I've shared with several people recently my belief that people who stutter have greater potential to become excellent overall communicators than most of the general population. Yes, stuttering is often accompanied by many unproductive "side effects" that make communication feel difficult. However, these difficulties can also be the spark for tremendous self-awareness and conscious choice-making during communication moments.
This course provides advanced theoretical and clinical instruction in the area of communication fluency. This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the historical, scientific, and clinical issues surrounding fluency. In the second half of the course, students will be assigned a fluency client for hands-on experience connecting theory to practice.
One of my favorite stuttering explanations / response to being teased comes from a former 5th grade student of mine. I had asked him if the other kids at school ever comment on his speech.
"Well, yesterday, I was talking and this kid interrupted me while I was stuttering. He was like, 'Hey man, what's wrong with you? Do you have like a glitch or something?' So I said 'Yeah, I do.' And he was like, 'Oh, OK,' and then we kept playing."
Depending on who you are, you may or may not know that there is a heated (as in, nuclear lava bomb) discussion happening internationally right now in the speech pathology-stuttering world. The discussion revolves around a federal health care budget policy recommendation that was submitted to the Australian government by Speech Pathology Australia, advocating government funding for treatment of preschool stuttering. A number of talking points have grown out of this discussion that cover ethical, political, clinical, and philosophical notions.
So, in the spirit of fun and efficiency, I here present a brief and highly visual summary of what has transpired thus far.
Your child is six, nine, twelve. Maybe he's been stuttering since he was two or three, or maybe you just started noticing it in third grade. Maybe she went through speech therapy in preschool, or maybe it seemed more prudent to "wait and see". Maybe the stutter went away, either on its own or apparently thanks to therapy. Maybe it's fluctuated, coming and going. Maybe it's always been there, regardless of what you've tried. Maybe your child got tired of going to therapy or it was just too hard to get to appointments, or it didn't seem to work.
Maybe you are thinking about speech therapy. For the fourth time, or for the first time. Will it help?
If you don't know what Minecraft is, you probably do not have children in your life, at all, and/or you have never been on the Internet.
I play a lot of Minecraft in therapy (and since it's actually pretty fun, I consequently play a lot of Minecraft outside of therapy, too). I have my own world that some of my kids like to add to, or some kids prefer to make their own. You might think that two people looking at a computer screen is not great for communication, but Minecraft actually facilitates constant talking: problem-solving, questions, comments, jokes. Also cries of despair.
Minecraft can be quite challenging, depending on what you are trying to accomplish, and I often draw parallels for kids between Minecraft challenges and how these are similar to the challenges faced in stuttering.
Here are some of my favorite Minecraft-stuttering principles.
Sometimes something comes at you from out of nowhere and just blows up all your hard work and efforts. How do you handle that?
Tools are important and extremely useful, but they break easily.
Exploring can be dangerous and scary, but you have to go for it if you want what's out there.
There is no manual.
Patience. Creating amazing things takes lots and lots and lots of patience.
On that same note, hard work. You need to persevere to build something awesome.
Friends are important. They will help you.
Sometimes you have to deal with griefers. This is discouraging, frustrating, and even hurtful. There often is no easy solution. What do you do?
Make sure your oxygen bar is full. Keep an eye on your breath.
I just returned from my first-ever National Stuttering Association conference, held this year in Washington, DC over the 4th of July weekend. Stringing together enthusiastic adjectives, “incredible,” “amazing,” “inspirational,” “phenomenal,” would not begin to describe the experience. So many conversations, fits of laughter, experiences, tears, memories, and more.
Rather than try to describe and explain everything, I’ve picked out a few experiential themes to share. I can’t say that these were the best or most interesting, because no one part was the best. But I am very grateful for these experiences.
I am excited to announce that as of June 2014, speech IRL is now an approved SpeechEasy provider. If you are interested in a SpeechEasy evaluation or need a check-up for your current SpeechEasy device, these services are now available at my office.
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