Talking to Parents about Stuttering


Re: Therapists and Physicians

From: Woody
Date: 10/18/00
Time: 12:07:26 PM
Remote Name:


Hi Fred:

In the past, there was so much misinformation being given to parents by physicians that many SLP's came to see the physician, usually a pediatrician, as the enemy. That is slowly changing, as pediatricians learn more about pediatric stuttering, but it has been a slow process. There is a huge demand on the time of practicing pediatricians, so it isn't easy for them to learn new ways of dealing with stuttering. And of course they have a lot of serious problems to contend with and new treatments for everything. Stuttering often takes a back seat. But I have seen some slow change over the past ten years.

Of course, pediatricians and SLP's need to be able to communicate with one another, speak the same language, and understand the disorder in a similar way. Pediatricians are laymen when it comes to stuttering, and they have the typical lay misconceptions, seeing the disorder only from the outside. And of course, with little stutterers, the parents are often as much the patients as the stuttering child is. They are understandably anxious and uncertain, if not downright scared, about the future for their child. And although the numbers show that between 50 and 80 per cent of children will recovery from stuttering, which is reason for optimism, we all need to remember that there is also a 20-50 per cent chance that the child will not recover without some help, and given the fact that stuttering is a life-altering problem of profound significance, not just the minor annoyance that it appears to be on the surface, SLP's need to do whatever they can to inform pediatricians about it. I have found that one of the best ways to do this is to find a pediatrician who stutters and enlist his or her aid in reaching others. Pediatricians whose children have begun to stutter are also a great source of support. I have noticed that this latter group never follows the advice that they were given in the Pediatrician's Handbook to "try to ignore it." When it is your kid, you see it very differently. The Stuttering Foundation of America has been on a campaign to reach pediatricians with good information for a number of years, and I think it is bearing fruit.

Thanks for the question.

Last changed: September 12, 2005