Dear Abby Letters: Talking Openly About Stuttering

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Re: Dear Abby Activity

From: Peter Reitzes
Date: 14 Oct 2006
Time: 10:31:20 -0500
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Lisa, great questions, thanks for writing. Students ask a wide range of questions during the Dear Abby activity such as specific, personal questions (“What should I do when my three sisters tease me and I lock myself in my room?”) to general questions (“Sometimes I get teased by people. What should I do?”). I do use Dear Abby, in a greatly modified form, with adults. For example, with one adult who was terrified of stuttering in public, I shared a story about a former client who would walk from drug store to drug store until he found a store that sold razors which could be pointed to. This way, the razors could be purchased without having to ask the cashier for them by name. My client immediately said, “I do the same kind of thing.” We then discussed different ways to respond to anticipating stuttering that could be tried instead of arranging pointing situations. What is important is that I did not try and “trick” my client into talking about stuttering. My client knew that I was trying to evoke a conversation about new ways to manage stuttering. With adults, it is important that you do not come across as patronizing.

Last changed: 10/23/06