About the Authors:
Maria Fernanda Tamagnone is a Speech Therapist in Argentina. Dedicated to the clinical approach to stuttering since 2013, when she met and trained in the Argentine Association of Stuttering, in which she is currently a collaborator as part of the commission dedicated to education on stuttering in the school environment. She works in the city of Córdoba in an integrated work team: Disfluencia Córdoba, dedicated to individual therapy in all ages and group spaces in which young people, parents and families participate.
Cynthia Dacillo is a speech therapist from Peru. She became passionate about stuttering since 2015, when she finished a stuttering specialization. She has a master degree in Neuroscience and Education. Cynthia works with young, teenagers and adults who stutter and their families. She enjoys reading, listening, meeting and learning from stories of people who stutter.
Stuttering is a complex condition that is unknown and misunderstood by the society and even by professionals such as pediatricians, neurologists, psychologists and teachers.
As speech therapists there are so many changes we wish to see. At the same time, we feel happy about all the changes that have taken place over the last years and also excited about what changes we know we will see in the future.
Then, what specific changes we would like to see in the stuttering field?
What changes would Cynthia like to see?
As a speech therapist from Peru working with people who stutter, there are some changes I would like to see:
1. There is a need of professionals specialized in stuttering in Latin America, to have access to new and based evidence information in Spanish.
New information, books, researches, congress, training courses, podcasts, videos and resources, much of these is available in English. I believe not many speech therapists are able to understand English and that can be a big barrier between the new knowledge and clinical practice.
In addition, more research is needed considering the Latin America´s perspective and experience. There is so much to do and so many incredible speech therapists from the Spanish speaking world who can contribute to the general knowledge. It’s vital to encourage therapists to conduct research in the field.
2. Stuttering seen in the Media and in Schools.
It might be a good way to spread the word about stuttering in ways that it is seen as a difference in the speech, rather than something to feel embarrassed, ashamed or guilty. Education is a powerful weapon against myths, discrimination and bullying, so massive education is needed.
Schools should open their doors to stuttering specialists to talk about stuttering inside the class, and the same with students with other conditions. That way, students will learn about it and we can have a friendlier society.
Furthermore, Media should incorporate some programs to educate about diversity, or include some notes in some television programs to show testimonials of people with different conditions such as stuttering and how they overcame the barriers of society,the barriers and not the stuttering itself! Because the real barriers are the reactions and social stigma of the people around them.
3. Stuttering taught in the universities as a difference and not as something to “be fixed”
When we studied, we were taught that there is something abnormal or incorrect in the speech of people who stutter. As students, we saw it as a “problem” and in our clinical practice our treatments were under that line . Nevertheless, through the experience and learning from their stories we realized that there is nothing wrong in stuttering and one of our roles must be helping people who stutter find their own voices and enjoy communication.
If we all change this idea, we will be taking a very big step. As therapists, undoubtedly, is something that will definitely turn 360 degrees the goals in our therapy.
What changes would M. Fernanda like to see?
As a speech therapist working with people who stutter in Argentina, I have found that working together is an integral part of the therapeutic process, and this certainly has shaped my wishes for the future.
1. Bringing communities together (speech therapists and people who stutter)
Many Speech-Language Pathologists and People Who Stutter work together. It is in the deep encounter that we can truly learn. There is no other way. Stuttering has a different meaning for all of us and it’s in shared discovery that we can teach each other. I would like to see communities learning together with opportunities to grow, to understand, to educate and to evolve.
2. To support and promote the changes that the community of people who stutter is generating.
The community of people who stutter is generating changes, it would be enriching (and a duty as allies) to learn about it, be interested and collaborate.
Validating processes of change and the hard work behind those changes, makes us grow in our abilities to understand, and respond to stuttering.
It also makes us, as therapists, resist the impulse to tell the others what to do and give them instructions without asking them about their hopes. We need to make a commitment with them, to encourage us to go deeper into human experiences.
3. The speech therapist we want to become
We find ourselves in this journey that is not only multidimensional for the person who stutters, but also for us, as learners.
If we want to see a change, our “therapist self” must be willing to step out of the comfort zone, examine assumptions and to consider new perspectives.
Moreover, working in therapeutic processes with people who stutter pushes us to grow in concrete skills, and that is not negotiable if we want a better place.
What are we trying to do currently for the stuttering field in our countries?
We believe change starts by recognizing where we are and what we can do to move forward. As speech therapists being passionate about stuttering, one of our goals is to make the world a better place for people who stutter.
Bridging the gap between the “Spanish and English world”.
- We share information in Spanish about stuttering from books, articles, training courses, congress (we read or hear in English) in our professional facebook and Instagram accounts (@disfluenciacba and @cynthiadacillo.tartamudez).
- Cynthia creates content with Spanish subtitles in her youtube channel, where invites speech therapists and people who stutter from different countries.
- Fernanda translates some articles into Spanish and share them in her Instagram account. This is a way some therapists can have access to valuable and new information in Spanish.
Meeting Franky Banky
One day we met Franky Banky and his ferocious tiger that little by little became a friendly pet. We were touched by his process with this beast that scared him and that he had to face, even though it hurts.
Daniele Rossi’s work facilitates natural and accurate language when talking about stuttering, a way that is sometimes hard to find. And here is Franky Banky, telling his adventures and stuttering beautifully… what could be more inspiring?
We loved the way he shows stuttering, so that’s why we offered our help translating some of his comics. Firstly, to use them as therapeutic resources with children, teenagers and adults who stutter and their families! Then, that idea ended in the Spanish version of the Franky Banky website! If you are a therapist from the Spanish speaking world, you and your clients will really enjoy it! you can take a look at https://www.frankybanky.com/es/.
To conclude, there is so much we would like to see: information for Latin America speech therapists, stuttering in the Media, stuttering being taught as a difference and not as something wrong, communities of people who stutter and therapists together, supporting achievements of people who stutter and working in the “therapist self”. And, as it was mentioned before, there are a lot of passionate people around the world that are already doing some change! Let’s keep working for a better place for people who stutter! We can make a huge difference!
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