A Model for Manipulating Linguistic Complexity in Stuttering Therapy

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Re: "Brad"

From: Charlie Healey
Date: 10/25/01
Time: 8:59:35 AM
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Your question about what to do for families is a very difficult question to answer in this short space. This could be another topic paper for this conference! Briefly, the role of parents is critical to the success you will have in your therapy with the child. The first step is to provide information to the parents about stuttering and allow them to talk about those fears, embarrassments, anger, and all other feelings that they have about their child's stuttering. It's important to understand the disorder from their perspective. Your job as a clinician is to help shape the reactions they have to the stuttering. Having the parents write a journal each week for awhile allows them to put thoughts and feelings on paper. Discuss with them the role they play and the expectations they have for their child. Some parents demand too much, some too little. I also find it helpful to have group discussions periodically that involves the parents and child together with me acting as a mediator. Group discussions are quite effective in making sure everyone is on the same page about what is trying to be accomplished in therapy, what is seen as progress, how to deal with problems that have occurred and understanding what is going on in therapy. Remember that it takes time for parents to come to grips with the fact that the stuttering is not going to go away in a hurry and that changes in stuttering come in different forms...not just fluent speech. A better attitude and increased interaction among family members, even though the child continues to stutter, is a sign of progress. Make sure parents see the positive things their child can do beyond the stuttering. I hope these general suggestions answers your question.

Last changed: September 12, 2005