Questions for Professional

Hello, my name is Kendall Steer. I am an undergraduate SLP student in Ohio. I have several questions for you. 

In therapy, do you see a common thread among people with stutters? 

What advice would you give parents with a child that stutters? 

What do you think the greatest misconception of someone who stutters is? 

Thank you. 

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Questions for Professional — 1 Comment

  1. Hello, Kendall. Thank you so much for asking these questions to the professional panel. Congratulations on your studies! You have entered an amazing world that isn’t just a career, it is a life passion- and I am so happy that you are a part of it! I am honored to answer your questions.

    Question 1: In therapy, do you see a common thread among people with stutters?
    -When doing therapy with people who stutter, it is a very individualized experience. Yes, our evaluation process may look similar, but the questions we ask in the interview process may look very differently from individual to individual because the stuttering journey is so different for everyone that us experiencing it. With that being said, the most common “thread” that I have found, and the most effective thing you can do as a clinician, is that people who stutter most of the time just want to be heard and listened to, just like you or I would. They are a human being just like we are. 🙂 Society doesn’t always allow for a person who stutters to say what they want to say, or be heard… so always allow for that in your therapy room. Also, ALWAYS in therapy… I use the ship analogy (I do this with my graduate students as well.) I have students draw a ship on their papers and label it for the therapeutic alliance when treating a person who stutters. The ship is labeled as the SLP. The SLP provides the template for therapy with the educational background, knowledge, and prior experience in the treatment of people who stutter. The steering wheel of the ship is labeled as the Child with Stuttering/Guardian OR the PWS. The PWS steers the ship- guiding the therapy process so that the goals of the PWS are addressed in therapy. The therapeutic alliance or therapy process in general cannot work-one without the other…. so therapy must be a collaborative process. The PWS steers the ship… the ship provides the template for treatment with the educational knowledge, the activities, etc.- and that is a constant with every person who stutters that we treat. 🙂

    Question 2: What advice would you give parents with a child that stutters?
    -LOVE this question. The Stuttering Foundation of America makes great handouts for parents, and some of them can even be printed for free! (it’s a pamphlet called “Tips for Listening” and there are “tips for teachers” and “tips for parents” pamphlets as well. I still have a lot of parents call me on the phone wanting me to “fix” their child’s “problem” of stuttering. When this happens, it is an excellent educational opportunity. Remember, not everyone is a speech-language pathologist or SLP student and people in the general public do not know what we know until we tell them differently… so when you tell the world about what you know, do it gently and kindly…. or the world won’t listen. Stuttering is not a “problem” nor is it something that we should ever want to approach by wanting to “fix.” We can explain the nature of stuttering kindly to the parent (who just oftentimes doesn’t know better.) Most of the time, the parent/guardian/teacher, whomever the party is that is involved learns to not say this anymore… but we also can’t force people to say things or have empathy: always remember this too. Don’t beat yourself up.. if you have shared the love with your stuttering knowledge and the other person doesn’t change their tune… you have done your part. Some people will keep thinking the way they do no matter what you say.. we just hope for the sake of their child, that they stop telling this sweet child that every time they speak it’s a “problem”.. because that in itself is truly the problem.

    Question 3: What do you think the greatest misconception of someone who stutters is?
    -This is a great question! There are several misconceptions of individuals who stutter, but the one that always gets me the most is: “that person has dementia.” Within what we know about the nature of stuttering, stuttering and cognitive level of function are not related. Overt stuttering behaviors (those that can be seen) like pauses/hesitations are oftentimes mistaken by society as times of forgetfulness. This is truly not the case. So, now that you know better, tell other people. 🙂
    Keep being amazing, and I LOVE the language that you used in your questions! Always make sure to ask the person who stutters what is preferred by them first, as it is their stuttering experience that we are treating, not our own… Does this person call their speaking “stuttering”, “stammering”, “disfluencies”… do they refer to themselves as having a “disorder” or not? If the person does not call themselves “disordered” then we surely do not need to be calling the person “disordered.” 🙂 Take care!

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