Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by interruptions or stoppages in the smooth flow of speech. These interruptions, or disfluencies, may include repetition of sounds, syllables, words, or phrases, prolongations of sounds, or blocks, tension-filled stoppages of speech and airflow that feels like the word is "stuck". A feeling of loss of control, or inability to get the word out, is often present among people who stutter.
Stuttering may be accompanied by secondary behaviors, which are physical movements that occur during a stutter to help get the word out. These can range from small movements like blinking to very large movements such as moving the hands, feet, or head.
Stuttering can have a serious impact on a speaker's social-emotional well-being. If you find yourself avoiding certain words, situations, or conversational encounters because you worry about stuttering, speech therapy can help improve your speech and increase your overall speaking confidence.
We take a holistic approach to stuttering treatment. We often start with education and awareness of stuttering and your stuttering pattern. From there, you will learn some basic techniques to gain more control and manage your stutter. Once you are comfortable with the techniques, role-playing and real-life simulation are a key component of therapy at speech IRL, which allow you to practice using techniques in real-life situations. These simulation activities also aim at reducing fear, anxiety, and avoidance so that you can be more confident when speaking.
Thoughts, feelings, and overall life impact are components that will be emphasized throughout therapy. We incorporate principles of both Avoidance Reduction Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. We provide a very wide range of physical and psychological tools from a variety of approaches, and work with each individual client to determine what will be successful for you specifically. For clients with prior speech therapy experience, we build on past knowledge or skills that you would like to keep, and look for new options in the areas you'd like to explore.
There is no "cure" for stuttering. The goal of speech therapy at speech IRL is to help you manage your stutter better and gain confidence in speaking situations. For many people, developing stutter management skills does lead to increased fluency. Regardless of fluency, often our clients report less avoidance and anxiety associated with stuttering and more comfortable and confident communication skills. We value saying what you want over how you say it.
We are extremely proud of the fact that our entire stuttering team at speech IRL has devoted both their professional and personal lives to supporting people who stutter (PWS). We regularly present at state and national conferences, teaching other SLPs about stuttering. Combined, we've founded multiple National Stuttering Association chapters, published research articles, been featured on StutterTalk, developed new treatment programs, taught university classes, and served on stuttering community non-profit boards. We currently lead chapter meetings, teach graduate-level courses in stuttering, contribute to research studies, blog in-house and as guest authors, train graduate student clinicians, and continue to create community programs and host events. Most of the specialists on our team are themselves people who stutter, and are able to bring a very real, personal message of hope and empathy to our clients, because it is rooted in personal experience.
While stuttering is difficult and painful, it is our true joy to work with individuals who stutter and their families. We've spent literally thousands of hours with people who stutter, of all ages, across all life experiences. We know from our own experience, and those of the stuttering community, that creating a fulfilling, empowering speaking experience is attainable for every person. We are honored to join you on your journey.
Whether you're a professional, a parent, a partner, or a business leader looking to address organizational-level interaction issues, we use soulful science to move your forward.