NJ Youth Day: Celebrating Me/Taming The Speech Monster Workshop
organized by Lucy Reed
My workshop for the kids 7-9 worked out really well. We had 5 boys who stutter and two brothers who don't stutter. We had 1.5 hours for the workshop.
A few SLPs and students were in the room. One SLP was there to support her participating client. The SLPs observed without offering input. They LOVED what they saw! I thought I'd share with you what I did. I got a lot of the ideas from the 'Shame Busting' material Bill Murphy present at ASHA last year. I did a lot of easy voluntary stuttering throughout, and focused on eye contact with them. It was a great session!! Maybe some of you have already done these kinds of things, but it's all new to me!
I began by talking about when I was a kid how stuttering seemed
like a big dark cloud that followed me everywhere and didn't allow me to
see all the great things about myself and things I was really good at.
I asked them if they liked charades, to which they all jumped up and
said "YES!!!" very excitedly. I asked them to do charades depicting
something special they're proud of about themselves. They LOVED this!!
Most of the things they depicted were sports, although one PRECIOUS
little guy, for his 4th charade presented THINKING!! The special thing
about having this as the opening was that it got them all TALKING
without realizing that they were talking!! It was perfect! As each
charade was guessed, I wrote the child's name and thing he was good at
on the board.
After this, I said to them "I see lots and lots of wonderful things that
you're good at here, and I'm thinking of something else that no one
mentioned that you guys are THE EXPERTS at. Who knows what it is?"
and then one adorable little guy said: STUTTERING!!!
I made a big fuss about that by pointing out how THEY are the stuttering
experts and no one else knows more about stuttering than they do. I
then asked them to pretend I was an alien who didn't know what
stuttering is and who would like to come up and demonstrate some
stuttering. About half of them did, and it was fun. With my prompting,
they made long, short, big, and little stutters. A lot of fun and great
- Drawing a picture of stuttering
One of the kids, during my intro to the charades, shared that
stuttering feels like a big wall to him. I used this as the intro to
the drawing activity. I told them how stuttering feels like a lot of
things to people and asked them to draw a picture about what it means to
them. We got a lot of great stuff, mostly monster looking things. They
then had the opportunity to talk about their picture, if they chose to
- Clay stutters
They made 'stutters' out of clay. Bill has the kids do big, small,
etc, and then pop them. These kids took it a different route. They
made creatures, like snakes and monsters. I encouraged them to make
friends with their creations, which several of them did. Many kids took
their creations home with them.
- Speech Monster Balloons
All the monster stuff they'd been creating all morning was the
perfect intro for this one. I said "I see so many monster drawings and
clay monsters today that you guys made to represent stuttering. Does
stuttering ever seem like a monster to you?? I know it did to me when I
was a kid." I then asked them to draw their speech monsters on white
balloons. We got some scary things! Then I asked them if there was
anything they'd like to say to their speech monsters. They said things
like "I hate you", "I want to kill you", "I wish you'd go away". I then
asked them if they'd like to pop their speech monster balloons with a
pin to make them vanish, but they were way ahead of me! They were
already batting them around and stomping them to pop them!! They loved
- Teasing trouble shooting/role-playing
Then we talked about teasing and thought of alternatives to hitting
(which many of the boys said is THE ONLY solution). We then did some
role-playing to try out our new solutions.
added with permission of author
December 2, 1999