were assigned to pseudostutter for half of the day and use fluency techniques for the other half of the day, and it really gave me a lot of insight as to the difficult task we are setting for clients who stutter if we ask them to be fluent all the time. It’s completely exhausting for the speaker!
    It really made me reflect on therapy for stuttering and how SLPs can improve what we teach and provide services that will empower the client.

  26. Who better to listen to their our clients! I am a first year speech language pathology student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. This video was nicely put together and I enjoyed that it included people who stutter across the ages. I noticed that a common theme was how isolated they felt and how they often times grew silent to avoid exposing their stutter. That makes me want to provide more educational resources for others who may not fully understand stuttering. These people are not any less than someone else simply because they are disfluent, it is just a different way of talking.

  27. Thank you for this! I will flag this video for when I have more fluency clients on my caseload to remember how to support them better as people. I want to show this video to everyone I know, not just my fellow SLP grad students. I will share this for International Stuttering Awareness Day!

  28. Tricia,
    Thank you so much for such an amazing video! I am currently a graduate student in Speech Language Pathology. It was very interesting to be able to hear stories from individuals who stutter, it definitely allows for a more personal access to how these individuals feel in their everyday lives. I did have a question, however. Vawter mentioned that when he attended therapy, it would last an hour, then these people would be sent on their way to the outside world. How could we aid these individuals who stutter to continue therapy outside of the session? How could we modify our therapy to extend to real life experiences? Again, thank you so much for such a wonderful video.
    Abbey M.

  29. Hi Tricia,
    This is a wonderful video. It really helps people who do not stutter gain the perspective of those who do. Although those who do not will never fully understand how difficult it must be to walk in their shoes, this video helps us begin to feel what people who stutter must experience every day. What I appreciate the most from this video is hearing about the participants’ success stories. Watching these individuals explain how they overcame their obstacles is amazing.
    I love the quote from Vawter where he says “I stopped chasing fluency. I just concentrated on finding my voice.” Do you have any advice on how to indirectly steer a client to finding their voice and building self-confidence?
    Thank you so much for sharing this, I will be holding onto it!

  30. Tricia,
    Thank you so much for sharing this video – it was both educational and clinically significant. I am a second-year graduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth and am currently enrolled in an advanced fluency disorders course. After watching your video, I appreciate how you highlighted the idea of introducing a student who stutters with another student who stutters. I am currently interning in a small school and work with a young student who stutters. However, he is the only student I am aware of in the school who is a PWS. What are other ways I can connect him with someone his age who stutters and may have experiences they can share with each other? There is a stuttering support group in the area, but it is all adults and I worry it may be uncomfortable for him. I strongly support this idea and would love to provide him with an opportunity like this.

    Thank you!

  31. Thank you for this video! I enjoyed hearing all the stories of different individuals who stutter. I am a speech-language pathology graduate student and am taking a fluency disorders course. Apart from learning about stuttering within my course, I have not had much experience interacting with other individuals who stutter, but this video helped me recognize how everyone’s journey is unique and personal. I think this is important when providing therapy to this population and recognizing the benefit in trying to understand clients’ stories and the emotions behind it all. I learned the value in truly getting to know the communication struggles of your client so you can utilize treatment approaches catered to their needs. I think this is a helpful video for SLP’s and will bring awareness to the importance of individualized therapy.


  32. I looooove the video! When I was young I was taught not to talk about stuttering and to hide it. That stuttering was a problem, that I should fix it and that my life for ever would be a lost battle. It made me want, and try, to end it all. Than I met the stuttering world, at the age of 27! and it changed everything. I became the face and voice of pws on local, national and international level.

    To see this video gives me so much hope! PWS openly talking about stuttering, laughing, feeling pride is so heart warming! I truly hope this video will find its way to schools, children camps, ISAD information channels etc. So happy things are changing.

    Keep talking!

    Anita S. Blom, Sweden