We were 8 people, including three students from the La Salle graduate program.
One of us shared that he had the opportunity to give a presentation but shied away because he was afraid of stuttering and of what people would think. There is a perception that people who stutter during a presentation are nervous, not well prepared and not confident on themselves or on the material they are presenting. But maybe is what we think that people that don’t stutter think of us, and not the reality.
We offered a few suggestions such as: Use your presentation tools (Powerpoint, slides, etc.) to your advantage to plan pauses and take a few seconds to relax. Use pauses instead of “like” or “hum”. Talk in chunks: It has pauses but when you speak in chunks you are focusing on the words and not in the pause. It’s like focusing on the positive side of something to don’t want to do. Like when, if you are going on a diet, you remove the negative side of what foods you need to avoid by focusing on the ones that you will be adding more like fruit.
We also talked about when and how is a good time to release teenagers from speech therapy. One of our clinicians that also stutters has several teenage patients that feel should not be in therapy anymore. He can tell that they have other interests and they are not absorbing anything from therapy anymore. Some options we discussed:
- Introduce them to each other to build a support network when they are on their own.
- Leave an open door for them to come back, such as your contact information
- Have the more fluent one mentor someone younger or with less resources
- Let them go if they want to, but if they are hesitant, force them to stay in therapy longer. Maybe they need someone to push them to stay in track.