Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kids never Cease to Amaze me

Yesterday I was in a speech session with a very bright teenage male who stutters. I asked him if he would compare how his stuttering affected him now as opposed to when he began therapy three months ago. He gave me such a wonderful answer. He said when he first started therapy his stuttering was like breaking an ankle and being in pain. Now it is like a slight scratch on his hand. "It's like nothing", he said. It was so wonderful hearing this and he had a big grin on his face.

Also, as some of you may know, my dream is to one day have an institute on Long Island for people who stutter and their families. I want to be able to offer assistance to those who can't afford speech therapy and offer more intensive therapy workshops. My goal is to provide hands on training for graduate students and post graduate training for speech pathologists to learn more about stuttering. Today two very bright SLPs came to interview me as a person who stutters. I think I have an interesting story to tell with bumps along the way, but alot of successes. I hope I was able to help them. I will be speaking to a local school district in January and hope to be visiting more to tell my own personal story and various therapy options.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

People who stutter deserve to be heard without interruption

I have been so busy lately with work that I haven't had time to post. I just wanted to remind everyone again that International Stuttering Awareness Day is October 22, 2008. On this day, please remember that all people who stutter deserve to be heard without interruption. It is so important to let children and adults who stutter finish their thoughts and not tell them to slow down. This is not helpful to them and only causes them to speak faster and become frustrated. Practice groups for teens and adults are back in full swing this month. School age and adult intensive and refresher courses continue to be offered. I am seeing terrific results with a few adults who just finished and are working hard with their practice. I recently have gotten a few calls from parents of young children who stutter. It's great that parents are seeking early intervention. Lidcombe is a terrific and successful program for preschool children. As many of you know, I am also PROMPT Certified and had the privilege to walk on my dear friend's team today for the annual autism walk. I don't know if she would want her name mentioned because she is modest, but she is a super special education teacher and mother!!! Will post again soon and if anyone knows of a venue where I can write an article on stuttering to increase awareness please let me know. Remember if you meet someone who stutters, look them in the eyes, let them finish their sentences and listen to what they say rather than how!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Stuttering Back to school

I wanted to remind everyone to read an upcoming article I am writing about preschool and school aged stuttering treatment. I will be updating my website soon on new and exciting upcoming events. Also, a reminder that International Stuttering Awareness day is October 22, 2008. I am looking to gather ideas for school aged children who stutter from local clinicians. All ideas welcome. Also, the practice group for adults who stutter is up and running. Hope all are enjoying the summer. Looking forward to seeing my school aged clients who took off for the summer.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Saw You At the NSA

I saw your presentation at the NSA. I was amazed about the progress that can be made with Lidcombe. I am surprised more parents don't take advantage of it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

National Stuttering Association Convention 2008

I returned home from the NSA convention in NJ. I am filled with emotions on so many levels. First, I presented for the second time at the convention. It is truly a miracle that I was able to get up there in front of an audience and speak. Who would have thought a one time severe stutterer who couldn't say her name or answer the phone could speak in front of parents and professionals? This year I was lucky to present with Dr. Jason Davidow of Hofstra University. He is a SLP and PWS as well. There is something remarkable about presenting with another PWS who has similar fears as myself. I think the talk went well!! Did we stutter? Yes, but we communicated so well and tried the best we could under stress to use our tools. Secondly, I am in awe of the children and teens who can put on plays and talk in front of a room filled with mainly adults and express themselves so beautifully despite their stuttering. They have so much courage and I admire them. I hope anyone reading this who stutters knows that we can accept the fact that we stutter while still working on effective communication skills. There is help available for those who choose the road to improving fluency in their lives! Thank you again to the NSA for helping me overcome my fear of public speaking. A message to the kids-always always always believe in yourself. Dreams really do come true!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A great inspirational quote

Last night my 10 year old moved up from elementary school to middle school. Congratulations Leah! I am proud of your accomplishments in elementary school. You are beautiful and definitely are the best singer in school. Anyway, one of the administrators started off his speech with the following quote:
"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it." He didn't say who originally said this so it might be anonymous.
I thought this was a fabulous quote especially for the child who is unsure of her/himself. I vividly remember thinking in 7th or 8th grade that I couldn't be a teacher or a social worker if I stuttered. ( speech pathology wouldn't have even entered my mind because of my own difficulties). Hence, I chose business for 5 years before I became a speech pathologist. I thought I could easily hide. I was wrong! You can't hide from yourself. These thoughts are so damaging to the school aged child or teen who stutters. I often probe school aged kids/teens what they think they will be when they grow up. We talk in a fun way about PWS who work in settings that require excellent communication. Guess what? I know many people who are not fluent, for example: Senator Joseph Biden, James Earl Jones, and Johnny Damon of the NY Yankees. Kids are so great and when you connect with them, many truly open up and shine.
BTW-Congratulations Samantha also for moving up to high school. I am so proud of you both!! Congratulations to all the children I treat who have had the courage to work hard on their stuttering and have demonstrated courage and determination. You make me proud!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lidcombe parent support

I want to encourage all parents of children in the Lidcombe program or interested in to please join It is a new Yahoo group I started to connect parents of children who stutter.

I also am in the process of offering refreshers for those who are graduate of Precision Fluency Shaping Program and other therapies. I hope teens and adults especially realized that there is nothing to be ashamed about brushing up on your therapy. I still do and always will.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where are the questions?

I hope people who read this realize I would be happy to answer any questions you have concerning stuttering for preschool, school aged, and adults who stutter. If you can't tell by this blog, stuttering therapy is my passion. I can also answer questions on PROMPT therapy and articulation issues. I want to thank everyone who has called me and told me how much they have learned from reading my blog. I also want to encourage school clinicians to contact me for any advice or suggestions.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The National Stuttering Association-Lidcombe

I am completing my presentation on the Lidcombe Program for early childhood stuttering. I am hoping parents consider this as an option for their child's therapy. I have witnessed a very high success rate. It is important to seek out a Lidcombe trained speech language pathologist in your area.

Friday, June 20, 2008

National Stuttering Association

Hi all-
Sorry for the long time between posts. I am presenting at the National Stuttering Association in NJ Sat, the 28th on the Lidcombe program for early childhood stuttering. I am presenting with Dr. Davidow from Hofstra University. Hope many people can come. It is great for families and children who stutter as well. I am in the process of starting practice groups for adults who stutter to practice fluency shaping tools. If anyone is interested, please call or e-mail me ( I also am offering speech therapy on an as needed basis for graduates of intensive fluency shaping courses.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Preschool children who stutter

It is so important to involve parents in therapy especially for preschool children who stutter. This is one of the reasons why I like the Lidcombe Approach to Early Childhood Stuttering. Kids seem so happy doing the structured sessions and so do parents. It gives parents a way to be involved in their child's progress. Anyone have any comments on this?

BTW-I am starting a support group for teens who stutter. Please pass the word for anyone interested. You can e-mail me or respond to this blog if interested. Also, great resources for SLPs and parents are, and

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fluency Shaping vs. Stuttering Modification

I recently went to two conferences on stuttering therapy for children. The first was geared more toward a fluency shaping approach. The second was geared more towards stuttering modification. I found them both interesting, but I lean more towards fluency shaping and always have. I do feel there is a place for stuttering modification, however I do believe in continuous practice of fluency tools. I think it is vital to decrease shame, but personally without targets like full breath, gentle onset, prolongations,etc-I wouldn't be able to talk.

I think if teens and adults realize the importance of the continuous journey of practicing and persistence, the path to recovery will be easier. I am curious if anyone reading this has used the fluency master or speech easy? I would love to hear your experiences with it as well as your comments regarding this post.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What has helped me become more fluent- Where do I begin?

I am asked all the time how I have become more fluent over the years. I have to tell you that I do try and use fluency shaping tools as much as I can. These involve taking a full breath before I speak, using gentle onsets and using prolongations. The road to this journey has been long and filled with alot of hard work. When I first learned all of these tools at an intensive program I wasn't able to use them in the "real world". I was still in the denial stage and didn't want to sound different. I personally never was able to accept stuttering until about 5 years ago and have learned not to be ashamed of it. I am proud of who I am and the fluency I have achieved. People often ask me if I sound robotic using these tools. I don't think so, maybe I did when I first learned them. I also talk the talk and walk the walk. What do I mean by that? My father stuttered, my daughter stuttered from age 2 1/2 to age 4, and I treat people who stutter. I talk about stuttering often and love helping parents, children and adults who stutter. My friends think I am obsessed with the topic of stuttering. I probably am. I go to continuous conferences on stuttering and have many friends and colleagues who stutter. I am curious what has helped others who stutter. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Some thoughts about stuttering in school age children

I was consulting with a first grade elementary school teacher today. A little boy in her class stutters. I treat him for stuttering therapy. He volunteers all the time and she wasn't sure if she should call on him often. I discussed with her how wonderful it was that he wasn't letting his speech difficulties stop him from communicating. She agreed and admitted she was uncomfortable with his stuttering. Interestingly the other children were very patient with him. I modelled some voluntary stuttering for her and demonstrated the slow, stretchy speech he is using. I also demonstrated some pullouts for her.

I am going to discuss with this child demonstrating his speech tools for the teacher. I think this will benefit this child I treat. Of course I will do it with him if he is more comfortable. A little bit of education goes along way.

I was reminded how difficult it was for my 10 year old when she was struggling to learn to read. In second grade, she had a teacher who called on her frequently to read out loud. She was ashamed and completely shut down. She is now in 4th grade and a terrific reader. More importantly she loves reading. I recently asked her why she refused to read early on. She replied that her teacher embarrassed her by having her read out loud. I often think how I should have had her educate the teacher on how it made her feel. Maybe Leah would have raised her hand and read what was easiest for her. I tried explaining it to the teacher. Would she have been more compassionate if Leah would have told her? Not sure. I guess the point is that it is better to get things out in the open.

Just want to point out a website Janice Levy is a wonderful and talented children's author. It is worth checking out. She has written great books for kids.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Welcome to my blog

HI-Welcome to my blog. My name is Lori Melnitsky. I am a speech pathologist and have been practicing for over 15 years. I stuttered very severely as a child and am now on a journey of recovering from stuttering.

For those of you who don't know me, I LOVE working with children, teens and adults who stutter. I have a deep passion for helping people with communication difficulties. Some people might say I am obsessed, but I consider myself lucky to be working in a field I love!

I live on Long Island, NY with my wonderful husband (my # 1 IT guy who set up this blog), my two beautiful daughters and my dog Parker.

My parents always said I should write a book about my experiences growing up stuttering. I never got a chance to write a book so this blog is the next best thing. Interestingly, my oldest daughter asked me tonight if I stopped practicing if I would start stuttering again. I said Sami I still do stutter at times, remember? She said "not really". How interesting that she hardly notices it. By the way, the answer is yes!! If I stop practicing my fluency tools, I will start stuttering much more!

Thanks for tuning in!