Sunday, July 19, 2009

Intensive fluency Programs-Do they work?

ok-it's Sunday and I have time to write-so hear goes.

Let me give you some important background on me. I BELIEVE in intensive fluency for teens and adults, even though I fell on my face the first few times I did it and paid thousands of dollars. I don't recommend it for all the clients I see. I customize for each one. Having said this-why do I believe so strongly in it?

I believe especially for moderate to severe people who stutter, it is important to feel fluency fast and with support. The reason why I failed is because the first few programs I took didn't deal with emotions, fears and shame I had being a person who stutters. So for example, I came home almost 99% fluent, but had never raised my hand in school ( I was in college then). So I tried to talk in class. After all, I had the tools. So I raised my hand, and my fear shot to my larynx. I blocked. Ok, so in my mind, I failed. After all I had just taken this three week course and was told I should be fluent. Unfortunately, the negative experiences started to build again. I had one friend who stuttered who took the course with me. She is a SLP too. We both started having the same experiences and both crashed. How could this be. We are both bright, driven and ambitious people. Did we miss something? We reviewed all the mechanics and still were going downhill. To make a long story short, it took us about 15 years of going back and doing refreshers with various SLPs until we found a few who realized the power of uncovering layers of fear, guilt and shame. As a result, I think I know how to teach effective fluency skills with great results. What does that mean? It means that fluency strategies can only be taught with committment, hard work, sacrifices and support. One must practice often and daily, read what I have read myself and recommend on overcoming fear and increasing self esteem, talk to other people who stutter almost daily and never ever give up. I will provide you with support. I can promise you that! I can also tell you, your stuttering will decrease. How much? That will depend on how much you follow the program and how much you are willing to sacrifice to achieve fluency. I just figured out how to use YOU Tube-so watch for my clip. It can be done. I did it!! I did it the hard way, I hope I can help you do it with less frustration and increased satisfaction. tks again for taking the time to read thi

Stuttering-Basic facts and Review for Parents of children who stutter

Hi everyone-
Again, I am so pleased to be getting more people interested in my blog. Just a few reminders for parents of children who stutter.

1. Most important, Parents are not to blame for their child stuttering. The exact cause is unknown, although, there are several environmental factors listed below that often help decrease stuttering.
2. Don't interrupt or say take a deep breath and slow down.-this will often increase stuttering.
3. Try and slow down your rate of speech (not the child's rate of speech). The best way to do this is pause often.
4. Try to not ask too many questions-for ex: instead of saying "What did you do in school?", say casually I wonder if you went outside today. This will give the child a chance to answer on their own.
5. Also, remember more boys than girls stutter. (3 to 1 ratio)
6. Stuttering often runs in families.
8. If as a parent you find yourself frustrated with your child, it is best to walk away and write your feelings down in a journal. It is important for the child to not see this frustration on your face. Just like it is not your fault that they stutter, it is not the child's fault either. We don't want them feeling ashamed at a young age or any age for that matter. People who do stutter throughout their lives often live full and productive lives. After all, I do and I stutter. Please e-mail me with any questions. Remember additional information can be found on my website,,
You can also e-mail directly at

Hope this helps!! Best, Lori

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Teen stuttering -effective fluency programs available

We had our teen meeting last night and it was a great success. We had a great time playing stuttering jeopardy. I am proud to say that my clients won!! Yeah!! (not that I am competitive at all-LOL).

Parents often ask me why children and teens can't get stuttering therapy in the schools. I agree that they should but truth be told even if they were approved, they would be seen in a group with a variety of disorders. Caseloads in the schools are getting larger with more involved children needing help. Just like it is often necessary to hire a tutor, it is also necessary to seek a speech pathologist specializing in fluency therapy.

I have designed a program to be done in an intensive manner with monthly follow up. I have seen wonderful results with increased fluency. It involves alot of practice, but the skills I teach combined with confidence strategies to conquer public speaking and phone fears, to name a few, are highly effective. They are skills I wish I had when I was in high school. I went through school fearing stuttering and never raising my hand. I don't want anyone to suffer the same fealings of shame and isolation.

i would love to hear from any parents or school SLPs if they have had success getting therapy in the schools and if it was able to be done on an individuals basis. tks for reading. If you are teen, please e-mail me and come to our National Stuttering Association teen meetings. Also, please join the NSA ( It is non-profit and a great organization.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Keep coming back-it will eventually be effective

I wanted to follow up on a previous comment I received from Rob. It is true that the first time you try fluency therapy (and I recommend intensive therapy especially for moderate to severe people who stutter), it might be difficult to use. I can tell you from experience that if you keep going back to try and improve. you will become more fluent!

Advice needed-please!!

If you have been reading my blog, I think I have an interesting story to tell. I would like to contact a local reporter and have them write a story about me. For some of you who are new-I stuttered severely when I was young and am recovering from stuttering. Stuttering no longer stops me and I became a speech pathologist. I did suffer discrimination when I was young. I specialize in stuttering and need help spreading the word that help is available and effective for people who stutter. Any help would be appreciated. Tks

Monday, July 13, 2009

Don't Stop therapy too soon!!!!

Recently, I have had the great pleasure of seeing many of my patients display surges in fluency. How wonderful, but BEWARE! Many people stop therapy as soon as fluency sets in. This is dangerous!! Don't be fooled by fluency. As your confidence rises, often fluency will too. My job is to help you realize that you have fluency with control. My advice-stick to it and continue therapy. Slowly wean off into a maintance stage. Remember I am always here for you for encouragment and support.

Monday, July 6, 2009

National Stuttering Association Convention starts Thursday July 10

As the NSA convention begins on Thursday, I want to wish everyone presenting the best of luck. I am not able to make it this year, but will miss everyone. I hope to attend in 2010. Remember if you stutter, you are not alone!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lidcombe and Preschool Stuttering: Don't wait-Early Intervention is vital!

I would like to share with all of you a wonderful e-mail I received a few months ago from a parent of a beautiful and sweet young girl who stuttered at the age of 4 1/2. She is presently 6 and is stutter free!

(Please note: This was written by a parent for my blog for other parents to read. Also, I did not only use Lidcombe with this child. It was a modified approach as it was important to use other tools as well. This is why I developed the PACE approach with incorporates aspects of Lidcombe and other tools as needed for each child.)

My daughter was 4 and 1/2 when she started stuttering. It happened overnight. She not only possessed the verbal characteristics but physical (secondary behaviors) as well. Her mouth would be wide open and she would struggle with all her might to speak. She'd bend at the waist as if it would help her get the words out. Many times, she'd stop and say: "I'm tired, forget it." As a parent, it was heartbreaking, horrific, and shocking.

Thank God we were referred to Lori Melnitsky and decided to pursue the path of seeking a speech pathologist who SPECIALIZES in stuttering. I can't even comprehend where my daughter would be if we had gone to someone who didn't have Lori's expertise in this area. She is one of the most compassionate and empathetic people I know.

Lidcombe, to me, is a miracle. My daughter does NOT stutter anymore. I truly believe that it is because of the intense therapy she had utilizing and applying the Lidcombe method, in session with Lori and in our household. Lidcombe had to be learned by my daughter, my husband, and myself. Lori was patient but strict when it came to our commitment to helping our daughter overcome this. I am grateful for her guidance. It was a reality check. We weren't just dropping her off and leaving her in Lori's hands for an hour. This was something that had to be constantly addressed and applied. It was hard at first (who likes change?) but then easier because it became a part of everyday life.

I am confident that one of the reasons Lidcombe is such a successful therapy for young children is because it is simple in concept and the children are sponges at such young ages. My daughter is your typical 6 year old...she can't stop talking. But sometimes she bottlenecks her thoughts to her voice. And, it's crazy, but I see the Lidcombe therapy come into play. She slows down ("turtle talk", if you will) and collects her thoughts. It's amazing but NOT apparent to anyone around her (but me, of course). In fact, it's a shame that EVERYONE couldn't be taught Lidcombe at a young age, regardless of what challenges they have.

This is all opinion, I know. But my "ahhh moment" was when the elementary school speech therapist called me the second week of kindergarten. (My daughter was no longer eligible for speech services but considering the past year of being under Lori's care, the speech therapist was required to observe my daughter and update me accordingly. ) The speech therapist advised me that she and Lila's teacher could not believe that she had been treated for stuttering!! ! In fact, Lila's teacher said that she forgot that Lila came in as a child who had a recent IEP. I couldn't believe it! Lila's kindergarten teacher was in my CPSE meeting to get summer services approved just a couple of months before. (We did get summer services, by the way).

So, that's my experience. I know I've been long-winded but I'm just so grateful that Lori showed us how effective the therapy can be....if we were 100% a part of it.

The Road Less Travelled

One of my favorite books is The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck. It is a great book for personal fulfillment and self growth as well as highly recommended reading. Let me know your thoughts on this or any other self help book you feel is worth recommending.

I also have always loved the title. I definitely took the road less travelled in my professional life. After being an accountant for five years and not feeling satisfied, I went back to school for my masters in speech pathology. How strange was that? I stuttered severely and couldn't even say my own name. I had been through speech therapy with fluency only lasting a few days. I hadn't even heard of the concept of acceptance at that time and was always hiding my stuttering. The word "stutter" would bring chills to my spine. I was petrifed about sounding different. However, I had a strong drive to help people and had witnessed my father work as a pharmacist despite his stuttering. I also have a wonderful friend who stutters who was completing her speech degree at that time. I have and continue to admire her courage as she failed public speaking twice due to her stuttering and never gave up. She is a speech pathologist today and continues to be my dear friend and someone I admire for her strength and courage.

I thought I would talk about acceptance and then recovery. I never know the right words to use. Is it recovery from stuttering? Is it overcoming stuttering? Not sure, but the important thing is the outcome. My stuttering was always like spinning a roulette wheel. You never knew what would come out. I would go through somewhat fluent periods and then it would come back full force. I didn't like the lack of control. My stuttering pattern changed often and I was truthfully exhausted thinking about it all the time. About 5 years ago, I started to feel like a failure. No one could understand why. After all, at that time, I was a speech pathologist for over 10 years, had two beautiful daughters and a supportive husband. However, I still was switching words, petrified of public speaking and embarrassed by my stuttering. So, slowly I decided to "come out" and not hide anymore. There was the acceptance piece but then I decided to strive towards "recovery" because I was still stuttering alot and felt so much tension in my larnyx. By that time, I had years of fluency shaping therapy behind me but little involving the cogntive aspects of stuttering. I wanted it all and wasn;t giving up until I found inner peace. Over the last 5 years, I read numerous self help books, got involved in the National Stuttering Association (great organization,, started to use my fluency shaping tools and to my delight found they worked often. I had to practice and go for some additional speech therapy, but honestly practicing with others who used the same tools I did helped the most.

I can now pick up the phone without fear, go into a doctor's office and communicate, talk into a microphone and spread the word about stuttering treatment and work with wonderful clients who stutter. I still do stutter at times, but when I use my tools I am more fluent than not. I have no shame of stretching out a word or using an easy onset. It is so much better than stuttering. If I do stutter, I move on and don't beat myself up. This is what I can offer you as a speech therapist. I do recommend fluency shaping tools along with overcome feared situations. There is help available and I truly believe in therapy I provide. So, did I recover from stuttering, overcome stuttering or just find the right mix of what I feel works? Who knows what the right terminology is. What is important is what I have accomplished and what I have learned on this journey to help people who stutter become more fluent!! If that is your goal, it can be done!! Never give up!