|About the presenter: Diane Games, M.A. is a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist and co-owner of Tri-County Speech Associates, Inc. a private practice in the Cincinnati area. She is a Board Recognized Specialist in Fluency Disorders and part of the Initial Cadre of fluency specialists. Professional activities have included the presidency of the Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association and honors of OSLHA in 1994. She also teaches a graduate level course in Fluency and Fluency Disorders at Miami University. She has presented several workshops on the treatment of fluency disorders and has coordinated the Fluency Friday Plus project in the Cincinnati area for the last four years|
The "My Story" PowerPoint framework is part of a series of teaching tools using the computer to facilitate discussion with children and teens who stutter on concepts important in treatment. Working with children and teens who stutter poses many challenges including the proverbial sigh when another worksheet is given to review, especially when there is a need to discuss sensitive treatment issues. By providing a tool to use with my "computer savvy" clientele, I learned that providing an alternative means of expression can be highly motivational while targeting discussion of important treatment concepts.
The "My Story" framework provided a forum for each child/teen to comment on important personal issues with various speakers. The frameworks gave me a glimpse into the student's cognitive thinking concerning his/her stuttering. The children and teens used this PowerPoint framework to develop and express their viewpoints in writing. Following the completion of the written story, the child/teen orally discussed their story and frequently provided alternative solutions or ideas for handling difficult situations. They also were empowered to evaluate their progress and to plan for future treatment.
In the process of sharing their stories, the teens/children educated their families and others who have similar problems. The PowerPoints were placed on a disc and shared with family members and other students on my caseload. Often children/teens were able to identify with similar feelings or thoughts presented by their peers. This frequently facilitated conversation to further develop these points or to problem solve issues. When the teens shared their stories with family members, the end result was better understanding and communication concerning stuttering. One teen, who could not talk to his parents about his stuttering, was able to give them a paper copy of his story (he left on their desk late at night). These parents, who frequently asked him practice his speech strategies, began to understand his feelings about stuttering. In general, the teens felt empowered to say things on the PowerPoint that they could not say in person.
I have included three samples of completed My Story PowerPoints. The youngest child was Colt (age eleven); Robbie (age 15) and Andrew (age 16).
Colt's Story reflected his cognitive stage of development. He focused on many aspects of his life with stuttering inserted into the mix of his personal characteristics. Prior to writing his story, he had some negative speaking incidences at school. The "My Story" PowerPoint helped him reframe his thinking about how to handle "set backs" in his speech.
Robbie is from a very large, talkative family. He has a brother who is 15 months younger and has a learning disability. He feels that much of the family attention has focused on his brother. In addition, he feels sympathy from his family instead of acceptance. The process of writing his thoughts was empowering to him and he subsequently shared some of his feelings with his parents.
Andrew is a quiet teen who has accepted a role of being "the student who does not volunteer." He plays soccer and has a job that "does not require speaking". He is the student who quietly gave his parents a paper copy of his story. I spoke to his mother shortly after she found the story, and she reflected surprise about how Andrew felt about his speech. She also indicated that the family would try to respect his request to allow him freedom to speak openly at home.
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