Stuttering and Cluttering Services

Our stuttering therapists

All speech pathologists at Swift Speech have experience and training working with stutterers / people who stutter and people with cluttering across the lifespan. We believe that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to evidence-based treatment for stuttering which is why our therapists are trained in a range of therapy approaches for clients of all ages.

Our therapists have completed training in Lidcombe Program, RESTART-DCM, Palin Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Early Childhood Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Approach with Dr Scott Yaruss, School-aged stuttering management, Camperdown Program, ACT, CBT and Solution-Focussed Brief Therapy. Specific details about each therapist’s training and experience can be found on the Our Team page.

What is stuttering? 

Stuttering occurs due to an interruption in speech production, and usually involves one, or a combination of the following:  the repetition of sounds or syllables, for example:  “I-I-I want …” The same can be applied for parts of words, whole words and phrases. 

In some cases a child or adult’s stutter features what is known as “prolongations”, which is a stretching out of the sound in a word, such as “vvvvvvvvery good”, or a “block”, which involves the complete cessation of airflow, such as “b——–ook”. 

Occasionally these stutters can involve secondary features, including (bot not limited to): eye blinking, finger tapping, head nodding, and eye rolling. 

What is cluttering? 

Cluttering is a communication disorder that affects one’s ability to convey messages clearly and concisely. Individuals with cluttered speech often report that their listeners have difficulty understanding them, and attribute this to factors such as their speech sounding rapid, unclear and/or disorganized, as well as difficulties with the clarity of their speech, and/or the organization or relevance of their message. 

“The main identifying feature of cluttering is that the speaker sounds fast to the listener at least some of the time. The concept is that even though the speaker may not be speaking faster than average, they are speaking at a rate that is too fast for their system to handle, resulting in communication breakdown.” - (St. Louis and Scaler Scott, 2022)

Stuttering and cluttering are both considered fluency disorders, and can often co-ocur. 

Does my child really need therapy? It’s only been a few months. 

Around 10% of children start to stutter during the pre-school years. While many children recover without intervention, it is not possible to predict if this will happen with your child. Traditionally, speech therapists recommended waiting 6 months to see if the stutter disappeared without intervention, however recently the Australian Stuttering Research Centre has suggested that the sooner preschoolers receive treatment for stuttering, the less likely they are to experience negative social consequences from stuttering.

If you have any concerns about stuttering it is worth visiting a speech pathologist because treatment at this age has the best chance of preventing ongoing stuttering as well as preventing potential negative communication attitudes from developing. 

For children younger than 3 years of age, stuttering therapy would usually take a more indirect approach, looking at making changes in the child’s environment to support stutter-free speech. In rare circumstances, more direct therapy would be commenced prior to the age of 3.

Is it only children who see speech pathologists for stuttering and cluttering? 

Speech therapy helps people across all stages of their lifespan, not just children.  

Some people have had therapy in the past and decide to give it a go with a new therapist who works largely with stuttering and cluttering; for others, it’s the first time they’ve seen a speech pathologist.  For some people, they see a speech pathologist because they’re repeatedly told to slow down or take a breath and they’re feeling frustrated by being told this so often. For others, their own strategies for managing stuttering are not working as well as they would like and they want a few more ideas about how to best more forward with their speech.

Often we see clients or parents who are worried about stuttering, or perhaps a child, or teenager who is starting to feel frustrated by their stutter. 

Sometimes we see clients who know there is something about their speech they want to address, but they can’t quite put their finger on it. This can sometimes be a sign of cluttering. 

If you feel concerned about your child’s speech, or your own speech, then it can be a good idea to book in with one of our team today to discuss these concerns. 

Stuttering itself is not a problem. It becomes a problem when it stops you or your child from doing or saying things that you want to say. Speech therapy for stuttering doesn’t only focus on speech techniques. It also helps you to participate in activities, develop a positive self-concept, reduce negative attitudes towards communication and advocate for yourself.

What can I expect in my initial and follow up visit? 

  • You can expect your speech pathologist/ therapist to take a comprehensive case history. This may involve questions surrounding the development of speech, language, and broader questions that may seem unrelated to stuttering, but assist the clinician to provide intervention that is specifically geared and relevant for the person who stutters.  
  • In your initial visits, your speech pathologists will likely administer some informal tests, and they may suggest further assessments of speech or language. 
  • Your therapist may administer some questionnaires to ascertain how you feel about stuttering. 
  • In your subsequent visits, your therapist will then work with you to determine treatment strategies, and monitor your progress. 
  • If you haven’t had it already, your speech pathologist may also recommend connecting with a broader team of health professionals to support you in your journey. 
  • Your speech pathologist will provide you with some education about stuttering, and/ or cluttering, as well as provide some information about strategies you can implement straight away to help support your child, if they are the one with the fluency concern. 

What happens in therapy? 

There are various programs to help with specific communication concerns at different ages. Your therapist will make suggestions regarding which options are relevant to you, and together you will decide on an approach that fits you best. No one therapy suits all people who stutter so the speech pathologists at Swift Speech have training and experience in a variety of evidence-based therapies across all age groups.

Therapy for preschool children is usually delivered by parents at home with weekly or fortnightly clinic sessions for the speech pathologist to train the parents.

Therapy for school-aged children and adolescents involves therapy sessions and home practice for both the child and the parent. Therapy for stuttering will often include work on reducing the frequency or effort of stuttering and dealing with negative communication attitudes. Therapy sessions are often 2-3 weeks apart to give time to practice techniques taught in amongst the busy school-life of clients of these ages.

Therapy for adults depends on your goals regarding your speech. Our main goal is always that you say what you want to say when you want to say it and participate in everything you want to do, whether you stutter or not. You also might want to reduce how often you stutter or how much effort it takes to speak, increase how easily you are understood by others or how positive you feel about speaking. We can help you to meet any of these goals. Therapy will usually involve regular speech pathology sessions with home practice to complete between clinic visits.

How long will therapy take? 

This is difficult to quantify and will be determined by the nature of the fluency difficulty, any comorbidities, and how effectively any recommended practices can be implemented outside of sessions. In the initial stages of fluency therapy, weekly therapy is often recommended until you, or your child feels more confident with the strategies, or outcomes.

We usually book therapy sessions in 6-8 week blocks. Most therapy will require at least 2-3 of these blocks to be completed. Some clients will require more, some less. For example, from research, we know that it takes an average of 18 sessions to complete the Lidcombe Program or the RESTART-DCM program for preschoolers who stutter, and an average of 14 hours to complete the Camperdown Program for stuttering adults.

We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals for your speech. Schedule an Appointment.

References: 

Cluttering. (2022). Retrieved 30 March 2022, from https://www.stutteringhelp.org/cluttering

Publications about stuttering. (2022). Retrieved 30 March 2022, from https://www.uts.edu.au/asrc/publications/publications-about-stuttering

Stuttering. (2022). Retrieved 30 March 2022, from https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering/

St. Louis Ph. D, K., & Scaler Scott Ph. D, K. (2022). Cluttering. Retrieved 30 March 2022, from https://www.stutteringhelp.org/cluttering

Location

Suite 8, Abergeldie House
548 Portrush Road
Glen Osmond SA 5064

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Phone

08 7092 4028

Fax

08 8490 2327

Email

speech@swiftspeech.clinic