|About the presenter: Craig E. Coleman is a Clinical Coordinator at Childrenšs Hospital of Pittsburgh and Co-Director of the Stuttering Center of Western PA. Craig is a Board Recognized Specialist in Fluency Disorders. In addition, Craig is an elected member of the Legislative Council of the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association and President-Elect of the Pennsylvania Speech and Hearing Association.|
For school-age and adolescent children who stutter, treatment goals should target all aspects of the disorder. This includes the affective (feelings and emotions related to stuttering), behavioral (speech disfluencies, physical tension, secondary behaviors), and cognitive (thoughts associated with stuttering) components of the disorder.
Targeting the affective and cognitive components of stuttering can be especially challenging, as it can be difficult for children to verbally discuss these issues with others. Children may be more likely to discuss their thoughts and feelings in writing, especially during the early stages of therapy. Pencil and paper tasks such as journaling are a great way to begin a discussion with a child on his thoughts and feelings associated with stuttering. The written responses can then be used to verbally discuss speaking situations, experiences, or modification techniques with the child.
In March 2006, we launched a trial internet blog based on one of our newsletters, Kids Speak. The blog is designed to be a tool that provides children who stutter with a mechanism for interacting with other children who stutter. All children can remain anonymous, and thus can freely post their thoughts about stuttering.
The clinical staff at the Stuttering Center serves as moderators of the Kids Speak Blog to ensure that all posts and comments are appropriate. All members of the Kids Speak Blog must be approved by Stuttering Center staff.
In a little over a month of the trial period, there were approximately 20 postings by children who stutter, including poems about stuttering that children have written, questions posted for other children, descriptions of difficult speaking situations, etc.
In addition to providing children with an "on-line" journaling tool, blogging also allows children who view the experiences of others who stutter. It can help reduce the sense of isolation that many children who stutter experience because they have never met another child who stutters. The Kids Speak Blog can also be an effective tool in helping clinicians and parents better understand stuttering disorders. In reading some of the entries, the impact of the disorder and the treatment priorities of the children become more apparent.
Based on feedback during our trial period last Spring, we are going to launch the Kids Speak Blog permanently in September 2006. You can view the blog at http://kidsspeakblog.blogspot.com/
After the online conference is closed, if you have any questions about the Kids Speak Blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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