STR Practical Thoughts

What Do I Do When...???

What do I do when…
“His teacher doesn’t notice, and he doesn’t seem to be bothered?”

This is a question I received recently - and one those of us who specialize in the area of fluency disorders receive (in various versions) all the time.

Before I launch into trying to answer this inquiry, let me first unpack the question as it is presented. Truly, there are at least two layers

Read more

Why don’t we write goals about fluency?

A recent facebook post raised the question about goal-writing for stuttering, and it prompted me to put some thoughts into a blog post. (Sorry to have been away for a while!)

I’m always glad when I see people discussing goals for children who stutter, because I think it’s one of the key areas where we as a field can improve our clinical practice. Too often, I see goals that are

Read more

Students who Stutter: How can teachers help?

Following a recent professional development for SLPs, I was asked, “What can teachers do to help students who stutter?”

The answer to this question can vary depending on the age of the child who stutters, but I would like to provide a few general thoughts that help teachers of students of any age.

In brief, teachers can help students who stutter by:

  • Providing a classroom atmosphere of acceptance of all
Read more

Answering SUMMIT questions

Welcome SUMMIT participants! I want to thank you for all your entusiasm and desire to learn more about stuttering during the SLP Summit, August 2018. There was an overwhelming response to my preesntation-both during the live session and during the weeks of replay opportunities! 

School has begun, and I am back at my desk feverishly trying to answer emails, Q & A questions and other requests. So many of you

Read more

What does "homework" for school-age stuttering therapy look like?

Many SLPs provide practice opportunities for children with articulation disorders. Some provide home activities for social and general language skills. However, most SLPs report that they do not create carryover activities for children who stutter-because they do not always know what to do and how to help children move their skills into real-life communication situations.

Because we believe that effective real-world communication is an overarching goal for stuttering therapy, we

Read more

The Top 3 Myths About Stuttering

As professionals who work with people who stutter, we realize that stuttering is one of the most misunderstood communication disorders. For example, how many times have you heard the any of the following comments?

  • “I hear stuttering is caused by (insert outdated or misleading cause here).”
  • “Oh, you work with stuttering? I stutter sometimes too!”
  • “If he just slows down his talking, then he won’t stutter.”

Most people who do not

Read more

Is it “stutterer” or “child who stutters?” What about “CWS?”

Today’s blog entry is adapted from School-Age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide (Reardon-Reeves & Yaruss, 2013, p. 9).

Many of us have wondered whether we should refer to our students as stutterers or as children who stutter.

Clinicians from many professions struggle with the appropriate use of “person-first” language to highlight the value of the person, rather than focus on the person’s problem. The issue can evoke strong emotions

Read more

When a school-age child stutters and exhibits a speech sound disorder, do we treat the speech sounds or the stuttering first?

There's actually been quite a lot written about children who stuttering and also exhibit other communication disorders (especially speech sound disorders), because it's a fairly common occurrence for children to experience more than one disorder. It's not always clear in what order the different conditions should be addressed, though.

The basic answer is that it will depend upon the individual student. There is no blanket recommendation (stuttering first or articulation

Read more

Why no "continuous phonation?"

As many of you know, we are continuing to post “how to” videos for teaching speech handling strategies to children and adolescents who stutter. These videos complement discussions of speech strategies in our clinical manual, School Age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide. Recently, we posted our newest video (find our pausing/phrasing video here), and subsequently received a Facebook request from a SLP for a video highlighting the

Read more

What if a school-age child is not aware of stuttering?

A clinician recently asked about a 5th grade student who stutters. She indicated that he does not seem to be very aware of when he stutters. He will sometimes say that he hasn’t stuttered in a long time, even though his observable stuttering is quite noticeable to listeners.

Awareness is one of the biggest challenges we face in stuttering therapy. One the one hand, we want the child to be

Read more

Even more thoughts about secondary characteristics...

I posted previously about addressing secondary characteristics, but this is a common question for clinicians. So, I thought I'd write a bit more....

Secondary characteristics, or accessory behaviors, include eye blinks, looking away from the listener, tensing muscles in the articulators or elsewhere in the body, moving ones hands, etc. These behaviors can be uncomfortable for speakers, because they can draw more attention to the stuttering itself. Still, they are

Read more

Child is stuttering? Try this one weird trick!

I’ve been spending a bit of time on the various Facebook groups for speech-language pathologists, lately. These groups can be a great resource for clinicians seeking input and advice from their colleagues about how to handle challenging situations, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations I’ve had there. That said, there is one thing about the Facebook exchanges that really bothers me, and I feel the need to rant a bit about it,

Read more

Measuring adverse impact in a child whose stuttering seems to be "mild"

A recent blog post asked about how we can measure educational impact for a child who appears to stutter only mildly. This is one of my favorite questions, because it's one of the topics my research has addressed over the past 20 years.

Educational and social impact of stuttering can be directly measured through tools such as the Overall Assessment of the Speaker's Experience of Stuttering (OASES; Yaruss & Quesal,

Read more

“I want to dismiss him, but the parents are worried!”

A recent Facebook post raised an important question: what if you think a school-age child who stutters is doing well and is ready to be done with therapy, but the parents still want him to stay? What about the child who has learned how to use strategies, feels good about himself, and communicates freely? Can you justify dismissal if the child is still stuttering? What if the parents want you

Read more

What percentage of stuttering behavior is normal?

A recent Facebook post asked what percent of disfluency was considered to be in the normal range.

Like so many questions surrounding stuttering, the answer turns out to be somewhat complicated! Historically, people have used various set values, such as 3% syllables stuttered or a 10% overall disfluency rate to indicate that a person’s speech fluency was above or below normal limits.

While these metrics may have their place, I want

Read more

Generalization is a challenge!

I am often asked about how to help children generalize their speaking strategies from the therapy room into real-world situations. Clinicians typically report that kids are good at using strategies in structured tasks like reading when they have a lot of clinician support but need reminders when using techniques in conversational speech.

Generalization in stuttering therapy is one of the most common challenges that speech-language pathologists (and their young clients)

Read more

Timed Oral Reading Tests for Children Who Stutter?

I recently read about a child who stutters who was placed in an oral reading remediation in which the test was timing him on reading every day and marking how far he got in a passage during a minute. I thought I’d offer some thoughts…

It's really not ideal for a child who stutters to be forced to read under timed conditions like this, especially when he is being judged

Read more

Addressing Secondary Characteristics in Children Who Stutter

A recent post on a facebook discussion group asked a great question: how do we reduce or eliminate secondary characteristics for children who stutter?

Addressing secondary characteristics is a common desire for speech-language pathologists, teachers, and family members alike, but I’d like to offer a different way of looking at how we might achieve this goal.  Specifically, it's not actually necessary in most cases to address secondary characteristics in their

Read more

Support Resources for People Who Stutter, Their Families, and Their SLPs

I’ve received a few inquiries lately asking about support organizations for people who stutter. We are fortunate to have some great resources for helping to connect people who stutter to one another. This not only helps speakers; it also helps parents and others to understand the true nature of stuttering so they can see that people who stutter can do anything they want in their lives.

In particular, check out

Read more

When do we recommend therapy for teens?

A recent post to the discussion list for the ASHA Special Interest Group for Fluency Disorders described a teenager who stutters. The question surrounded whether it was the right time for the teen to enter therapy. This sparked some thoughts, because I think this is a really important topic—one that many of us struggle with for school-age kids and adolescents who stutter. When is the right time for therapy?!?


Read more