STR Practical Thoughts

Why don't we write goals about fluency? Round 2

Recently, I presented a podcourse for Speech Therapy PD where I boldly stated that SLPs need to be moving away from writing goals for percentages of fluent speech. This is not a new concept, nor am I the only professional saying this out loud! Following this comment, one SLP Facebook group had a lively discussion about my quote. STR's Scott Yaruss has already posted a blog (see below) on this subject: 

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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

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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

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Connect ALL of your clients who stutter with self-help/support groups!

Imagine a place where people who stutter can come together and share their experiences in coping with stuttering, celebrate their successes, gain support in facing their challenges, and simply not have to worry about whether other people will listen to them when they talk.

Now imagine an event where more than 800 people who stutter (including both adults and children), family members, and speech-language pathologists dedicated to stuttering can all work

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What should we say to the parent of a young child who has recently started to stutter?

I often receive calls or emails from parents who are concerned about stuttering in their young child’s speech. Sometimes, the child has just started stuttering; other times, the child has been stuttering for a while but the parents have reached the point where they are concerned enough to take action.

What should we tell them? We want to set their minds at ease wherever possible – there’s no reason for parents

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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

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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

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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

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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,

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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,

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“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

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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)

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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

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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

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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?!?


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Not-so-famous people who stutter

Sorry to have been away...If you get the chance to get the flu or cold that's going around this year, I don't recommend it. A major thumbs-down review of this year's bug!

In any case, today's thought... People often talk about "famous people who stutter" and how it might be helpful for kids and others who stutter to recognize that people who stutter can be successful and famous. All of

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Increasing our confidence as stuttering therapists

A colleague mentioned that she wasn’t feeling confident about working with a new child who stutters on her caseload. This prompted me to think a bit… Actually, I spend quite a lot of time thinking and writing about the confidence challenges that speech-language pathologists face when working with children who stutter. I have long wondered about how we can help to increase clinicians' sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy surrounding stuttering,

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The Most Important Resolution

Yesterday, I was thinking about how exploring New Year's resolutions with our clients can give them the opportunity to talk about their goals--and that understanding their goals can help us to guide them toward greater success, both in and out of therapy.

Today, I am thinking a bit more about what we can do when we find that our clients are struggling. First, it's important to recognize that struggling during

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New Year's Resolutions

As we ring in the new year, many of us like to take a few moments to reflect on where we've been and plan for where we'd like to go in the year ahead. Setting New Year's resolutions may seem like a cliché, but it's always a good idea to take stock of progress and to make sure that we are headed in the right direction in therapy.

So, this week,

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