|About the presenter: Andy Floyd is a person who stutters. He earned his MA in Speech-Language Pathology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1999. He is an elementary school-based clinician outside of Denver, Colorado who also has a private practice focusing on kids and adults who stutter. Andy has presented at several NSA conventions and a Friends convention. He is a presenter on stuttering at the Go West conference in western Colorado this fall. Andy is married to another SLP, Jennifer, and they have three children: Aidan (6), Audrey (3) and Julia (5 months).|
One of the tools I like to use with my older school-age kids, teens and adult clients is for them to set speech goals for themselves. A resource that I turn to is a sports psychology book entitled The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance. I took roughly 50% of that book and translated it into stuttering terms. Here is the goal process I take my clients through in order to achieve optimal results:
It's highly important to set reachable, realistic goals. It's desirable to set the bar just out of your client's current grasp, since during therapy, your client will be acquiring tools and abilities that will be increasing his reach. However, putting a goal so high that he's likely to fail attaining time and time again will only lead to frustration and a feeling of hopelessness.
The goals must be adjustable, but shouldn't be changed too quickly. If the client has a really tough Monday applying his tools with his teacher, don't have him immediately lower his expectations and adjust his overall goal. However, if you both come to realize that the goal was set too high to begin with, then, by all means adjust it to where the client will meet with success.
The list of goals should be in writing. Reread the list when you meet and have the client honestly judge performance and see if anything needs tweaking.
I usually have the client set three types of goals daily/weekly, situational and long-range.
When making the list of goals, they MUST be positively worded. The word "don't" carries no functional image. Thinking about what you don't want to happen greatly increases the chance that it will happen. Instead of a percentage of time they won't stutter with their teacher/boss, make it a percentage of time they will use a certain tool you've been working on.
When setting the goals and progress monitoring to see how it's going, make sure to stress that both of you need to focus on the method the process of getting the desired result instead of the flashy ending. Progress monitoring is huge. I've met many SLPs that have their clients set goals, but then they rarely, if ever, look at them again. For them to make an impact and be a guiding force, they must be taken out during every or every other therapy session to see what the progress has been.
Here is some advice from the book that can come in handy:
The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance by H.A. Dorfman and Karl Kuehl (1995)
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