Sunday, October 4, 2009

Don't attempt fluency transfer unless we agree!!!

Earlier today I had a wonderful conversation with my 11 year old daughter. Leah has been very verbal since age two and has always appeared older than she is, which made it difficult in elem. school. I have mentioned before that when Leah was young, she had reading difficulties. In first grade she was pulled out for reading. Many of the kids were receiving services at that young age so there really wasn't an obvious stigma attached. It took me months to get her help because she was only slightly below average in their eyes, however, I knew she was struggling and her self esteem would eventually suffer. She was quickly discharged after a few months and the following year they determined she still had difficulty reading at grade level. At this point only a few kids were being pulled for extra help and Leah knew it. It reminded me when I used to get pulled out of class for speech therapy. I wanted to hide. She also had a teacher who insisted she had to read out loud. I don't have to tell any of you how her confidence suffered. In fact, it suffered so much so that they felt she might have a learning disability. Fortunately, my husband and I knew what was happening to her confidence and how much it was impacting her academic performance. We struggled to get her private reading help, which was financially difficult because my husband had been laid off at the time. We found a wonderful reading teacher who encouraged and helped her. The following year, Leah had a wonderful, fabulous teacher in 3rd grade who was able to see her for who she really was. Leah no longer required reading help, excelled, wanted to raise her hand and read out loud. This same child who seemed so halted by how she was being perceived all of sudden ran for class vice president and won. She is now in sixth grade and is an advanced reader. I am so proud of her for working hard and never giving up. She also taught me how important it is to encourage everyone I work with and the effect it has on their success.

So, why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because the same thing happens with kids and adults who stutter. They often don't receive enough encouragement, support and success to improve fluency. It takes hard work to do this as it took hard work for Leah to become a better reader. It didn't happen overnight. It took years and constant encouragement. Becoming fluent in a therapy room is a fairly simple. As Pam commented, it is being out in the real world when you have to deal with time constraints, educating others about stuttering, and coordinating all the components needed to communicate effectively. BUT I am telling you it can be done if this is what you choose. The younger one is, the easier it is,to at least change the thought process and not be ashamed of stuttering. Remember, we all excel with encouragement, praise and success behind us. It is human nature!

ok, how come everyone is telling me they don't know how to post? Please help me so I can help you. Isn't there a post option??


Pam said...

You keep giving me props, thanks so much. I really loved this post. I like the exploration and analogies. I trust that your daugther is a s proud of you as you are of her.
I think you and I should plan to do a workshop together next year. While our perspectives are differetn, we certainly share many similiarities, and we are a good balance for each other.
Transfer outside of the therapy room is critical. And you have to want to do it.
I just came from a therapy session with grad students. I have actually agreed to make a concerted effort to work on the blocking. Which means I might actually try to learn a tool or two to help me in some situations.
Woo Hoo! Keep up the great work!

Lori Melnitsky said...

I would love to do a workshop with you. I would be honored. I think it is good to share perspectives and present both sides of the coin. I have a feeling we are much more alike than different. Tks for always reading my blogs and inspiring me. Why are you the only one who can figure out how to post on my blog???