(Anaheim Hills, CA -- March 14th) --- According to fluency disorder experts, early treatment of children who stutter can prevent most of them from developing a life long stuttering disorder.
Glyndon Riley, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, professor emeritus of communication disorders and Vice President of Clinical Affairs of the Center for Children Who Stutter at the California State University, Fullerton, warns that "you have to catch children who stutter early because by the age of 12 patterns are set that can be hard to change as in an adult."
The National Stuttering Project (NSP) is launching a national campaign, called to educate the public and professional community about the need for early intervention and the existence of effective treatment of childhood stuttering. NSP, the largest U.S. non-profit support organization for people who stutter, has designated 1996 as "The Year of the Child Who Stutters."
And continuing in the trend of cooperation between consumer and professional organizations, NSP's Year of the Child Who Stutters program received an $8,000 grant from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association's (ASHA) consumer affairs division. Printed material from the Stuttering Foundation of America helpful to parents of stuttering children will also be available at the symposiums.
"While studies show that early treatment for children who stutter is effective, yet many teachers, counselors, and doctors still advise parents to defer speech therapy until it may be too late," says Michael Sugarman, NSP Executive Director.
During the year, the NSP will sponsor symposiums in 10 cities to acquaint parents, educators and speech language pathologists with the latest information about childhood stuttering diagnosis and treatment. Symposiums featuring nationally recognized experts on stuttering are scheduled in Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Fullerton (CA.), Los Angeles, New Orleans, Long Island (N.Y.), Spokane (WA.), and Washington, D.C.
Additionally, the symposium will offer participants an opportunity to share with others their fears, frustrations, and triumphs. And children who stutter will be encouraged to engage in speaking experiences which they would normally shy away from in their daily life.
C. Woodruff Starkweather, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, hopes if parents will take away at least one thought from the symposiums it is that they are not the cause of their child's stuttering. "But they are in the best position to do something about it, particularly, before their child starts school."
Symposium registration brochures can be obtained by contacting NSP at 1-800-364-1677 or by e-mail at NSPmail@aol.com