The Parent Pledge of FRIENDS: THE ASSOCIATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO STUTTER states, "We will understand that stuttering has become a part of our lives, increasing the need for each of us to be flexible, curious, and open to new possibilities for ourselves and our children." Journal Writing For Children Who Stutter is a unique and simple approach to a new possibility for your child.
Special training is not necessary to use this journal. Preparation and knowledge of specific techniques for treating fluency disorders are minimal. You are already and expert listener and observer, as well as a trusted and valued facilitator for your child. You are qualified to offer guidance and support on this journey of self-observation.
The journal is organized into several levels. Each page shares a similar format that is easy to follow. You may proceed in a very methodical manner, one level at a time, in order. However, you will most likely follow a more spontaneous approach, depending on the specific situation and needs of your child.
Time is probably the most significant factor in our busy lives. Set aside a few minutes for your child to write as often as he is willing or able. Writing can happen when you are together or apart. You will need to make time alone to talk about what has been written. "Talk time" can occur in conjunction with the writing or separately. In some instances you may find that closing the journal and simply having a conversation will be more productive. Your goal is to learn as much as possible about your child's communication in a variety of situations, and to find ways to assist him in the development of realistic techniques for management of fluency at those times.
To encourage communication, establish a relaxed atmosphere. Respond to your child's ideas with nonjudgmental reactions, such as "I see," or a nod of your head, or rephrasing the statement (Your child writies/says, "I was really nervous when the teacher called on me." Your response, "That was a tense situation/an anxious moment/etc.") Ask open-ended questions such as "What else happened?", "What do you think about that?", "Tell me more about what happened." Ask questions to elicit specific details and accept all responses in a positive and encouraging manner. You want your child to feel safe, accepted, and valued, no matter where the conversation leads. Above all, the journal writing process is meant to be positive, to evoke emotion, dialogue, and action. Going through the motions of writing, asking a few questions, and using only what is on the paper will be fruitless. This is a tool to get you started. If you are creative, thoughtful, spontaneous, emotional, and supportive, Journal Writing For Children Who Stutter will be a productive and rewarding experience for you and your child.
Jackie Biagini & Judy Butler