Sunday, May 17, 2009

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.

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