Stuttering Therapy What's It All About?
Stuttering therapy is much more than teaching someone to "talk slower". SLPs use the following approaches when treating a person who stutters.
- Stuttering Modification Therapy - where SLPs teach you to stutter "more fluently" with less tension and struggle, learn to stutter in a more relaxed manner which will help you be more fluent.
- Fluency Shaping Therapy - where SLPs teach you to speak more fluently by using a slow rate of speech, decreasing length/complexity of the message, reinforcing fluency and carrying over fluency skills to other situations.
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These 2 therapy approaches can also be combined and used at different stages of therapy depending on what will be best for the person who stutters.
SLPs also choose different goals or outcomes from therapy depending on the level of stuttering they are treating.
The 3 main goals of treatment are:
- Spontaneous Fluency - to speak normally and without thinking about being smooth
- Controlled Fluency - to speak with slow rate and rhythm but still sound normal, takes more effort because you are using strategies
- Acceptable Stuttering - to openly stutter without fear or much embarrassment
One of the things that I didn't know before becoming an SLP is that we do a lot of counseling.
We took a short class on counseling at Utah State University, but I wish we could have taken more because we do a lot of it and mostly in stuttering.
SLPs counsel in many ways:
- Parents & Siblings - SLPs counsel parents on how to change the home environment and how to speak to their child to help them stutter less.
We counsel on home therapy programs when direct therapy isn't needed yet.
A lot of progress can be made by working on stuttering indirectly at home. And as always, the earlier the better!
- Teachers - SLPs help teachers change the classroom to promote fluency and deal with teasing.
- Children and Adults - We counsel and help people who stutter deal with their negative feelings and attitudes.
It can be hard to face bad feelings about speaking and how you feel about yourself because of stuttering.
SLPS are trained on how to get them out in the open and deal with them because it can prevent progress and make stuttering worse.