Sunday, March 9, 2008
Therapies Geared Toward Teens
There are a variety of treatment therapies available for teenagers and adults who stutter. Unfortunately, no treatment approach offers a quick fix, or a guarantee that therapy will help a person achieve flawless speech. Unlike treating many young children right from the start of their stuttering, treating young adults who stutter is a lot more complicated! Just like any other behavior that has become ingrained in you throughout your entire life, stuttering can be a tough behavior to change. The good news is that many young adults, who may very well be just like you, have seen improvements in their fluency from undergoing various treatments. Some treatment options available for young adults are as follows:
• ISTAR-Comprehensive Stuttering Program is a 3-week intensive, multi-approach program in Canada that has been developed and researched over the past 30 years. It provides 83-90 hours of therapy, as well as an additional hour of home practice each evening. Treatment is provided in both individual and group formats.
The program is designed differently for every person who enters the program, depending upon his or her personal goals and needs. In general, the program focuses on speech-related goals, as well as on emotional and attitudinal goals. Speech goals include learning to sustain controlled fluency in all speaking environments, learning to self-monitor speech and to modify errors, and learning to manage instances of stuttering that remain after treatment. Emotional goals include reducing avoidance behaviors, dealing with negative listener reactions, and managing feelings of fear and anxiety.
ISTAR also incorporates family members into the sessions. Of course, their degree of participation in the sessions is dependent upon the participant’s relationship with them. The program encourages open discussions about stuttering among family and friends. And most importantly, the program allows teens to meet other teens who can relate with many of the same life experiences.
More information on ISTAR can be found at: http://www.istar.ualberta.ca/html/home.html
• Intensive 3 week program, Successful Stuttering Management Program in Spokane, Washington is designed for adults and older teens. In addition to fluency-enhancing techniques, it focuses mostly on the attitudes and feelings associated with stuttering. More information can be found at http://www.ssmpmanual.com/
• The Contingent Time-Out Program focuses on fluency control, relaxation, social skills, problem solving, negotiation, and environmental factors. This program involves having the individual stop speaking for a given amount of time upon an instance of stuttering. Research involving this program can be found here: (http://jslhr.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/40/1/121)
• Stutter-Free Speech Program is a very lengthy program that focuses on cognitive elements of stuttering. The program involves 25 hours of therapy, in addition to 50 hours of relapse prevention sessions. It could take over two years to complete.
Regardless of the form of treatment you seek, you will most likely find variations of fluency shaping and stuttering modification techniques. Stuttering modification began in the 1930s with Charles Van Riper, a speech therapist who stuttered, and was based on the idea that stuttering occurs because the person is attempting to avoid their dysfluent speech. The components of this therapy are identifying the moment of stuttering, desensitizing yourself to your speech, cancellation of the word stuttered on, pulling out of the stuttered word and changing the components of your speech while preparing to say a word. Fluency shaping began in the 1960s and consists of prolonged speech, easy phonatory onsets, soft articulatory onsets and continuous airflow.
As with receiving any type of service, it is always a good policy to check the credentials, experience and goals of the person offering treatment. Make sure to always avoid working with anyone who promises a "miracle cure" for stuttering.