MORE Client Stories: A Valuable Tool for Clinicians
By Judith Maginnis Kuster
There are many ways for clients to "tell their stories." Past columns have shared creative story-telling ideas using poetry ("Uncovering Our Clients' Creativity," The ASHA Leader, March 16, 2004, p. 16 - www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster4/part56.html) and art ("Communicating Through Art," The ASHA Leader, August 14, 2007, p. 38 - www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster4/part77.html). A recent column ("Client Stories: A Valuable Tool for Clinicians," The ASHA Leader, March 25, 2008, p. 38-39 - www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster4/part81.html) featured several online personal accounts. This column will feature additional ways people are telling their stories on the Internet.
Time Slips (www.timeslips.org/stories.html) describes a creative group storytelling project for people with memory loss. Several stories developed by clients are included on the Web site, which also features downloadable pictures to stimulate storytelling and the option to add more stories.
Short, Personal Stories
- "In Search Of" is a newsletter created by people with aphasia, contains several personal stories about living with aphasia. (http://depts.washington.edu/sphsc/clinic_news.htm)
- Aphasia Hope Foundation has published nearly 50 essays from stroke survivors, their caregivers, friends, and speech-language professionals. (www.aphasiahope.org/experiences.jsp)
- Listen To Our Stories: Words, Pictures, and Songs by Young People with Disabilities includes submissions by individuals with Apert's syndrome, aphasia, cerebral palsy, cleft lip and palate, deafness, Down syndrome, stroke, TBI,
Williams syndrome and other disabilities. (www.listentoourstories.com/index.htm)
- "People's experiences" is a collection of stories by children and adults who have cochlear implants (www.listen-up.org/implant.htm#stories)
- People Who Stutter Speak for Themselves includes information on therapy programs, about successes and disappointments, and about goals and aspirations. (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/PWSspeak/PWSspeak.html)
Since 2003, StoryCorp (www.storycorps.net) has collected thousands of everyday people interviewing family and friends. The site offers a free discussion guide and detailed instructions on how to host a "listening party." (www.storycorps.net/book/listening-party) including a How-to Kit (www.storycorps.net/book/listening-party/how-to-kit) and an agenda (www.storycorps.net/book/listening-party/sample-party-agenda). Several interviews are online.
Jacqueline J. Hinckley, author of Narrative-Based Practice, (www.pluralpublishing.com/publications_nbpislp.htm) suggested using the online materials in counseling courses (personal correspondence). Some of the stories feature our potential clients.
Voices: Past and Present (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/voices/voices.html) has several familiar people who stutter, telling about their personal journey.
Videos provide another outlet for people to tell their stories, which can be therapeutic for the producer, instructive to others with the same disorders, and instructional for the professional who wants to learn about various disorders from a client's perspective.
Using http://video.google.com, searches Google and YouTube videos. A quick search turned up several significant films and photojournalism slideshows. Anything with "video.google.com" as part of the URL can be downloaded and saved on your computer.
These two columns only scratched the surface of materials available online of clients sharing their stories. The reader is invited to explore the Internet for additional Web sites, audio and video recordings and blog sites. There are thousands of additional stories available on-line.
- Reconnecting With Life: Stories Of Life After Stroke are short stories about the experience of living with stroke and aphasia (www.pilgrim.myzen.co.uk/patientvoices/naoconn.htm)
- I have Alzheimer's disease is a short clip of a 22 minute DVD of seven people talking about living with Alzheimer's (www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2XeRteBwMc)
- Help Me To Speak (47 min) is a documentary from the United Kingdom that follows the extraordinary story of children who stutter.
- I Stutter, produced for MTV, follows the lives of three individuals who stutter (www.mtv.com/overdrive/?id=1574617&vid=190038).
- Phil Schneider's film, Transcending Stuttering: The Inside Story (28 min) shares "an intimate journey into the lives of seven people who stutter." (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8018851933497152830)
Judith Kuster is a professor in the Department of Speech, Hearing, and Rehabilitation Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. All of Kuster's Internet columns are available in HTML format with active links (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster4/leader.html), although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.
Kuster, JM, More Client Stories: A Valuable Tool for Clinicians, The ASHA Leader, August 12, 2008, p. 36-37.