So You’ve Had Speech Therapy… Now What? – Leah Hoover

Leah HooverAbout the Author:

Leah Hoover hails from Southern Ontario, Canada, and currently resides in greater Boston, Massachusetts. She’s a Leafs and Blue Jays fan and true to her heritage, enjoys curling.                   

She is a person who has experienced stuttering for more than 40 years.

She received her first speech therapy after university, has been a member and leader of various volunteer organizations for persons who stutter, has received motor development and mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapies.

All the wonderful assistance she received has helped her navigate her speech journey, which she feels has been a very successful and life changing adventure.

So you’ve had speech therapy… now what? You’ve learned and practiced motor speech skills, you use easy onsets and light contacts. You may have had mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy or belong to volunteer groups for persons who stutter. But, does your speech define you? It doesn’t have to. It no longer defines me; my transition and my change is my personal success story. I have changed… from my speech controlling me, to me managing my speech. And my life. No more negative energy spent on avoiding and substituting. No more feelings of judgement and fear. Transfers, practice, and a new mindset have allowed me to let go. And to live a true values based life. Learn more in this video, and enjoy ISAD 2021.


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So You’ve Had Speech Therapy… Now What? – Leah Hoover — 18 Comments

  1. I love this concept of focusing on living life with a values based mindset as opposed to letting your stuttering define your life. This resonates with me too as I found it was when I started to live with those values at the forefront of life did I realize that there were so many other things I could be doing with my time than working on my speech.

    What advice do you have for people to start living a life with their values first and so their stuttering doesn’t dominate their life?

    • Hi and thanks for your message.
      My advice is to think about it, make a decision, make a choice, and make that change. Commit to it. no more lying to yourself that this will go away, that this will be easy.
      It will take hard work and determination, but it will pay off and you will love the way you feel.
      You’ll feel free.

  2. As someone who does not stutter, I found your message powerful and inspiring. I think that it is incredible how you have been able to incorporate learned strategies and managed your disfluencies to the point where you find yourself in control and no longer view them with a negative connotation. When you said, “I manage my speech, it doesnt manage it for me”, I wondered if you have come across individuals who stutter who disagree with your point of view. If yes, how do you respond to them? You also now have this mentality where you find yourself wanting to help others through sharing your story, did someone in the past do this for you in any form? Thank you for sharing your story!

  3. Hi,
    And thanks for your message.
    Yes my positive mindset helps me, so it didn’t shine through for many years. Maybe it did on the surface but not deep down.

    No I don’t think I have had anybody disagrees with me on that. We’re all in this together and we all talk about it,
    meaning speech and how it affects us, and we’re all supportive. We also know that what helps one might not help the other but we’re so glad when somebody has success.
    Success is not defined as fluency, it’s defined as how you manage it and how you feel about your stutter.
    The people who helped me you were past speech therapists, Carla, Virginia, Diane. And other members of volunteer support groups.
    It’s a Community and we all sympathize and empathize with, and understand each other.

    I’m happy to continue the conversation w you.
    Are you helping others with their speech therapy journey?

  4. Hi Leah,

    Thank you for sharing your story! I think both PWS and people who don’t could stand to learn a lot from you about the mindset surrounding stuttering. What advice would you give to someone going to see an SLP for the first time thinking they can “cure” their stuttering?


    • Hi. My advice for First-time-to-therapy-persons who stutter is to trust the therapist, try to not be afraid, but embrace the opportunity you’re being given to feel better about yourself and your life.
      You need to know that therapy is a journey. There’s no ‘cure’, it’s your life’s challenge and you and your therapist will start the journey together.
      You can’t cure stuttering but you can cure how negatively you feel about it

  5. Hi Leah!

    Thank you so much for allowing everyone to hear to your story. Your mindset about stuttering is the best mindset. Stuttering does not define who you are, but it is a part of you. If you can see past the negatives, then you can live a more positive life. I know you mentioned that your fear and negativity were holding you back until you decided to let all of that negative energy go one morning. Do you wish you had done that earlier in your life? If so, how do you think it would have affected you and your life?

  6. Hi Leah.

    I love your message, and how important our mindset can affect stuttering. I’m currently a second-year graduate student at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. I love learning about this population, and want to work with people who stutter when I become a speech-language pathologist. I work with some kids right now in the school setting, that are in denial about their stutter. They don’t want to admit they have one, or don’t believe that they do. I try to give them words of encouragement, but it doesn’t always work. What do you believe helped you get to the mindset you have today? What are some words of encouragement you received during speech therapy?

  7. Hi Leah,

    I enjoyed your video and your perspective on “letting go”. That’s the biggest challenge, isn’t it?

    In a comment above, you advised people who stutter giving therapy a go for the first time to “trust the therapist”. I had some trouble with that when I did some therapy some ten years ago as an adult (I never had therapy as a kid.)

    Going in, I believed the therapist was “end all, be all” and would know exactly what to do and set the goals. When the therapist set the goals “for me” without asking me what my goals were, I discovered I was at odds with that. Several therapists felt the goals should be teaching me techniques to make me fluent. They tried teaching gentle onset, pull outs, costal breathing, and I wasn’t able to do any of them. Or if I did, only in the clinic room.

    I didn’t need that – those weren’t my goals and I realized I felt I needed to be asked what my goals were and what I wanted to work on. There shouldn’t be that assumption that the therapist knows best. I think it needs to be an alliance between both client and therapist. I needed affirmation that it was OK to stutter, that I wasn’t broken and didn’t have to be fixed.

    I didn’t trust the therapist(s) that left me out of the equation. I think trust has to be built on the notion of mutual agreement on goals and outcomes.

    I don’t trust a doctor who rattles off all these things for me to do, try or take without listening to me first.

    Thanks for the opportunity to think deeper about therapeutic trust.


  8. Hello Leah,

    Thank you for sharing your video. Your message is inspiring and I would love to share it with my current students who stutter. What are your strategies that you have used to transfer and transition your thought process to what it was before to now with positiveness and acceptance?

  9. Hey Leah,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. The positive mindset that you described in your video is one that I think is important to have not only for those that stutter but for any sort of speech impediment. How would you suggest to recommend mindfulness therapy to someone you know or care about that may be struggling like you were with their stutter and how that defines them. Finally would you recommend mindfulness therapy to a child or would you recommend waiting a few more years until you are an adult? thanks for you input!

  10. Hi Leah,

    This was so inspiring and makes me want to live my life with positivity! What kind of supports would you suggest a speech therapist give to their client to help them get to this mindset?

  11. Hello Leah!

    Thank you for your very inspiring video! I think it is amazing that you were able to take the negative energy in your life and turn it into a positive outcome and are able to see yourself as in control. Being able to transfer negative energy into a positive mindset is something so rare that we do not see very often in our every day lives. I am a graduate student becoming a speech-language pathologist, do you have any recommendations you would provide to a future SLP on how to help our clients shift their negative views about themselves into positive thoughts and reactions?

  12. Hi Leah,
    Thank you so much for sharing, and congratulations on your successful journey. Although I do not have a stutter, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to completely change your mindset and your emotions. I feel like I can relate with a different aspect of my life, and am still struggling to change my mindset. Since starting my journey of learning about stutter, I have noticed that it has so much to do with the emotional and psychological side of it. Thank you again for sharing, I enjoyed your video.

  13. Hey Leach,

    I liked how you said that your stuttering was more of a mindset. Changing your mindset for anything or in anything is not easy. I congratulate you on your accomplishment. Thank you for telling your story.

  14. Hi Leah,

    I really enjoyed hearing about your journey and how it became successful! I liked hearing I was wondering if you had any advice for someone who is looking to enter the Speech Language Pathology field?

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