Standing in line waiting to order food. Debating if you want to go to that birthday party, because you’ll have to introduce yourself. Knowing you’d excel at the job promotion, but questioning yourself because it requires public presentations. Having a lot to say, but not saying it, because of how you might look if the words refuse to come out.
Stuttering is a whole-life experience, and working on stuttering requires a whole-life approach. To that end, speech IRL has developed the S-Word: A Crash Course In Stuttering. The S-Word is a ten-week course offering designed to tackle the physical, mental, emotional, and practical life issues that accompany stuttering.
The goal of this program is to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and fortitude to address your stuttering in a way that makes sense for you. We have divided the curriculum into ten distinct classes, each with a different topic. The curriculum covers everything from introductory basics to advanced skills.
Physical speech production concepts range from learning classic stuttering techniques for the therapy newbie, to advanced work with voice and breath, taught by our staff voice specialists.
Self-exploratory weeks target cognitive skills to manage the mindchatter associated with stuttering. Topics range from introductory application of psychology frameworks like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), to special instruction and practice with mindfulness as applied to stuttering and communication.
Challenge weeks explore the emotional experience of stuttering through social exercises targeting fear, shame, anxiety, by moving into courage, pride, and confidence. These sessions feature "field trips" to facilitate facing fear and reduce avoidance. Most crucially, these weeks created a shared experience with other people who stutter, working through the same challenges you are. You'll be learning and exploring for yourself, but you also have the opportunity to help fellow stutterers achieve satisfying communication.
Community, peer-based support is an essential component of this program. Activities, exercises, and instruction are vital, but the real catalyst of this type of therapy is exploring these challenging topics alongside other people. Each participant is required to set their own goals and write their own path for stuttering success, and no two people will be exactly the same. By actively encouraging one another on your individual paths, you not only experience change for yourself—you will help others create change for themselves.
Location: speech IRL, 73 W Monroe, Chicago, IL
Dates: Thursdays Oct 11th - Dec 20th
Time: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Cost: $60/class or $495 for 10-week course*
Each week of the course focuses on a different topic. Topics range from introductory basics of stuttering therapy to advanced skills like voice and resonance work. Some weeks will be more educational or self-exploratory, while others will involve field trips and personal challenges with real-world interactions.
View our registration page for a list of topics by date.
We have designed this course so that participants can register in as few or as many weeks as desired, a sort of "build your own therapy" model. A discounted rate is available for participants registering for the entire 10-week series.
*This program is not eligible for insurance.
Our program recognizes that stuttering is a complex, multifactorial disorder. Each week will focus on a different aspect of stuttering treatment. Early weeks start with building strong foundational skills such as education of the individual physical components of stuttering, with later weeks featuring more challenging or nuanched topics. Challenge weeks that feature field trips and experiential learning are distributed throughout the 10-week course period.
At the end of every class, participants will be guided through creating a homework assignment or follow-up plan for how to incorporate that week's concepts into their everyday communication. Participants who sign up for the entire 10-week course will receive additional, indvidualized support with creating a long-term goal plan that reflects the entire course experience.
This therapy program is for adults who stutter ages 16 and up. An official diagnosis of stuttering not required. A free consultation will be scheduled beforehand to determine if this is the right program for you.
The combination of group therapy and intensive practice makes intensive therapy programs one of the most effective types of stuttering therapy. According to recent research (Irani et al., 2012), participants in group therapy programs make long-lasting positive changes in both measures of speech disfluency and attitudes surrounding stuttering. Similar stuttering programs result in significant long-term improvements in fluency, and reduction of struggle and avoidance (Blomgren et al., 2005; Pollard, 2012). Group programs heavily incorporate aspects of support and community. Involvement in support groups result in more positive feelings about identifying as a person who stutters and lesson the life impact associated with stuttering (Murgallis et al., 2015).
There is currently no cure for stuttering. This program will not cure your stuttering. However, clients typically report an increase in speech fluency and a healthier attitude toward their stuttering. Many people who stutter find it helpful to attend speech therapy "refreshers" over the course of their life. This program is structured to provide a comprehensive program for those seeking a robust therapy experience, or as an accessible, self-selected refresher for those who simply want a tune-up.
On the last day of the program clients, with their clinicians, will create individualized maintenance plans. Graduates of the intensive program are encouraged to pursue individual speech therapy sessions to solidify newly learned skills. speech IRL also offers several stuttering therapy groups. Clients are also encouraged to get involved in self-help organizations such as the National Stuttering Association.
Groups are open to everybody, from the newbie who has never received speech therapy, to the expert on social communication just looking for a tune-up.