One Tough Letter

I knew someone who stuttered on only one letter.  But consistently had to really struggle to get thru that letter. Is this type of stutter fairly common? Is it more challenging to help a client to be able to smooth one or two very tough letters or to smooth generally stuttering speech?

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One Tough Letter — 2 Comments

  1. Dear Ron,
    HI! Thanks for writing and engaging with this conference. It is because of your questions that everyone can learn!

    Your bring up a good question. As you might know stuttering is a unique experience for each individual. Thus helping people who stutter is unique for each person. Some people benefit from learning more about stuttering and being counseled to address fears, anxiety about speaking, and gaining confidence and self-worth as an effective communicator. Others want to talk just a little easier, with just a little less struggle. That being said, a skilled SLP does not find working with people who stutter challenging. It is the opposite. When you work WITH PWS who can learn so much from them, as they learn from you. So if they want to “smooth out” one sound or many sounds, or talk about confidence, resilience, peer pressures, work pressures to communicate, or anything, we are there to adjust and flex to their needs.

    As a person who stutters myself, I have had many different therapist. The best ones knew how to flex when I wanted to work on my physical speech and when I wanted to work on my psychological and emotional self. Was this challenging for them? Perhaps. But it is was, I never saw it as a client.

    Thanks for asking questions!
    Be well,
    With compassion and kindness,

  2. Hi, Ron. Thanks so much for asking this question and I parallel my colleague Scott’s response to you. I want to re-iterate his response in saying a “skilled SLP” doesn’t find working with people who stutter challenging; this is so true. While there are still a number of graduate programs here in the United States that either do not have coursework in stuttering or have limited course offering for graduate students, SLPs that specialize/focus on the areas of stuttering really enjoy treating people who stutter. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, my favorite part about stuttering treatment is getting to be a part of a person’s individualized life journey with their own stuttering (as Scott also discussed in his response regarding the uniqueness of the stuttering experience) and I feel absolutely so honored every single time I am gifted with the opportunity to serve someone who stutters in the therapy room and help them to meet their wants and needs in their own personal therapy journey. With that being said, Scott is spot on with saying that stuttering is so unique, including overt (or seen/heard/obvious) stuttering behaviors like stuttering on a particular sound(s), sound repetitions, prolongations, etc. and a person’s goals surrounding that can vary across time or be different from others who stutter. Stuttering patterns can also be so different from person to person that we see- so this may be what some SLPs interpret to be challenging to treat, but I love this in that it makes each person so beautifully distinctive in their story with stuttering. For SLPs that do find treating stuttering challenging, I encourage them to seek continuing education courses, mentorship, or guidance as they can prior to treating people who stutter as they can really do great harm if not properly trained. Thanks again, and I hope this helps. 🙂 -Steff

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