Tips for Speech Pathologists Who Work with School-Age StutterersWendy Grieco
Stuttering is a common issue among children, and much of the time the problem is not entirely explored until the child enters school. Differing opinions in research lead professionals down different pathways when they consider treatment options. As a speech therapist, you need to stay on top of ongoing research to perform your duties thoroughly.
As a speech therapist, you will work hard with your students to correct a stutter. One way to be thorough is to address both physical and emotional aspects of communication disfluency. When you address the entire issue, you and your clients are more successful.
Understand the Physical Component of Stuttering
Stuttering is one of the many conditions covered in speech therapy continuing education. The speech condition interferes with the ability of the client to speak smoothly. Some people are never able to overcome a stutter completely, but with the help of a speech therapist, recovery is often possible.
Unfortunately, stuttering can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily routine and activities. Stuttering often includes repeating words or portions of words, sometimes with speech that feels entirely blocked.
The physical components of stuttering are often at the forefront of speech therapy sessions. Focusing on making sounds and following letter patterns is one way to address significant speech disfluency. These practice sessions are the building blocks toward stronger communication skills.
Understand the Emotional Component of Stuttering
For many people, communication is made more difficult with stress. You might see your school-age clients stutter more often when they are afraid to talk in class or when they are making a presentation in front of a large group of peers. For this reason, participation restrictions may be more conducive to fluent speech. Slowly integrating different types of communication may work well over time.
Dismissing the emotional aspects involved in communication is a disservice to clients who stutter. One way to address the emotional needs of your clients is to introduce them to others who stutter. Your clients need to see that they are not alone in the challenges they face.
Understand Your Role as a Speech Therapist
Speech therapists, especially those who work with children, diagnose and treat stuttering issues regularly. Treatment typically involves addressing behavioral components of speech and easing anxiety. In many cases, students need to learn breathing techniques to calm down, whereas others may require more intensive therapeutic sessions.
One method you can use to help your clients is to allow them to express themselves thoroughly. When your clients feel free to speak about their negative experiences and feelings, they feel supported and less likely to have emotional outbursts about their condition.
Take Continuing Education Courses
Continuing education courses help speech therapists stay on top of their profession. PDH offers a School-Age Stuttering course that allows you to explore treatment options for school-age stutterers and also helps meet your continuing education requirements.
Sign up for Speech-Language Pathology Courses to learn more about your role as a speech therapist with your clients. Coursework is designed to keep you up-to-date with the needs of your clients and ongoing research in the speech pathology field.