Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fluency Shaping tools leading to increased fluency-it works!!

I have known many people who have benefited from fluency therapy with intensive fluency shaping courses. Besides me, I know other SLPs, an airline pilot, a nurse, a doctor, a DJ, musician and many others. It does take hard work, practice, and joining a practice group. It is great to have control. Some people think they sound different using slower prolonged type speech. You do!!!! But so what? If you can speak with less tension and stutter less, why not try it? It may not be for everyone, but it has worked for so many in my practice!!! I can also tell you after using it for so many years myself and working on reducing feared situations, I don't have to exxagerate as much anymore but I actually embrace feeling in control!! I try and offer some intensives over the summer and with enough interest I can offer groups!!!! Please contact me for more

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Open the suitcase and unpack-Stuttering baggage

I was just reading a post on a wonderful private practice list serve for speech pathologists. Someone described that an adult woman "stutterer" had been in therapy for years and wasn't progressing. It got me thinking how difficult it is to try and talk fluently. Another SLP wrote back about "change" and how difficult it is try and change the way you speak. In essence, as much as one might not like stuttering it defines them. So how did I do it?

How did I overcome a severe stuttering disorder? Do I have the magic? The answer is "no". I did it through unpeeling layers and layers of emotional baggage. I had to unpack the suitcase and lighten the baggage, BUT it started with intensive fluency shaping therapy and an intense desire to decrease stuttering. I remember being asked many years ago at a convention if there was a magic pill to be fluent, would I take it? My answer was always Yes, Yes, Yes!!

It takes years of practice, persistence, continuous speech therapy to decrease stuttering. The journey is long but has been worth it to me!!! Of course it would have been better to have worked on this baggage at the age of 6, but I didn't so I had to as an adult. Also, I have to say my parents always had the same expectations of me that they did for my brother, who does not stutter. I was never perceived as a stutterer in their eyes, so their support really helped me towards my goals.

Some words of encouragement if you find your fluency tools are not working:
Ask yourself:
Is this a feared situation?
Have I masssed practiced it?
If I have not had success before, why am I beating myself up now?
Am I too hard on myself?
What specifically in this situation is causing me so much fear?
Do I need more practice coordinating the muslce movements necessary for smooth connected speech?
Am I taking on residual air or comfortable diaphragmatic breathing?
Do I need the support of a speech pathologist?
Am I taking the time needed to go for speech therapy and practice?

Hope this helps. Please e-mail me at or visit my website at Also, if you are a grad student, please contact me if you have an interest in stuttering. Have a great day. Thanks for helping me unpack and spread the word that help is available. Also, look for my upcoming publication of "Teens and Stuttering" in a local parent magazine.

Friday, May 29, 2009

PROMPT speech therapy

I don't usually talk about PROMPT speech therapy on my stuttering blog, but since it is another specialty of mine I thought I would recommend it. It is wonderful for dyspraxia, articulation and oral motor issues.

National Stuttering Association convention July 9 to 12, Arizona

Hi all-
Just wanted to remind everyone of a wonderful convention sponsored by the National Stuttering Association (NSA) in Arizona. It is highly recommended for parents, children, teens, people who stutter, and SLPs (and students). Unfortunately I can't make it this year, but my first one was in 2007 in Atlanta. It changed my life. I met such wonderful people. Please check out their website

Also, please remember the NSA adult chapter meets the third Thursday of each month at 8 pm. I lead it along with a huge supporter of the NSA, Steven Kaufman.Please contact me at if interested. It is a great group of people who gather together to support each other.

Stuttering Education

Spreading stuttering awareness throughout the schools!! I went into Mattlin Middle School in Plainview, NY to promote National Stuttering Awareness Week (which was May 11 to May 17). I talked about the importance of early intervention for preschoolers who stutter, school aged stuttering and the importance of following your dreams in life. I spoke to 50 bright and wonderful children and their teachers. A few of them knew people who stutter. I never talked in this middle school. My daughter attends Mattlin and I graduated from the same school district. I never thought I would be so fluent or comfortable talking in front of a crowd. I never ever raised my hand in class or participated when I was younger. I sat with my head down and prayed no one would notice me. I am happy to say this was a very positive experience!! I have to thank the National Stuttering Association for helping me for overcoming my fear of public speaking.

So kids, always follow your heart and dreams. I overcame a severe stuttering problem to be a speech pathologist. I still stutter but use fluency shaping tools and stuttering education to be as fluent as I can be. I want to also thank my daughters who encouraged me to do this and for supporting me. They make me proud and give me strength. I also want to thank my daughter's teachers who realized the importance of stuttering awareness and promoting tolerance. I would like to continue this at local schools and universities!! Hope to hear from everyone soon!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

P.A.C.E. Towards Fluency- NEW Preschool Program

Watch for NEW preschool program-very effective results:

P.A.C.E. Towards Fluency

Effective resuls-taken from Lidcombe program and modified:
Please go onto Yahoo groups:

Looking for grad SLP students to help promote stuttering awareness-contact
Thank you all for your support and reading my posts!!

My 11 year old daugher helps spread the word about National Stuttering Awareness Week

This post is dedicated to my 11 year old daughter, Leah, who is such a leader and a warm compassinate child. (Afterall she is vice president of the 5th grade class) and Pamela Mertz, a career counselor who considers herself a covert PWS. I consider her a wonderful woman with incredible strength. Pam put herself out there in the schools and promoted National Stuttering Awareness Week, May 11 to May 17. I showed my daughter the clip. She immediately went to her school the next day and told her teacher that her mom who is a SLP and PWS wanted to come in and educate the class. How wonderful for an 11 year old to not have any shame in her mom coming in and was proud that her mom stuttered and could educate her friends and classmates. I am going in this weekand want to thank these two wonderful people for their encouragement and support. I also want to thank Mrs. Consiglio for telling Leah she would be honored to have her mother come in and realized the importance of this for both myself, Leah and the stuttering community.

Can adults who stutter be helped after years of failed therapy?

Hi all-
It's been a busy time of year so I apologize for not being in touch. I have received many calls from teens and adults lately who have felt they were failed by therapy. I understand their hesitance in trying new approaches or wanting to shell out more money in this tough economy. So why are so many us filled with anger or even more upsetting, why have so many of us given up on speech therapy? I went to a conference the other night. They talked about acceptance but very little speech therapy. Why??? Why has the pendulum swung so far the other way that effective speech therapy wouldn't be presented? I guess only those of us who stutter know why.

First, let's remind anyone reading this that stuttering CANNOT be cured, BUT it can be decreased without a doubt. Fluency can be achieved, how much depends on several factors. I will list what I feel they are here: (Please feel free to e-mail me at if you know additional reasons why and I will add them on)

1. How much practice you are willing to put into it.
2. How invested you are in speech therapy, both economically and emotionally.
3. How effected you are cognitively by your stuttering? (and this can be worked on as well)
4. How much you are willing to be open minded and realize that many people who stutter have achieved a much greater level of fluency and effective communication skills.
5. How much you can let go of the anger of failed therapy and wasted money.
6. How much you let go of the fact that 100% fluency is not a realistic goal.
7. How much you can accept the fact you stutter and then move on towards becoming more fluent.

I have done all of this. Not easily, but using strength from the bottom of my soul, from parents who never gave up and told me to accept, from a dear friend Lisa Anderson who is a SLP and PWS. She taught me courage, unconditional friendship and strength beyond words (they failed her three times in public speaking in college because she stuttered and she never stopped trying).

All I can say is that I can help you too. Please Please don't give up if you haven't achieved this and don't beat yourself up for not doing it. We all have challenging things in our life to work on. Stuttering is difficult because we wear it on our sleeves and ignorant people judge us. For ex: I am still battling losing weight. If you are a person who stutters who has decided to use only stuttering modification strategies, then you have my respect. BUT if you are like me and have always wanted to talk with as little stuttering as possible, then I can only say I understand.