About the presenter: Beatriz Biain de Touzet, : Beatriz Biain de Touzet (MD) is Speech Pathologist and Professor of the University of Buenos Aires, with a post-graduate degree in Fluency Disorders. Since 1992, she has been holding Seminars for Specialization in Stuttering for speech pathologists from Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina. She is the President of the Argentine Association on Stuttering and organized the Year of the Child who Stutter in Buenos Aires. She has been the coordinator of the first Self-Aid Group for people who stutter, within the framework of the Local Program for Mental Health of the Pirovano Hospital in Buenos Aires, for which she is presently acting as an advisor. She is also devoted to research work on the functions of the right hemisphere and of their relationship with stuttering. E-mail: beatriztouzet@interar.com.ar

You can post Questions/comments about the following paper to Beatriz Biain de Touzet before October 22, 2001.

Free Open Consultation On Stuttering: An Integrating Group Experience

by Beatriz Biain de Touzet
from Argentina

This paper is also available in Spanish


Free Open Consultations were born in 1998 as way to provide information about stuttering to all the common people demanding it. The AAT advertised its activities in magazines, radio and TV and received phone calls, letters and e-mail messages. Consequently, the free open consultations were created as a concrete strategy to provide people with prompt answers and solutions. These meetings are co-ordinated by speech and language pathologists specialised in stuttering, with the co-operation of a person who stutters, and are attended by parents, children, professionals and schoolteachers who tell about their experiences and listen to those from others.


The members of the Argentina Stuttering Association (AAT) are professionals, parents and stutterers. We make attempts aimed at diffusion, prevention and advice in all areas related to stuttering in Argentina. We train speech pathologists, stimulate and provide advice on the creation of Self-Help Groups and perform prevention campaigns. Among the various activities performed by the AAT, we thought of one that would allow us to fulfil our diffusion and integration goals. This is how Free Open Consultations were born in Buenos Aires: a free, integrating group experience. Once a month, after advertising in the media, we summon professionals, persons who stutter, parents and schoolteachers to come to the AAT headquarters. This experience allows us to meet all those people interested in this topic for any reason.


a) Specific objectives
b)Less-specific objectives

Specific objectives

Less-specific objectives


Free open consultations are co-ordinated by specialists in stuttering, a psychologist and a person who stutters. They involve three well-defined stages:
a) The initial stage, during which the newcomers tell the reason of their consultation: parents observe those who stutter; those who stutter show that they do; speech pathologists learn; schoolteachers obtain information; emotions start moving around.
b)The second stage, during which information and advice are provided.
c)A third stage for reflection about the experience and during which information is given about the activities performed by the AAT.












Who come for consultation?


























Who prompts them?













In addition to the subject matter in each meeting, the integration experienced by the group is worth being mentioned, which is always different and unique. The greatest demand comes from mothers, followed by teenagers and professionals. The greatest participation in Free Open Consultations is attained through the TV and through the speech pathologists trained in post-graduate courses on stuttering.


For 77 consultations recorded, an evaluation was made of variables related to who were the attendants, how they learned about the consultation and why did they attend. Concerning who were the attendants, the results were as follows:







Teenagers and youths









Speech pathologists












As it may be seen, currently, the greatest demand is among schoolchildren, followed by teenagers and, to a lower extent, by pre-schoolchildren, adults, speech pathologists and schoolteachers, in this order.

Among the results, something worth mentioning is what we have attained through what we have named "Itinerant Free Open Consultations". After invitations, a team of specialists in stuttering travels to different locations in Argentina’s ample territory, taking along this idea of shared integration and learning. That is, applying the same Free Open Consultation modality, but going over the various provinces. More than 100 people gathered in some of the meetings, including speech pathologists, persons who stutter and parents. One week ahead, the event is advertised in the local newspapers, radios and TV stations, indicating that these are free meetings aimed at promoting awareness about stuttering.

The results attained in the Itinerant Free Open Consultations were amazing:


In countries like Argentina, where there is total ignorance concerning the various issues involved in stuttering, the AAT’s Free Open Consultations constitute an original, valuable and easy-to-apply resource. We feel that this experience may serve as a basis for other developing countries. In each Free Open Consultation meeting, professionals are offered training and post-graduate courses on stuttering; parents are invited to participate in parent groups and orientation is provided concerning their children; people who stutter are informed of Self-Aid Groups, on the various free and private treatment alternatives, on the workshops organised by the AAT (corporal, music, drama) and on the Commission of People who Stutter. Free Open Consultation meetings have been performed for the last three years and we think they are a valuable resource revealing which are the needs concerning stuttering in the various regions. We have also reached the conclusion that the use of media advertising, the distribution of pamphlets in the streets and the posting of signs in different sites are all useful resources in attaining this integrating experience.

You can post Questions/comments about the above paper to Beatriz Biain de Touzet before October 22, 2001.

September 26, 2001