Speech therapy could be seriously challenging given the fact that most people who have issues related to stuttering often don’t speak freely. They have the fear of being judged socially and because of this fear avoid speaking. Plus, this also hurts their social lives.
This guide is specially designed to help speech therapists and communication teachers to set precise and achievable goals for education and empowerment for effective speech therapy.
According to one of the prime Chicago Speech Therapy Services, it is pertinent to acknowledge that most people including children and adults who have speech issues are not willing to confront the challenges they face in speech articulation.
Most people are confused about where to start from. Most of the students of the IEP level are not interested in knowing their problems or overcoming their speech issues. When confronted with such students, it may help if you consider an autonomous speech therapy program. Such a plan would work perfectly with the IDEA compliance.
The IDEA compliance requires states to provide education to students with disabilities. Since public education is mandatory, it would be intelligent to consider teaching students stuttering concepts through educational learning at school.
The experience may be better and the response could be even more positive when students are taught the concepts of stuttering instead of asked to engage in discussion related to their personal experiences of stuttering.
Engage Students in learning concepts of Stuttering
It may help a great deal if you introduce these young students to a range of learning concepts. Some of the learning concepts that are known to most of the clinicians working in stuttering therapy services include;
You can teach your students about the vocal mechanism and speech articulation. It may help if you disseminate the facts on speech therapy and the common issues related to stuttering. Educate your students about the science of stuttering by looking into key reasons including genetics and physiology.
In addition to it, if you’re looking to engage your students in something exciting, you may use the story-telling technique to get students to know about the common stuttering problems faced by people.
Telling stuttering stories of famous people or celebrities may work for you to attract a favorable response from the class. Plus, it would also be great if you include some learning on high-level communication skills including business communication, presentation speech, and debates.
The learning concepts mentioned above are just the beginning. The list is exhaustive. However, you need not cover the entire list. The goal is to keep your audience engaged and curious to know more.
Work in Groups
You may work well with the group if you successfully introduce them to concepts related to the social model of disability and how it is linked with speech impairment. Furthermore, you may also choose to motivate your class by uncovering the myths related to stuttering.
Tackle Myths about Stuttering
Identifying myths such as stuttering is permanent or misery and tackling these by providing knowledge would enforce a positive learning behavior among your class students. You may also choose to explore the history of stuttering and the beliefs that were commonly held about it.
Set Specific Goals
Your goals for educating students must also include teaching them concepts common in speech therapy including fluency shaping, avoidance reduction, and stuttering improvement.
Do More Research
Besides, your class may also benefit significantly if you plan to uncover findings from the latest research on stuttering and emerging perspectives on improving speech articulation and overcoming stuttering. It may also help a great deal if your students are taught about the role of stuttering communities, support services
Since you would be working with mostly young children, it is up to you what teaching methodology you choose. You must manage to engage children successfully. They must be curious to know more.
Engage with the Class
You don’t want to be in a class wherein the students are not sure about what they are learning. Plus, the information that is being disseminated is of no use to anyone. Discussions between you and the students or among them are really important. So, it’s really important to engage the students.
A suitable technique to keep students engaged is to watch videos with them, invite opinions, engage them in research for finding answers and ask them to explain the opinions of renowned people on the matter of stuttering.
Why the Education-centric Approach?
Most people are often ambiguous regarding the methodology used for the educational approach to speech therapy. A teacher or a therapist must be clear in their mind what they are doing and what effects their teaching technique will have on students’ learning of stuttering.
- First, the education approach could prove to be fruitful in increasing the knowledge of students about stuttering management approaches.
- Second, with this technique students will have enough knowledge to self-advocate while they communicate with their peers, family, and friends.
- Third, this technique may be of substantial value for children to tackle social and environmental challenges related to stuttering.
Even though the technique defined above may be engaging and exciting to the class, it’s really important if a teacher has developed a product delivery plan or a self-evaluation checklist to mark their progress.
Small Goals for Self-Evaluation
The teacher may set small goals that are readily identifiable. It may be useful to have a checklist for product delivery or self-evaluation that includes;
- Explained the links of stuttering with communication principles
- Completing few presentations in the class, making sure that the student was able to comprehend the issues raised and were responsive
- Explained the historical viewpoints on stuttering by dividing them into three perspectives. Simplified the topics for better comprehension
If you’re a teacher who wants to be super-effective you may choose to set time-bound goals. You may decide to maintain a checklist for product delivery goals by the end of the semester.
Don’t Worry About the Child
Apart from education, most people would argue that the child after learning must work on their speech. However, this is not recommended at all. The autonomy to choose whether they should work with their dysfluency in speech must be left with the children only.
Adults including parents and family members may feel like the child must work on their stuttering. However, it is pertinent to acknowledge that forcing the child or even telling them to improve their speech when they don’t want to is not recommended as it would only make the stuttering therapy more exasperating for the child. Plus, more importantly, it’s unethical. So, people should refrain from doing it.
Avoid the Use of Force
Working with a challenge by force will never work. A child who is uninterested in improving their speech should not be approached with invasive approaches for speech therapy. Rather, it is highly recommended that you consider approaching the child with an educational approach.
With an educational lens, you as a teacher would be able to help the students navigate the problem by themselves. Remember, this education-centric approach is not developed to initiate an immediate response from the child.
Engage Children with Multimedia Learning
Children will be engaged through discussions and presentations on topics. Students will learn about core stuttering concepts by engaging in activity-based learning. The technique prioritizes drawing the interest of the child in learning about stuttering on their own. The aim is to spread curiosity among children to know more.
It would then be left to the children whether or not they want to pursue speech correction therapy. This technique will primarily help children to develop extensive knowledge of stuttering.
Given the fact that students will know more about the value of stuttering knowledge and communication skills, after some time, they may choose to voluntarily work on their physical aspect of speech improvement.
One more effective technique to make learning exciting for students is to engage them in class presentations. You may choose to invite students to give presentations for five minutes.
The presentation would be a test of their communication skills. Plus, a presentation could be of great value to your speech improvement course if you ask them to provide a demonstration each for all the common stuttering problems which are faced by people.
This is an intelligent educational activity. It will eventually help students to voluntarily work on their speech without notifying anyone.
Empowerment Goals for Quality Speech Therapy
Apart from an education-centric approach, as a speech therapist, you may also need an empowering technique. It is crucial to set clear and precise empowering goals for quality speech therapy.
Most children are reluctant to speak freely because of the poor reactions they get socially especially from their peers. This often undermines their level of motivation. Thus, they end up leaving their stuttering issues unresolved and don’t have the esteem to speak freely.
This is where your role as a speech therapist is of prime importance. Instead of relying fully on the educational technique, you must give special consideration to empowering your clients. Empowering them to speak freely is critical to help them improve their speech.
People must understand that stuttering does not go away easily and may even get worse as the person starts practicing. A person with decreased confidence to rely on their speech for communication will have a low-esteem.
This will have negative impacts on their social life. Therefore, to empower individuals effectively, one must commit to setting precise and achievable empowering goals for their clients. While preparing goals, you must cater to the following prerequisites for setting goals for empowerment.
First, the goals you set out for your client must be challenging. Remember, you can’t work with speech impairment if the physical speech behavior of your client is not challenged adequately. Therefore, you must demand commitment from your clients to bear the challenge.
However, challenging goals does not mean that an activity or task that is far above the current level of the client is presented to them. Your job is to take great care that the tasks assigned to your client are within their capacity. So, you may progress slowly with the goals. It’s always advisable to track the progress of your client and set future goals for speech articulation accordingly.
Second, it’s your prime responsibility that you empower your clients as per their needs. Remember, each client is different. No two people who stutter are the same. Their issues may be slightly different.
However, their therapy needs may be quite opposite. What works for one client, may not prove to be fruitful or effective for the other. Therefore, you must have a client-centric attitude.
Empowering the client will require you to know them more closely and identify their strengths and weaknesses. It’s highly recommended that you develop empowering goals using collaboration with the client.
Say ‘No’ to Use of Force
Third, the use of force must be avoided. Your job as a speech therapist is to make sure that your client is not forced in any way. The decision to engage in communication or work on their speech must be left with your client. This is where empowering is the most difficult part of a speech therapist’s job.
Voluntary participation must be encouraged and sought as the only way to bring about a positive change in physical speech. Remember, that it could several weeks before you see any behavioral change in the speech of your client. So, it’s equally important to be patient throughout the program.
As a speech therapist considering empowering goals, you may want to focus on avoidance reduction. Encourage your client to speak while stuttering. Furthermore, you may also try to educate people in groups about stuttering and clarify that it’s not misery. Voluntary stuttering is the first of your empowering goals. Your client must be willing to talk voluntarily and tackle unfavorable reactions in a strong manner.
Lastly, to empower your clients, it may also help to engage them in support groups or initiate a conversation on social media on stuttering and raise awareness among people. For empowerment goals, you may use the 3Es model that is specially designed for students requiring stuttering therapy.