Everything Has Changed: New Views About Stuttering Therapy


Course Type: Video – 1 1/2 hours

ASHA Course Code: Fluency Disorders (Including Stuttering and Cluttering) – 1010

The field of stuttering has experienced a growing awareness that speech-language pathologists can do more to help people who stutter by not pathologizing them or their differences.

Join Dr. Scott Yaruss, university professor and President of Stuttering Therapy Resources, as he challenge existing paradigms with an anti-ableist, diversity-affirming approach that will help you improve your intervention with people who stutter.

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If you test diverse children you need this book!

Additional Information


Adult, Early Childhood, School Age


1.5 hours


.15 Continuing Education Units


Articulation/Phonology, Evaluations



J. Scott Yaruss receives speaking fees for this presentation. J. Scott Yaruss is co-owner of Stuttering Therapy Resources, which publishes materials related to assessment of treatment of stuttering. He receives royalties from the sale of materials and has both Intellectual Property and Ownership interests.

No non-financial disclosures.

When people think of stuttering, they generally focus on observable speech behaviors, such as repetitions, prolongations, and blocks. Although these are certainly common aspects of stuttering, they do not reflect the most important aspect of the experience of stuttering from the perspective of individuals who stutter. In fact, when people who stutter are asked what affects them most about their condition, they highlight the ways in which stuttering affects their lives and keeps them from saying what they want to say or doing what they want to do.

In spite of this, many therapies for stuttering continue to focus on observable stuttering behavior, striving toward increased fluency that is difficult or impossible for many people who stutter to maintain. Such a focus on fluency can actually serve to increase the negative emotional and cognitive reactions that people who stutter experience, and this, in turn, can lead to increased stuttering and greater difficulties with communication.

This presentation is designed specifically to challenge traditional views of stuttering therapy that are based on the notion that stuttering is a disordered form of speech that needs to be remediated or corrected. Instead, the presenter will discuss ways that stuttering can be viewed through a diversity-affirming lens that recognizes that disfluent and stuttered speech simply reflect the broad variety of human speech production. Instead of pathologizing people who stutter, we can instead accept the fact that some people experience disruptions in their speech when they talk.

Importantly, taking such a view does not negate the potential value of speech therapy for people who stutter. Instead, it demands that we shift our focus away from “fluency” as the primary goal of therapy and toward “communication” as the ultimate metric of success. People who stutter who can say what they want to say (whether fluently or not) – and thus communicate effectively — can thereby be viewed not as disordered but instead as different. The focus of therapy, then, is to ensure that people can indeed communicate regardless of whether or how much they stutter. Taking such a view also requires that speech-language pathologists understand what it means to say that someone has a stuttering disorder—a requirement for making a determination that intervention is necessary—so that appropriate and targeted intervention can be justified and provided.

This presentation will highlight several issues related to viewing stuttering from an anti-ableist perspective that embraces the fact that people who stutter may speak differently from other people while still ensuring that therapy can be provided for those who are experiencing difficulties in communicating in the way they would like. The presenter will discuss how this view is compatible with IDEA for qualifying children who stutter for treatment in a school setting, as well as how clinicians can compile appropriate documentation to ensure that those children who need treatment receive it, while those children who do not need treatment are not unnecessarily pathologized because their speech is different. Ultimately, the goal will be for clinicians to understand how they can help people who stutter, both in ensuring successful communication and in developing positive, affirming views of themselves and their speaking abilities.

Participants will be able to:
• Explain what is meant by the phrase “stuttering is verbal diversity”
• Describe when a person who stutters can be said to exhibit a difference in speech fluency and when a person who stutters can be said to experience a communication disorder
• Explain why the language used for describing stuttering and people who stutter is changing
• List 2 important aspects of the assessment process that help to determine whether a person who stutters should receive intervention

Time-Ordered Agenda
20 mins: What we used to believe about stuttering
20 mins: What we’re starting to understand about stuttering
20 mins: How new views of stuttering affect assessment
20 mins: How new views of stuttering affect treatment
10 mins: Looking to the future

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