About the Authors:
Steff Lebsack, MS, CCC-SLP (PWS), became a speech-language pathologist because she has an older brother, Jasper, who is a person who stutters. Steff also began to stutter at the age of 37 due to a hypoxic brain injury. Steff is a PhD student at Idaho State University, with her attention on research in stuttering. Steff focuses on the treatment of stuttering and cluttering within her private practice and is the current course designer/instructor for the graduate Fluency Disorders course for the Baylor University online Master’s Degree Program. Steff has completed many invited guest lecture talks and international poster presentations, with her recent meta-analysis on language sensitivity in chronically-ill pediatric patients being accepted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. She lives with her husband Kevin, her two beautiful young children Mary and Karter and a pug named Ritchie. When she isn’t playing with her kids or catching up on stuttering current events, she can be found baking, writing or reading.
Dan Hudock, PhD., CCC-SLP (PWS), a person who stutters himself, is an Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Idaho State University. He is also the Founding Director of the Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders that offers a two-week interprofessional intensive stuttering clinic (NWCFD-IISC) with Speech Language Pathologists collaboratively working with Counselors and Psychologists to treat adolescent and adult clients who stutter through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) informed frameworks. His areas of research include psychological, emotional, and social factors of fluency disorders, interprofessional collaborations with mental health professionals, and the neuroscience of speech perception and production in people who stutter using high-density EEG. He has over 30 peer-reviewed publications, 80 international through local presentations with several recent ones being invited keynote and full day talks, and one TEDx Talk entitled “Please don’t finish my sentence” about the experience of living with a communication disorder.
Stuttering is so much more than just the overt speech disfluencies of repeating sounds, syllables, words, and phrases, and getting stuck, either prolonging or blocking on sounds and words that one may observe. For someone who stutters, their lived experiences with their communication disorder, be it internalized emotions, thoughts, and perceptions, or the perception of other negative social consequences imposed by communication partners can impact their emotional, psychological, and social well-being along with their beliefs about their functional abilities, skills, and limitations. For example, the apprehension someone who stutters may feel when making a phone call or talking to a stranger may act to exacerbate their outward stuttering behaviors, including self-perception, tension, and effort-filled struggle, to the extent that the moment of stuttering has frequently been described as experiencing a tidal wave of anxiety causing a dissociative freezing-like response in the individual. More recently, since about the early 2000’s, much of the field of speech language pathology, especially in the United States of America, have experienced a major paradigm shift going from being focused on the listeners’ observations and perspectives of stuttering to focusing and emphasizing the lived experiences of the individual, including the psychological, emotional, social, linguistic, behavioral, and functional domains, which are all within our scope of practice, in terms of relation to communication or impact on communication. This is wonderful for so many reasons, but it also presents unique challenges. A growing body of literature is continuing to accumulate supporting the many long-term positive outcomes that come from holistic-based assessment and treatment for clients who stutter. Some of the challenges that come along with this new focus are that people in general typically aren’t directly exposed to sitting with, understanding, or identifying the physicality and/or motivation(s) to them AND that students in Speech-Language Pathology programs/Speech-Language Pathologists seldom receive adequate direct training on counseling theories or application.
Our presentation focuses on how engaging, and listening to, our clients may help frame holistic evidence-based practices and goal-writing for clients who stutter. During our presentation, we introduce a reframing of stuttering-focused to more holistic-communication focused experience that walks you through how to use clients’ statements to create meaningfully-holistic evidence-based goals and activities for clients who stutter, along with what outcome(s), represented by client statements, may occur. We hope this presentation helps you, as the person who stutters, advocate for taking a more active role in therapy and goal planning, and the student/SLP to reframe and plan for holistic EBP therapy in stuttering therapy.
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