Strategies for Stuttering

Hello, a question I have is what are some strategies given to people who stutter to help assist them when speaking? Does treatment differ with children compared to adults?

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Strategies for Stuttering — 4 Comments

  1. First, I would say: “yes!” Treating children who stutter is different from treating adults who stutter. In fact, every treatment protocol is different depending on the individual’s experience with stuttering. I believe that effective treatment is individualized and focuses on changing the person’s reaction to the stuttering moment. The idea of a “strategy” implies some nebulous feature you pull out of the air to help you not stutter. While some SLPs promote this idea of strategies or tools, real progress comes from the person understanding their stutter and managing three aspects of that moment, the speech motor system, the cognitive process in that moment and the emotional aspect. Thanks for your question!

    • Yes as my colleagues have all three said here the treatment of stuttering with a child and an adult is highly variable. I have said this several times within these answers but Rita’s notion of “strategies” does imply pulling something out of thin air or as I say “fluency therapy in a box” which you simply just cannot do. Stuttering therapy is highly individualized and strategies cannot be recommended until the speaker’s experience and those three areas as Rita listed are taken into account. VERY GOOD question though, as this question is asked very often. 🙂

  2. Yes, absolutely! Working with children who stutter and adults who stutter can be very different, but then, work with 2 similarly aged children or 2 adults can also be very different. As Rita says, therapy approaches are usually individualised and tailored to each person’s specific situation, communication goals, attitude and experience of stuttering. The family’s experience and knowledge of stuttering can also influence the approach chosen, as work with the individual who stutters cannot be successful in isolation if their close support network has a negative, narrow or outdated view of stuttering.
    It isn’t possible to write down a list of ‘strategies’ to help assist someone to speak, as therapy can and should cover a lot of different options. Therapy plans should be agreed once enough information has been gathered about the individual’s specific communication aims and may include increasing knowledge about stuttering and communication; changing attitudes to stuttering and communication as well as learning about ways to ease tension within the moment of stuttering and ways to think and feel differently about stuttering and communication. There are a lot of options!

  3. The scope of practice of the Speech-Language Pathologist when it comes to treating covert stuttering is when there is communication avoidance. When it involved COMMUNICATION this it is within our scope of practice. Anything beyond that, is not within our scope of practice. This is how I teach it to my graduate students. The American Speech-Hearing Association does list counseling to be within our scope of practice, particularly, with “swallowing disorders” and “communication disorders.” If we did not counsel our swallowing patients, we would not be treating them properly. The same goes with out stuttering clients. We could teach fluency strategies all day, but if the person is not emotionally ready to employ them from a communication standpoint, then they won’t use them. That is very within our scope of practice. A psychologist may surely be needed, and oftentimes is, however, when the individuals needs go beyond that of communication (speaking situations, communication confidence, etc.) I just needed to clarify this, because we have a lot of university students that have asked questions about cover stuttering on this forum, and given the definition of our scope of practice I needed them to know what is specifically within our scope of practice properly, as what they should be taught. Thank you for responding.

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