For consumers and professionals to locate speech-language pathologists who are Board Recognized Specialists in Fluency Disorders (BRS-FD): professionals who have gone beyond the basic clinical certification (SLP-CCC) awarded by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). BRS-FD’s are individuals who have demonstrated a high level of clinical expertise in treating fluency disorders, advanced knowledge, and a commitment to serving people with fluency disorders. They have submitted their credentials for review and approval by a Board of peers. This site is also designed for the professional who is seeking to become a BRS-FD or for those interested in becoming Fluency Specialist Mentors. Information on continuing education and upcoming events focused on the area of stuttering can also be found on this site. www.stutteringspecialists.org
THE NATIONAL STUTTERING ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1977, the National Stuttering Association (NSA) is the largest support group organization in the United States for people who stutter. The foundation of the NSA is in our nationwide system of local chapters. Monthly chapter meetings are peer facilitated and are designed to provide self-help, support, and education for those who stutter–as well as for those interested in stuttering. The NSA also sponsors regional workshops, an annual conference, youth and family events, and continuing education seminars for speech-language pathologists. A number of pamphlets, booklets, and posters are produced to provide information about stuttering to members, the public, teachers, employers, and speech-language professionals. www.westutter.org
THE STUTTERING FOUNDATION
The Stuttering Foundation provides free online resources, services and support to those who stutter and their families, as well as support for research into the causes of stuttering. The Stuttering Foundation is the first and the largest nonprofit charitable organization in the world working toward the prevention and improved treatment of stuttering, reaching over a million people annually. The Stuttering Foundation also offer extensive training programs on stuttering for professionals. www.stutteringhelp.org
THE STUTTERING HOMEPAGE
The Stuttering Homepage is dedicated to providing information about stuttering for both consumers and professionals who work with people who stutter. It includes information about research, therapy, support organizations, and conferences and other events. www.stutteringhomepage.com
FRIENDS, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO STUTTER
FRIENDS is a national non profit organization created to provide a network of love and support for children and teenagers who stutter, their families, and the professionals who work with them. Friends’ members include the young people who are our focus, their parents and siblings but also adults who stutter and Speech Language Pathologists that have a special interest in stuttering. Friends’ annual conventions provide the opportunities for life changing experiences that can change long lasting feelings about stuttering and offer new hope for a life with stuttering. They also offer regional one day workshops and a peer mentoring program. www.friendswhostutter.org
SAY: THE STUTTERING ASSOCIATION FOR THE YOUNG
SAY is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the confidence and communication skills of youth who stutter. This year-round NYC-based program provides a supportive community where youth who stutter can make new friends, create and perform in original short films, plays, and musicals, while gaining confidence and social / communication skills that will help them achieve their personal, academic, and professional goals. Youth express themselves at their own pace, in their own time, without fear of judgment or ridicule. SAY also offers a two-week sleep-away camp in the Summer near Asheville, NC. www.say.org
StutterTalk is a rich collection of podcasts and video interviews of researchers, clinicians, famous people who stutter and consumers. www.stuttertalk.com
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is the professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 130,000 members and affiliates who are speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists in the United States and internationally. The clinical staff at the American Institute for Stuttering are ASHA Certified. www.asha.org
The International Fluency Association is a not-for-profit, international, interdisciplinary organization devoted to the understanding and management of fluency disorders, and to the improvement in the quality of life for persons with fluency disorders. Membership is primarily professionals but is inclusive to consumers and families. IFA hosts the World Congress on Fluency Disorders every three years. www.theifa.org/
INTERNATIONAL STUTTERING ASSOCIATION
The ISA is a worldwide network of people who stutter, a non-profit umbrella association dedicated to close cooperation among independent national and international self-help organizations of people who stutter. ISA hosts a World Congress every three years. www.isastutter.org
INTERNATIONAL CLUTTERING ASSOCIATION
The primary goal of the International Cluttering Association is to increase public and professional awareness about this communication disorder, so that ultimately more effective treatments can be established. In addition, given that those who clutter offer an inside perspective to the disorder, and that a significant portion of cluttering research has been done outside the United States, it is of primary importance to the International Cluttering Association that: 1) the consumer (i.e. the person who clutters) is represented; and 2) representation is international. http://associations.missouristate.edu/ica/
THE MICHAEL PALIN CENTRE FOR STAMMERING CHILDREN
The London, England based Palin Centre offers specialized services for those who stutter of all ages and their families. The highly experienced staff also offers clinician training programs at the Centre as well as through their worldwide travels teaching workshops and speaking at conferences.
ISTAR, is a self-supporting, non-profit organization that offers specialized treatment to children, teens and adults who stutter. In addition, we conduct research into stuttering, offer advanced professional training for speech-language pathology students and clinicians, and promote public awareness of stuttering and its treatment. www.istar.ualberta.ca
BRITISH STAMMERING ASSOCIATION
BSA is the only national organization in Britain for adults and children who stammer, run by people who stammer. The BSA offers support to all whose lives are affected by stammering, promotes awareness of stammering, identifies and promotes effective therapies, and initiates and supports research into stammering. www.stammering.org
Stuttering is a speech communication disorder. It is marked by the presence of repetitions of sounds or words, sound prolongations and blocks which essentially are silences where no sound is heard despite the person trying to speak. The person stuttering does know what they wish to say but finds himself unable to produce the sound/word as they wish. The most widely held definition of stuttering by Wingate (1968) asserts that a critical component of stuttering is a perceived loss of control on the part of the speaker.
Stuttering is often represented as an iceberg, with the majority of its bulk beneath the surface. The core of the problem of stuttering for many, if not most people who stutter is hidden from view. What others cannot readily observe are the many avoidance behaviors, self-defeating thoughts, and negative emotions that develop over time.
Exposed to the air, the exposed portion of ice might melt, while what is underneath remains solid. Similarly, stuttering treatments that only address the surface features of speaking are only partially effective. Significant change involves improving not only speech fluency, but alleviating speaking fears, reducing avoidance behaviors and improving confidence in one’s ability to communicate.
What Causes Stuttering?
Though the exact cause is still not known, research is pointing to a neurological basis for stuttering with a hereditary component. Genetic factors determine whether an individual is born with a predisposition to stutter. Other factors including environment and personal temperament are thought to act as “triggers” to a pattern of developmental stuttering.
For the majority of people who stutter, stuttering begins around age 3-4 years, during a period of time when speech and language skills are developing at a dramatic rate. Separate factors including family history, gender, and overall language skills further influence whether stuttering shows remission in childhood or whether it persists.
75% of children who stutter before age 5 do not continue to stutter as adults. Stuttering is not a psychological disorder, yet many people who stutter do so more severely when they are under stress.
How does Stuttering Develop?
Many of the features of stuttering are learned reactions that develop over time. When the child first becomes aware of stuttering, he or she likely begins to adopt strategies to prevent it. These often include substituting words that are thought to be difficult and avoiding situations where stuttering is expected to occur. As more and more words, people, and situations are avoided because of stuttering, underlying fear of communicating with others continues to grow.
During moments of actual stuttering, the body naturally reacts by exerting excessive force, essentially forcing the word to come out. Since this physical effort seems to “work.” the behavior quickly become a secondary, habitual feature of the individual’s stuttering pattern.
How is Stuttering Best Treated?
Best current practices in stuttering treatment state that we must address the Stuttering ABC’s, namely (A)ffect, (B)ehavior, and (C)ognition. While many attempt to improve their stuttering by learning physical strategies to produce sounds and words, effective therapy must also address the negative emotions and thoughts that develop over time.
At AIS, we specialize in the treatment of stuttering. We develop customized treatments plans that meet the individual needs of each client.
Toastmasters International has grown to become a world leader in helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. The nonprofit organization now has nearly 235,000 members in 11,700 clubs in 92 countries, offering a proven – and enjoyable! – way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills. www.toastmasters.org