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!