Iceberg of Stuttering

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Re: Ice Berg Article

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 10/8/03
Time: 10:36:08 PM
Remote Name:


Hi Megan,

An excellent question! Parents and family constitute part of the stutterer's environment and as such affect the emotions which are below the waterline of the iceberg.

As time passes, the family environment decreases somewhat, but probably never disappears. In childhood, the family is the TOTAL ENVIRONMENT for the child, so the interaction with the parents is absolutely essential. If you have no parental interaction, you will make no progress with the child. The parents can go so far as to model speech patterns (ala Mr. Rogers "I like you just the way you are.") which can go a LONG way toward dissolving the bottom part of the iceberg to the point of actually CURING the stuttering. You've taken an ice CUBE and prevented it from growing into an ice BERG! That's the best possible outcome you can ever expect. Congratulations!

As time passes and the iceberg grows as the child moves through puberty, adolescence and into young adulthood. During this time parental influence may decrease but peer pressure will play a larger role. So during this time you need to somehow involve the client's friends - or better yet, get him or her to do that. Progress is still possible, but the bigger the iceberg grows, the bigger the problem becomes. Emphasis should be given to helping the client realize he or she CAN lead a successful life even if he/she stutters! Interpersonal relationship skills should also be emphasized.

In full adulthood, if the iceberg has continued to grow uncontrollably, you're faced with lots of emotional baggage to deal with. An understanding wife or husband can be a real asset to helping a client realize his life need not be limited because of stuttering.

Does this help? If not, email me at and we'll talk further.

Thanks for your excellent question!


Last changed: September 12, 2005