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Stuttering Strategies and Beyond: Setting Your Own Goals

This Speechinar includes a review of stuttering strategies and explores how the feelings and thoughts associated with stuttering can affect speech and communication. We also cover ways to set and implement communication goals in your everyday life.

Speechinar Transcript


Ally Hutchison: Perfect. Hi, everyone! Thank you so much for joining us today, for our speech in our we have the wonderful, wonderful Kayla Kaplan here today she is our presenter. She is one of Better Speech speech language pathologists. She graduated from the University of Maryland and she currently works with us, treating adult and pediatric clients. She also works in a private practice, and she works with client, all with of all ages there as well. So i'm gonna give it over to Kayla, where she can introduce her topic.


Ally Hutchison: and if you have any questions, you can please save them for the end. For the presentation. Kayla can answer those for you. All right, Kayla. Go ahead


Kayla Kaplan: All right, Hi, everyone. So let me share my screen and we'll go ahead and get started


Kayla Kaplan: all right. So today we'll be talking about stuttering strategies and setting your own goals.


Kayla Kaplan: so we'll talk a little bit about how to implement different strategies and set your own communication goals


Kayla Kaplan: going forward, especially as many of you may have graduated from speech therapy. Some of you may still be in speech therapy, but hopefully, this will, you know, cover some different strategies and ways to incorporate your goals, no matter where you are in your journey with speech therapy and stuttering.


Kayla Kaplan: Okay. So what we'll talk about today. First, we'll talk a little bit about some stuttering strategies. Go over some ones that you may be familiar, with some that you may not have heard of before.


Kayla Kaplan: Then we'll talk a little bit about the iceberg of stuttering what that is, as well as the fear hierarchy. We'll kind of go into those and talk about how you can use those tools


Kayla Kaplan: to gauge your progress and help you set goals going forward, and then we'll use those tools to go into some practical ways to set strategies and goals, as well as thinking about some ideas for some personal challenges going forward.


Kayla Kaplan: and then at the end we'll do a Q&A


Kayla Kaplan: All right. So first we'll talk a little bit about stuttering strategies.


Kayla Kaplan: So first I want you to think about which studying, stuttering strategies, do you know or use which ones work for you which ones maybe not as well feel free to type in the chat? If you have a favorite stuttering strategy, and if you have any questions about any of the ones that I bring up, we can talk about those questions at the end.


Kayla Kaplan: So here are some common strategies for stuttering, and since, being in therapy, you may be familiar with at least some of these strategies, so


Kayla Kaplan: Fluency enhancing strategies are used to change the way you speak in order to increase control of your fluency. Some examples on the slide here are easy on set of speech, continuous phonation, light articulatory contacts.


Kayla Kaplan: and those are some things that you can do to reduce tension. There's also slowing your rate of speech with some phrasing and pausing.


Kayla Kaplan: So those are some of our fluency-enhancing strategies. I try to demonstrate them a little bit, just you know, to show what they might look like.


Kayla Kaplan: So these strategies aren't intended necessarily to be used in a moment of stuttering. Rather, they're supposed to be used when speaking in general to increase fluency.


Kayla Kaplan: So, on the other hand, we have stuttering modification strategies, and those are intended to be used when you're in a moment of stuttering. So these are strategies that can help change the way you stutter and help you take more of that control during those moments of stuttering.


Kayla Kaplan: So next we'll talk a little bit about the iceberg of stuttering and focusing more on the effects of stuttering.


Kayla Kaplan: All right. So this is the iceberg of stuttering. It may look familiar. It may be a new concept, so it's kind of an analogy illustrating how, with stuttering at the surface there are some things that other people might see, so that might include blocking on a word repetition, so repeating some sounds or words as well as things you might do to avoid stuttering, such as maybe not talking in class or at a work meeting, maybe closing your eyes to get through a moment of stuttering and using, and more more more than you would otherwise in normally.


Kayla Kaplan: So that's maybe things at the tip of the iceberg, so things that other people can see but what other people don't tend to know as much about is the feelings and thoughts and beliefs associated with stuttering that are beneath the surface.


Kayla Kaplan: So those feelings that you might have can lead to certain thoughts which ultimately, you know, lead to our beliefs about ourselves and what we can and can't do and our overall, you know, abilities.


Kayla Kaplan: So you know, that might look like you might have a feeling of shame when you stutter that so feeling that comes out for some people, and you, the thought could be, people will think I'm not smart, because I stutter. And then that could lead to a belief that, like I couldn't go to that party, or I couldn't you know, leave that meeting because I'm a person who stutters.


Kayla Kaplan: So you know the iceberg will look different, depending on the person, and it's, you know, individualized to each person who stutters.


Kayla Kaplan: So I, what I encourage you all to do is, you know, maybe draw a picture of an iceberg, print one out, and fill it out yourselves, for you know what are some of the things that people are seeing on the surface. What are some feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that you still have related to your stuttering cause, that you know can help kind of engage where you are in your journey, what you may still want to work on, and you know what you've already kind of addressed.


Kayla Kaplan: So next we'll go into setting goals, and you know how to kind of set goals with the feelings in mind. So not just thinking about the strategies. So not just moderate, MoD modifying the things at the tip of the iceberg, and not just modifying, You know, those, you know, blocks or repetitions, but also thinking about. How can we address what's under the surface as well to help? You know further our progress


Kayla Kaplan: So you know when we think of you know what we want to do going forward.


Kayla Kaplan: We might want to think about how to step out of your comfort zone and do something that feels maybe a little scary, or that might bring up some of those negative feelings from the stuttering iceberg. But people often ask like, Why should I step out of my comfort zone, you know I just want to do my strategies to prevent the stuttering itself, and that's it.


Kayla Kaplan: But a lot of people who start, or may notice that you know. The more you don't want to stutter in a situation the more you know you try. You have that tenseness and trying to prevent it, the more you may tend to stutter. So it kind of becomes like this self-fulfilling prophecy.


Kayla Kaplan: So, continuing to avoid those feelings, and to you know, having those that tension and that kind of avoidance of you know, situations and things like that can just perpetuate those feelings, and can actually make those moments of stuttering feel worse and actually be, you know, longer and maybe more pronounced.


Kayla Kaplan: So what I want you all to think of is, what can you do in your daily life to make your communication more effective, comfortable, and spontaneous?


Kayla Kaplan: And so my challenge for you is to choose your own challenge every week. So, and I want you to think beyond strategies like I said. You know you. You probably learn strategies and therapy. If you've been in therapy, and those are great, you should continue to, you know, practice using those and practice them in different situations. But let's think beyond strategies.


Kayla Kaplan: So some things I shared some ideas here of things that you may, you know want to try, you know, in your daily life, to kind of address the the bottom half of the iceberg.


but we'll go through some of them. So the first one advertising as a person who studied so sometimes just sharing that you're a person who stutters can really take control can let you take control of that communication situation and take that pressure off of oh, I want to hide the fact that I'm I'm going to stutter. I want to hide my stutter. So you know, advertising, and just you know, if you meet someone who hey? You know


Kayla Kaplan: I'm a person who stutters can kind of give you that control, even if it does, you know, feel uncomfortable to do so.


Kayla Kaplan: Some other, you know. Ideas may be like educating others about stuttering. So you know a lot of the times people when interacting with the person who stutters may do things that aren't super helpful like giving advice like slow down or take a deep breath. Maybe they're you know, avoiding eye contact or filling in.


Kayla Kaplan: You know your sentences, what you might want to say so. And at the end of the presentation also, I'll bring some resources that you can even maybe share with you know family, or you know, if you're you know, a child who stutters to maybe friends at school, or to the people in your workplace about like tips, for you know, communicating with someone who studied, and what other people can do to make the interaction more comfortable for both of you. And then, you know, I want to challenge you guys. To what else can you think of? And you know, feel free to


Kayla Kaplan: right in the chat. If anyone else has any ideas of things that might be a good personal goal, or you challenge, or you know. Think of, or you can write it down for yourself as something that you might want to do, going forward


Kayla Kaplan: all right. So one thing I didn't talk about yet, but that was a one of the stuttering modification strategies, and also one of the challenges was voluntary stuttering. So you may have noticed that you know on some of the other slides which you may or may not have heard of before.


Kayla Kaplan: And so I'm often asked by my clients, why would I stutter on purpose. Stuttering is exactly what I'm trying not to do


Kayla Kaplan: so. Voluntary stuttering can have a few purposes which kind of go along with the personal challenges and kind of getting out of your comfort zone.


Kayla Kaplan: but it can especially be helpful for people still in speech therapy, or who have graduated from speech therapy, because, as I mentioned before, one of the things we know about starting is that sometimes the more you try hard not to do it, and the more you feel tense about it, the harder it is to be fluent.


Kayla Kaplan: so becoming comfortable with stuttering on purpose can help decrease those overall just feelings of discomfort which can ultimately lead to more fluency.


Kayla Kaplan: if you have a voluntary stutter, you're kind of taking control again, and that can help you reduce those feelings of avoidance and the physical tension.


Kayla Kaplan: You know. Of course this will be hard to do, especially at first, and it can bring up. You know those uncomfortable feelings from the bottom half of the iceberg, you know feelings of shame or anger or nervousness.


Kayla Kaplan: but again, it can ultimately help with kind of that desensitization process advertising as a person who stutters and letting you take some control of those feelings and of those communication interactions.


Kayla Kaplan: So maybe you've you know, as we've been talking You've thought a little bit about a challenge that you might want to do so. One of the things that can be hard is how to decide where and when to practice or complete one of these challenges.


Kayla Kaplan: So, when thinking about working on our communication again. We can't just think about working on the center itself. We have to work on that, you know, bottom half of the iceberg.


Kayla Kaplan: So what can be really important is working on those feelings and reactions to stuttering in different types of scenarios and with different people you communicate with, you know, throughout the day throughout the week.


Kayla Kaplan: So I'm just gonna open you tab here


Kayla Kaplan: all right. So, hopefully you can see this fear hierarchy. So what this means is that you know there are different types of people we communicate with, and scenarios we communicate in throughout. You know our our day, and some might be, you know, super easy. We're not really worried about our speech, not worried about stuttering often. That might be with like, maybe with family, or maybe with an old friend who knows you really well. So those might be things that are on, you know the bottom of the fear of a hierarchy for someone again like the speech iceberg. This will look different.


Kayla Kaplan: depending on who is who? The person who you are and what you know, what is easier or harder for you.


Kayla Kaplan: so the fear hierarchy. Yeah. So you might have some of those people in the bottom wrong, maybe with friends. It's a little harder, but it's still okay. Things that might be on the top, for a lot of people might be like giving a presentation is, you know, might be a situation where


Kayla Kaplan: you don't want to stutter. You have maybe some more tension. It. It brings up a lot of anxiety. Things like that maybe going on a date, or maybe meeting someone new. So those are some common ones that tend to be higher up. But again.


Kayla Kaplan: this is a good exercise to do on your own. and connecting that back to the challenges. Let's say you decided you want to advertise as a person who stutters or share with someone that you're a person who stutters. So maybe first you tell an old friend, if that's like a really scary idea to tell someone who stutters, maybe you practice with someone at the bottom of the fear hierarchy. And then Kayla Kaplan: maybe you do that. Maybe it's really hard, and you want to


Kayla Kaplan: try a different challenge. Then that's okay, too. Or maybe it goes really well. And you're like, okay, I want to tell. I want to advertise to another person. Maybe I can advertise with a new friend or with someone I just met so kind of thinking about when you choose a challenge.


Kayla Kaplan: how can you put your push yourself, maybe a little bit out of your comfort zone, and once you do that, once you complete that challenge the next week, how can you push yourself again, maybe a little bit out of your comfort zone.


Kayla Kaplan: And so this is a tool that can be used. Also, you know, with any of the challenges, your goals that you set for yourself. So it can even be, you know, practicing one of the strategies that you've been working on. Maybe you're really good at using it with.


Kayla Kaplan: you know, with your friends, but at work, and it just goes out the window. So just thinking about being really specific about. Who do I want to practice with? Who do I want to do this with?


Kayla Kaplan: To push myself just a little bit more out of my comfort zone


Kayla Kaplan: all right. And then you know my last message. I always like to say it's okay to stutter, you know, as with their therapy, we're not getting rid of stuttering, or, you know, trying to build up tools that make communication, you know, comfortable, easy, and forward moving.


Kayla Kaplan: yeah. So that's you know, a message I always like to impart as well.


Kayla Kaplan: All right, so I want to go through and talk about maybe a few of my recommended resources to learn more, to connect, you know, with other people who stutter other professionals who work with people who stutter


Kayla Kaplan: so one really good resources, the stuttering foundation.


Kayla Kaplan: So it has, you know, resources for the parents of kids, preschoolers and kids who stutter fo really people of all ages.


Kayla Kaplan: And then so I also mentioned, you know, tips to give to other people for speaking with the person who stutters. So you know, making sure people don't make remarks like slow down, or take a deep breath.


Kayla Kaplan: and they have so many resources out on this website. One of them is like a flyer that you can, you know, have for yourself, or give to family or friends


Kayla Kaplan: another one I'll talk about is the Nsa. Or the National Stuttering Association.


Kayla Kaplan: So you know, they also have resources for really people of all ages links to also support groups. There are local and Nsa. Chapters. You can join to meet other people who stutter.


Kayla Kaplan: And then there's so much information here, really a wealth of knowledge


Kayla Kaplan: as well as you know, they even have an advertising challenge. So telling someone that you're a person who stutters. So there's really a lot of information on this website as well.


Kayla Kaplan: the other ones we have the stutter talk podcast. It's anywhere You listen to podcasts. It's a podcast by people who stutter they go through tons of different topics, a lot of interesting


Kayla Kaplan: topics that they talk about, and then open stutter is is a Youtube Channel, where people talk about their experiences with stuttering more openly, and that that does kind of go into more of that talking about the feelings and desensitizing themselves to you know.


Kayla Kaplan: stuttering. So those are all some really great resources and websites that you know I recommend checking out.


Ally Hutchison: Thank you so much, Kayla. So guys. Now Kayla is going to be open up for some questions. I'm just gonna start Kayla off because I was able to obtain some questions from the chat, and we also were able to obtain some questions from a forum when we opened up this topic.


So Kayla, one of the questions that we received was, what does a lifelong journey look like for individuals who stutter in relation to therapy meaning When I graduate speech therapy. Am I done for life, or is this something that I will revisit over time.


Yeah. So that's a really great question.


Kayla Kaplan: And you know


Kayla Kaplan: something that I kind of talked about is a lot of this is really individualized, and that goes definitely goes the same for this question. So what therapy looks like over a lifetime really depends on.


Kayla Kaplan: You know the person's needs so stuttering itself can kind of wax and wing throughout the lifetime, too. So there can be, you know.

00:24:14.360 --> 00:24:15.770

Kayla Kaplan: Sometimes, when stuttering isn't you, you might not notice it as much, and then other times where it comes up a lot more. So that can be one factor that you know. Maybe if it comes up a lot more. You you might want to seek therapy if that's something you're interested in. But I would say, really.


Kayla Kaplan: Speech therapy is a good thing to seek out, if you feel like it's preventing you from. You know, living your life the way you want to live it. If you have those feelings of avoidance. If it's holding you back in ways that you've decided you don't want to be held back anymore. Then that can be a good time to. Maybe you think about going back to speech therapy, but it's definitely


Kayla Kaplan: not by any means something that you know. People who start or need to be doing throughout their life. It's really based on you know what your needs are, or your child needs


Ally Hutchison: perfect. Thank you. And if anybody that's on the call. Has any questions, feel free to unmute yourself and go ahead and ask, or if you'd like to put them in the chat as well, we can answer them that way. I'm going to go with the next question as well that I see, while perhaps some people on the call, if they have any questions.


Ally Hutchison: The next question that I saw was, what causes stuttering. I've many family in friends who asked me about this and about my child, and I never know how to respond.


Kayla Kaplan: That's a really good question as well, and one that I've heard a lot, too.


Kayla Kaplan: So stuttering has, you know there, there's some different factors that contribute to it.


Kayla Kaplan: But ultimately we do know that it's a neurogenic difference that affects some of the speech related areas of the brain, and it also has a genetic component.


Kayla Kaplan: and it's sometimes, you know it's noted to be, maybe triggered by external factors. So maybe some stressful things you might notice, trigger it.


Kayla Kaplan: But it is important to know that that's not the cause of stuttering so a stressful event cannot cause stuttering. It may be just something. That trigger is an increase, or for Triggers onset is also, you know


Kayla Kaplan: what causes stuttering is a good question. We also want to think about what does not cause stuttering. What are some of the myths? So it's not caused by pointing out just fluencies. So by you know especially, and I'm talking more when we're thinking about younger kids. So if we say like, oh, that speech was bumpy.


Kayla Kaplan: you know, or whatever you might say to a child, that that doesn't cause stuttering. So so saying the word stuttering doesn't cause a person to stutter


Kayla Kaplan: it doesn't it's not caused by being bilingual, you know and it's also not caused by any anxiety and psychological or mental, other mental illnesses. Sometimes the effects of stuttering can lead to. You know feelings of anxiety and things like that. But it's not. That's not the cause of stuttering


Ally Hutchison: perfect. I just want to make sure I'm giving opportunity for those on the call to jump in if they'd like to.


Ally Hutchison: Okay. So another question that came in was, Why does my child have trouble stuttering with certain sounds and not others.


Kayla Kaplan: Yeah. So that's that is a common thing that you know. People notice also that there are certain words or sounds that people ha stutter more on. A lot of people say they stutter more on the word stutter or on their names.


Kayla Kaplan: and sometimes either those words or sounds can be kind of like a learned, like a subconscious, learned


Kayla Kaplan: kind of thing that happens where, you know, there may be a time where we had to say our we had to introduce ourselves and say our name, and we stuttered really badly on it, and that kind of stuck with us. So then, we had this learn kind of anticipation of oh, I'm going to stutter on my name again!


Kayla Kaplan: So so then, it's that self-fulfilling prophecy and that kind of you know. I'm. I'm worried because I really don't want to say my name, and then you stutter on your name because it's you know you're You're anticipating that. And that can also happen even with sounds, too, and especially with young children. It's not necessarily something that you know


Kayla Kaplan: people are people are. You're not aware of it. It's more like a subconscious kind of condition or learned behavior that can happen so that tends to be. Why, you know, certain sounds might be harder for certain people


Ally Hutchison: perfect. Thank you. And another one I saw is Cedric has built up a lot of anxiety, and we particularly at work any specific recommendations for stuttering and navigating the work scenarios like presentations, meetings, or times with bosses.


Kayla Kaplan: Yeah. So I would kind of maybe think about referring back to some of those ideas with the fear hierarchy and with maybe some personal challenges that you can set. Obviously, we want to strike a balance between pushing yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit, but also maintaining, you know. reasonable accommodations like. If, if presenting at this a meeting this time is something that really does not feel feasible for you. Then I would say, maybe first tell your boss why. So that advertising piece. So thinking about


Kayla Kaplan: what is reasonable for you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and what you know will you need to ask for maybe someone else to step in, or maybe some sort of accommodation.


Kayla Kaplan: But yeah, that's a hard situation, and again, will, you know, is going to vary based on the person. But I think that kind of building that those goals based on the fear hierarchy and based on personal challenges that can get you outside your comfort zone. Maybe just a little bit can help sort of chip away at that bottom part of the iceberg of those.


Kayla Kaplan: you know, feelings and kind of going into those a little bit deeper.


Ally Hutchison: Perfect. Thank you. And then the last question I saw that was submitted was, how young is too young for stuttering therapy. My daughter is 4 and just started stuttering quite a bit. Is this normal? Or should we get her evaluated?


Kayla Kaplan: Yeah, so you know, I think getting an evaluation. Getting a professional opinion is never a bad idea. There are certain factors that might be more pressing, or you would maybe say, oh, it's more likely that this


Kayla Kaplan: this girl will be, you know, a persistent stuttering is st Stutter. So a lot of the times. Young children may grow out of it, so it may start, and then they grow out of it if it's been more than maybe 6 months. That's when maybe we think a little bit more of that evaluation.


Kayla Kaplan: I think anytime, if you know your child is struggling with their speech and aware of that struggle right away. I would, you know, get that child evaluated. Make sure we're addressing. You know those thoughts and feelings really early on we want to nip those in the bud.


Kayla Kaplan: 4 is pretty young, but still getting a little older, so I mean I think it's it's never too early to be evaluated. But then, depending on the child's awareness, and how long they've been stuttering, that will maybe determine whether they should go ahead with stuttering therapy, or whether we should watch and see what happens with that child


Ally Hutchison: perfect. Well, if there are any, no more questions that concludes our presentation, for today. We just wanna extend our sincere thanks to Kayla for putting together this wonderful presentation, and to all of our guests who attended live today. If you did not attend live today that no worries we're gonna be, have. We're going to have this presentation uploaded onto our better speech website for you to review at your leisure.


And as always, if you ever find that you are someone who is wanting to work on enhancing their fluency, or someone who is struggling with stuttering in their life. Please do not hesitate to reach out to better speech, as we have many therapists just like Kayla, who are open and available to work with you on becoming more confident in your communication.


Ally Hutchison: Thank you all so much. Take care.


Kayla Kaplan: thank you.


About the Speaker

Lenora Edwards

Kayla Kaplan Kayla is an ASHA board certified Speech-Language Pathologist who graduated with her Master's in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Maryland. She has been trained in Avoidance Reduction Therapy for Stuttering (ARTS), and she has experience with providing individual and group therapy for children and adults who stutter and clutter. Kayla is passionate about empowering people who stutter to not only explore their speech, but also the thoughts and feelings associated with stuttering in order to help facilitate confident communication.



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