Stuttering therapy: a parent’s highs and lows

“When you hear your child smooth all the time you’ll be so proud of them and yourself.”

I’m following up with past clients, hopefully to help current clients gain some support and perspective on where they are at in the therapy process. Therapy for stuttering is challenging in many ways. What do parents think some time after they’ve been through this process?  Here’s what one client said, 3 years on.

How old was your child when you did the Lidcombe Program?

The first time we tried the program my daughter was just 3 years old. We did it for 4 to 5 months and decided to have a break. We tried again when my daughter was 4 years old and this time it was a total of 3 months until we were in maintenance.

How long ago did you complete the treatment?

3 years ago

How did you find the treatment process?

I was surprised how confronting it was for myself. I too suffered from stuttering as a child and doing the therapy and having to tune in made me realise some of my own disfluent speech. I initially also found it hard to do the therapy and was very critical and hard on myself when we weren’t getting the initial results.

Was it what you expected?

I didn’t realise how long the process would feel when you are in it. My husband and I both work in our own business, and at the time I was pregnant and had another 11 month old baby. Finding time to make the therapy a part of our everyday routine sounded possible. But looking back on our first attempt I now know we just didn’t have enough consistency to complete it.

What do you wish you knew before you started?

It’s a bit like childbirth, it doesn’t matter how much someone prepares you… it’s still gobsmacking at how emotional, exhausting and tiring the process feels. Our key to success for the second time round was to have the help of my mum and she did the therapy too. Sharing the load made it much easier to keep the consistency and was more enjoyable for both myself and my daughter.

If you could time-travel back to the midst of stage 1, what would you say to yourself?

imgspeech-marksConsistency is key. You can make a difference. And when you hear your child smooth all the time you’ll be so proud of them and yourself. My daughter is about to turn 7 and I still get a buzz out of hearing her so smooth and how confident she is in her speech.

Do you recall a funny Lidcombe Program moment?

We had to ban the use of ‘umm’ as that started to become a mask and would be said before each sentence. And due to this word not being able to be said in therapy, I was not allowed to use it! Haha that was difficult. My daughter was allowed to pick me up on it too! We decided we had to sit on our ‘ums’ when they slipped out. And I spent a lot of time catching and sitting on them as I was thinking of the next question. At least we both got a good laugh. And I’m pretty sure Grandma was worse than me. Haha