Ask A Therapist: 24 Year-Old Male With Severe Stuttering

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

I am a speech-language pathologist in private practice. One of my clients is a 24 year old male with severe stuttering. He also has a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy. His most noticeable dysfluent behavior is the inability to initiate speech due to blocks at the vocal fold level. Do you think any of the Talk Tools would help? Thank you!

 

Jody

Hi Jody,

According ASHA, most treatment methods for stuttering are centered around behavior; however there are treatment protocols that focus on breathing. This is true of Dr. Martin Schwartz who wrote Stutter No More in 1991 about the "Passive Airflow Technique". For this method  stutterer is taught to 1. Release air 2. Slow down the first syllable and 3. Intent to rest between verbalizations.

Since the goal of Oral Placement Therapy is to provide tactile cues for speech sound production, we would consider OPT tasks that specifically target phonatory control and diaphragmatic breathing if the client was not using proper airflow to support speech. Phonatory tasks such as the horn kit, spirometer or bubble tube could be tools that would assist improved speech breathing; however we would also be certain that we were using more specific evidenced based therapy techniques for stuttering. These methods alone would not directly facilitate fluent speech but rather assist you in the pre-requisite skills needed to engage in airflow methods.

We would try blowing with horns or bubbles or encouraging airflow of any kind on his hand.  Once we felt like he was able to coordinate his breathing and blowing we would then move to humming or adding the "m" sound. We would work on this very gradually.  

Please keep us posted on how it goes and let us know if you have any other questions.

Thanks,

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP & Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP
adult client adult population airflow blowing skills cerebral palsy CP dysfluency humming Liz Smithson Martin Schwartz Robyn Merkel-Walsh speech therapy stuttering

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Comments


  • I have been using talk tools for years with high school students and Talk tools has been a successful part of my stuttering program.

    Diane Reyna, MS, CCC, SLP on
  • I’m a stutterer who uses the air-flow technique.I went to a workshop by Dr Martin Schwartz in the early 1990’s.
    I have no formal education in speech therapy.
    I would love to work in a place that treats stutterers.
    I could answer phones and be supportive to the patients.
    Believe me, I’ve been there.

    MC on

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