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.


Chris Healey said...

Congratulations on the wonderful outcome you have achieved. It is in no doubt due to the loving dedication of her parents that your dUghter has has such a wonderful outcome with Lidcombe. My son went through Lidcombe at the age of 4-5. While it was suposed to be 16 - 20 weeks it dragged on for a year before the SLP in Annandale Virginia finally said he needed something more to treat his dysfluency. My wife and I were crushed - we had been given such high hopes for a "cure". My strong suggestion to all parents of stutters is to be sure to work with SLPs that have a number of treatment tools they can draw on - Lidcombe alone can work for some but if that is your only treatment modality you consider you may do yourself and your child a grave disservice.

- Chris (Arlington, VA)

Lori Melnitsky said...

I agree with you. It is important to have the option of using other tools. I never promise a "cure" and it sounds like you were mislead. This is why I developed my PACE program where I use a modified Lidcombe approach. I like to include a strong parent education piece in this model. I have been fortunate to have worked with children not only near me but out of state as well. I hope you found another effective approach for your son and I thank you for your comments. Best of luck! Lori

Pam said...

This was a great post. How wonderful to share what the parent wrote, she clearly was heartfelt and also comitted to her daughters needs and therapy.
As an adult who stutters and not a SLP, I don't anything about Lidcombe, but it seems to make sense to offer choices to parents.
Thats what its all about: choices.
Keep up the great work, Lori!