||About the presenter: Judy Kuster, M.S. in speech-language pathology and M.S. in counseling, is an associate professor in Communication Disorders at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is well-published in Internet resources and has presented at state, national and international conferences. She is the webmaster for Net Connections for Communication Disorders and Sciences and the Stuttering Home Page as well as the coordinator of this online conference. She holds ASHA's Specialty Recognition in Stuttering and is a member of the Division #4 Task Force on continuing education. She is a member of the National Stuttering Association, the International Fluency Association and the International Stuttering Association.
You can post Questions/comments about the following paper to Judy Kuster before October 22, 2002.
Filling your Fluency Files Affordably
by Judith Maginnis Kuster
from Minnesota, USA
There are numerous challenges for speech-language pathologists who treat children who stutter in the schools - high caseloads, short therapy sessions, grouping children with dissimilar problems, lack of available therapy over summer months, difficulty scheduling meetings with parents, finding appropriate materials. This article is designed to address the last of these challenges - finding materials, especially materials that will fit into a depleted school budget. The materials in this article are limited to those that are either freely available, can be made by the creative clinician, or are available commercially for under $20 in most cases.
Four excellent resources for the speech-language pathologist who works with children who stutter are:
Although all of the above resources have many helpful materials for parents, teachers, and children who stutter, the clinician should not simply encourage them to "read a book from the SFA, NSA, or FRIENDS" or "search the Stuttering Home Page." Not only may they find information that does not relate to a particular child, they may also be overwhelmed by the amount of material available. Instead, the clinician should act as a guide, suggesting appropriate material. Several examples of such material is provided below. Although all of the prices and addresses provided were correct at the time this article was submitted, the reader is cautioned that prices, addresses, and availability change, and what is here today may be gone tomorrow. There may also be many other excellent resources available besides those listed.
- The Stuttering Foundation of America (SFA) - an organization dedicated to providing education about stuttering. Besides sponsoring workshops for speech-language pathologist, the SFA provides numerous books, brochures, and videos about stuttering.
- The National Stuttering Association (NSA) - an organization with a network of support groups throughout the US. The NSA provides newsletters and other materials for those with an interest in stuttering.
- FRIENDS - an organization to support young people who stutter.
- The Stuttering Home Page (SHP) - an informational website located at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Two sections are of special interest to the school-based clinician - Just for Kids and Just for Teens.
Therapy materials and ideas freely available on the Internet
Materials designed to educate children about stuttering
- "Parent-Clinician Fluency Assessment" by Janice Westbrook is designed to be used in three meetings with parents of children who stutter and was first published in the February 1995 newsletter published by Aaron's Associates, a former non-profit organization developed to support children who stutter.
- Teacher Checklist for Fluency - designed by Nina Reardon to facilitate information sharing and consultation with the teacher of a child who stutters.
Specific treatment suggestions
Group or day-long program ideas
Special Challenges: Working on Attitudes and Feelings
- Stuttering Awareness Game is a Jeopardy-like activity created on QUIA by Tammy Bryant-McMillin uses facts, myths, etc. about stuttering
- FAQs for Kids - Frequently Asked Questions from Kids Who Stutter answered in language they can understand.
- Stuttering from KidsHealth.
Teasing and Bullying
Dealing with feelings about stuttering
- Dealing with Teasing - an internet site where children have shared how they have been teased, how they feel when they are teased, and what they do when they are teased. Clinicians have used this site in therapy to help children open up about being teased and to brainstorm some ways they might handle being teased.
- NSA Anti-teasing Kit provides several items to address teasing about stuttering. It is available at no cost from the NSA.
- Three papers are available online with excellent information about dealing with bullying and teasing.
- The Don't Laugh at Me program is part of the Operation Respect project, whose goal is to eliminate bullying in the schools. Begun by Peter Yarrow from folk singers, Peter, Paul, and Mary, DLAM consists of three curricula (grades 2-5, grades 6-8, and one for summer camps and after-school programs). These resources contain wonderful ideas for helping classroom teachers or school clinicians reduce bullying of children. The entire curriculum (ranging from 50-100 pages) and all the materials, including songs and videos are freely available online or can be ordered. This resource belongs in every school.
Enhancing self esteem
- Gallery of Children's' Art about stuttering. When words aren't enough, it has been suggested that children draw pictures to express themselves. This "gallery" contains over 50 pictures of stuttering drawn by children and teens. Other pictures are welcome.
- Making My Own Way: Empowering Children Who Stutter - by Jackie Biagini and Judy Butler, is a workbook "designed to foster trust, self-confidence, and interpersonal communication skills with set goals and a plan to achieve them." . Use of this manual is explained in an article by Butler and Biagini, Journal Writing for Children Who Stutter
- Chmela, KA and Reardon, N (2001) The School-Age Child Who Stutters: Working Effectively with Attitudes and Emotions. . . A Workbook, available from the SFA.
Presentations in the Classroom
Children And Teens Who Stutter Connect With Each Other.
Erin Dyer Olson and Phyliss Ziegler Speech and Language Kids 'Tell It Like It Is' - a project that describes how they created an email friendship between two 10-year-old children who stutter.
The Stuttering Home Page provides opportunities for children and teens to become "key pals" with others who stutter. Names of children under age 13 are added to the keypals page with parental permission. kids and
There are at least two online discussion forums designed specifically for teens who stutter.
- NSA-Teens is a "virtual chapter" for teens in the National Stuttering Association. It consists of both email broadcasts and text chat. It is restricted to members of the National Stuttering Association. Contact Russ Hicks at email@example.com for further information.
- WORDFREE@LISTSERV.TEMPLE.EDU is a small and inactive mailing list designed for people under the age of 20. Members can read what others talk about or join in any discussion. It is functional and has potential to serve teens who stutter. To join, email the following message to firstname.lastname@example.org subscribe wordfree yourfirstname yourlastname.
Posters are not only a good avenue for decorating speech therapy rooms and offices, they are also helpful for children who are teaching others about stuttering or to provide themselves appropriate messages about stuttering by using them to decorate their room at home. Several posters are designed especially for children or would be interesting to teens.
Books for Children
- "Stuttering Is . . ." by Meredith L. Rose - "Based on a poem written by NSA member Meredith Rose when she was 10 years old, this poster helps kids explore the meaning of stuttering for them as individuals and speakers, with an emphasis on improving communication, facing fears, accepting differences, and using various appropriate speech management techniques."
- Stutter Buddies: "If you stutter, you're not alone" - "Messages of inspiration, acceptance, and hope about stuttering and therapy from five children who stutter, ranging in age from 6 to 12 years. The messages highlight different children and how each deals with stuttering in their own special way."
- Classroom Instruction: "We respect the differences in each other" - "Provides examples of various ways people can be unique or different from each other, including "tall," "skinny," "shy," "lisp," "stutter," "musical," "athletic," heavy," etc. For use as a springboard for class discussion."
- "If You Stutter, You're in Good Company" - Depicts nine famous people who stutter(ed), from Aristotle to Marilyn Monroe.
- "If You Stutter, You Have Friends" - 21 well-known contemporary people who stutter.
Online posters are also available and can be printed for individual use:
- "Fifteen Famous People Who Stutter" - well-known contemporary people who stutter.
- National Stuttering Awareness Week posters are available The 2001 poster is Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Nicholas Brendon. A set of 11 posters from previous years is also available.
The following books are recommended both for children who stutter as well as to add to school libraries.
Books for Children and Teens
- Eelco de Geus, (1999) Sometimes I Just Stutter - available from the SFA or free online
- Hansen, Joyce, (1997) I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly - The Reconstruction Era Diary of Patsy - available on Amazon.
- Suzy Kline series about Mary Marony, who stutters
- Kline, Suzie (1992) Mary Marony and the Snake - out of print, but may be available used. Check Amazon
- Kline, Suzie (1993) Mary Marony Hides Out - available on Amazon.
- Kline, Suzie (1994) Mary Marony, Mummy Girl - available on Amazon.
- Kline, Suzie (1995) Mary Marony and the Chocolate Surprise - available on Amazon.
- Lears, Laurie, (2000) Ben Has Something to Say: A Story about Stuttering - available from the NSA.
- Lew, Gail Wilson (1999) Jeremy and the Hippo - available from NSA. Is also available free online
- Reville, Julie, (September 1989) The Many Voices of Paws: A Book for Young Stutterers - available from Amazon.
- Silverman, Ellen-Marie, (January 2001) Jason's Secret - for ages 9-12 - available on Amazon.
- Sugarman, Michael and Swain, Kim C. (1995) The Adventures of Phil Carrot: The Forest of Discord - available from the NSA.
Books for Teens
- Ahlbach, J, Away from the Crowd: Essays on the Stuttering Experience, available from FRIENDS.
- Our Voices: Inspirational Insights from Young People Who Stutter, (1999) - available from SFA.
- Westbrook, J and Ahlbach, J (eds) (1996) Listen With Your Heart, available from FRIENDS.
- Advice to Those Who Stutter (1998) - available from SFA.
- Jezer, Marty (1997) Stuttering: A Life Bound Up In Words - currently being republished in paperback.
- Love, Robert Earl, (2000) The Bob Love Story: If It's Gonna Be, It's Up to Me - available from the NSA.
- Murray, Frederick P (1991) A Stutterer's Story - available from SFA.
- St. Louis, KO, editor, (2001) Living with Stuttering: Stories, Basics, Resources and Hope - available from the NSA.
Two organizations currently produce newsletters specifically for children who stutter.
- Stutter Buddies, a quarterly newsletter for kids from 6 to 12 (free to members of the NSA)
- Reaching Out, comes out 9 times a year from FRIENDS (subscription rate - $25/year)
The SFA has a rich store of videos available at a very reasonable price. Some of the videos are designed for parent or teacher education. Others are designed to assist the school-based clinician in providing services. One is directed at teens who stutter. Below is current list of videos which are described and can be ordered.
- Stuttering and the Preschool Child - 30 minutes
- The Child Who Stutters - 55 minutes
- The School Clinician: Ways to be more effective - 55 minutes
- Therapy in Action - the School-age Child who stutter - 38 min.
- The School-Age child who stutters: Working effectively with attitudes and emotions - 37 minutes
- The School-Age child who stutters: Dealing effectively with guilt and shame - 30 minutes
- Practical ideas: Working with teachers - 40 minutes
- Do you stutter: straight talk for teens - 35 minutes
- Making Sound Clinical Decision - 60 minutes
Materials for Teachers
There is a wealth of materials to help teachers understand stuttering and the special needs of students in their classroom who stutter. The materials listed are of varying lengths, and can be matched to the interest and information needs of the teacher.
Materials for Parents
- LaBlance, G.; Steckol, K.; and Smith, V. (1994) Stuttering: The Role of the Classroom Teacher.
- Mazzuca-Peter, Julie, The Student Who Stutters - Teachers' Guide
- Ramig, Peter, To The Teacher Of The Nonfluent Child
- Rind, E. and Rind, P., The Stutterer In The Classroom: A Guide for the Teacher - from the Stuttering Resource Foundation. Formerly available in booklet form. Now available online at
- Brenda Zenorini has developed a lesson plan to explain stuttering disorders with suggestions for teachers and parents
- "The School-Age Child Who Stutters: Information for Educators" - from the NSA for 50 cents
- The Child Who Stutters at School: Notes to the Teacher - a brochure from the SFA. Also available online.
All of the suggestions below contain excellent information for parents of children who stutter. The clinician is encouraged to study what is available and match it to the needs of the family.
Information available on the Internet
Stephen Hood, Helping Children Talk Fluently: Suggestions For Parents
Julie Mazzuca-Peter, The Child Who Stutters: a Parents' Guide
Peter Ramig, To The Parents Of The Nonfluent Child
Woody Starkweather, et. al. Stuttering Prevention: A Manual for Parents
J. Scott Yaruss and David W. Hammer, Information for Parents of Disfluent Children
Word by Word: Understanding Stuttering by MSNBC
Stuttering by NIDCD
What is Stuttering by ASHA
Books and newsletters
- Yaruss, JS and Reardon, NA, (2001) Preschool Children Who Stutter: Information and Support for Parents - available from the NSA.
- Stuttering and Your Child: Questions and Answers (3rd edition), (2002) - available from the SFA.
- CARE, (connection, advocacy, resources, & education) A quarterly newsletter for Parents of Children who Stutter from the NSA - free to members of the NSA.
Materials are also available from various commercial companies. To find them, the interested clinician is encouraged to search the catalogues or websites of various commercial companies by using the keyword "stuttering."
The entire smorgasbord of materials mentioned throughout this article can be added to the speech clinician's fluency files for under $200 (excluding tax and mailing costs). However, it is unlikely any book, brochure, poster, article, website, video or therapy idea/program alone will make a difference for children who stutter without the creative clinician who adapts the material appropriately. A few examples of ways clinicians have used several of the resources suggested throughout this article will not only provide a conclusion to the article, but hopefully inspire an introduction as well, as other clinicians explore and adapt the materials to the students in their caseloads.
Clinicians have helped young clients use materials from the SFA, FRIENDS, NSA, and the SHP as well as other resources to prepare interesting presentations to help children who stutter and their peers learn about stuttering. Three examples are on the Internet and are shared to feature courageous children and inspire clinicians to provide such opportunities for children in their caseload.
A clinician recently shared her excitement about a 14 year old in her caseload. One of her goals had been to get him to put his feelings into words. She had been encouraging him to journal, but his response was less than enthusiastic. After discovering on the Internet, some poetry written by a person who stutters, she asked if he might be interested in writing poetry and she reported his response was the strangest look as he nodded yes. The next session he brought her 4 notebooks filled with his poetry. The end of the story (or really the beginning) is that she got him enrolled in a special creative writing class (he had not previously shared his gift or interest). This young man has found a niche and respect - a place where he can communicate very effectively, and where what he has to say is listened to and respected.
Another clinician tells the story of a 6 year old who was being teased about her stuttering. She had talked to her parents and teachers, but the teasing had continued and she was very sad. With her clinician she explored several ways other children had responded to teasing. The student declared, "I wouldn't do that" or "I like that one" as they went through a long list. After reading some of the articles about teasing and bullying, the clinician helped the student role play the responses she had chosen. Several days later, this child came into the therapy room, very excited, explaining, "When they teased me, I told them 'You're not very good at doing that' and guess what!! They stopped teasing me and asked me to play with them!"
Many more "success stories" are waiting to be written!
You can post Questions/comments about the above paper to Judy Kuster before October 22, 2002.
September 1, 2002