Overcoming fear of stuttering


We are students in the University of South Carolina’s Master of Speech Pathology program, and we were told we could access this site to gain some information about stuttering first hand.

We would love to know, as professionals, what have you found helps PWS overcome their fear of stuttering the most? What would you recommend as best practice in this area for us who are learning to become SLPs and want to provide the best treatment for our patients who stutter? 

Thank you!

Emily Szabo and Morgan Vachio

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Overcoming fear of stuttering — 1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this question, Emily and Morgan, and it is so nice to meet you! I am a professor of a graduate stuttering course myself and I am happy to answer this questions for you! So, first off, the word I want to applaud you for your awesome question because you area already showing one of the many traits that it takes to be an effective clinician in treating a person who stutters: empathy. Way to go!

    Regarding usage of terms, the term “overcoming” is a really heavy word to use. Some people in the stuttering community don’t mind the word “overcoming” and some really do. So, one of the first conversations I have with a person who stutters (especially adolescents and adults) is what words do you prefer I use around you and what words to you prefer to use? This may sound odd, but some individuals are really sensitive to the word “fluency” (it can bring about a trauma response for some) and some even don’t like the word “stuttering” to be used to describe there speech (although this is a lot less common..) So, the word “overcome” is one of those more sensitive terms that some people who stutter really don’t like being used. You can say one may “overcome fear” of stuttering and that may not bother someone, but saying someone has “overcome stuttering” may bother someone.

    The fear response is a very personal journey and is a case by case basis. There are some activities you can do like role-playing scenarios, practicing speeches, making phone calls to restaurants to practice ordering or doing confidence building activities however, these activities can also be traumatizing to your patient if they are not ready for them. Your client has to emotionally be ready and agree to doing any of these things before you do them in the therapy room. That is the key. 🙂 So, my biggest advice… is before you plan a big activity to reduce fear with your patient who stutters- ask your patient if they are ready to complete the task, and if they are uncomfortable, don’t do it with them yet. I hope that helps answer your question. Take care, and be well!

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