Most people who stutter are very discouraged about stuttering therapy for adults. I have seen this in my private practice, and on social media. I have seen that they have been through countless attempts at improving their fluency through therapy in the schools and by speech therapists offices.
Lack of Training in Stuttering Therapy for Adults
Unfortunately, about 15 years ago, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association changed the rules for requirements for certification as a Speech Pathologist. Before this change, graduate students took an introductory course in Stuttering as a requirement. They also took an advanced Seminar in Stuttering. In this course, they learned about the current research and therapy techniques for stuttering therapy in adults. Next, the students completed 25 hours in a Stuttering Clinic. This taught them how to implement different treatments for real people in the community who stuttered.
Meanwhile, graduate school faculty departments complained to ASHA that they weren’t able to find enough professors that knew about stuttering. In addition, they also were unable to find enough people that stuttered to attend their clinics. Rather than solve these administrative problems, ASHA decided to eliminate the requirements for both the classes in stuttering and the clinic hours. Therefore, now a recent graduate can receive ASHA certification and a State License without any classes or exposure to stuttering therapy in the clinic. Public school therapists work with students who stutter in public schools. Also, they are permitted to treat children and adults in private practice settings, both without any training.
No wonder adults are discouraged. They have received treatment from well-meaning, but untrained school speech therapists year after year after year. By the time they are adults, they have all but given up on therapy. Many choose to accept their stuttering the was it is, and live with it the best that they can for the rest of their lives.
Fortunately, there is hope for people who stutter, even with the history of not providing enough training in universities. Several years ago, some of us formed the Special Interest Division for Fluency Disorders to fill the gap in this lack of training.
ASHA Certified Stuttering Specialists
This group of professionals who cared about stuttering evolved into the American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders. We have put in place a rigorous training program for professional speech pathologists to attain the certification of Board Certified Specialist in Fluency after several years of training in stuttering research and treatment supervised by a mentor who has already been certified. I have been a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency since 2001 and was part of the original cadre of those who started the program.
Let me know if I can help.
Mark Power, M.A. CCC B CS-F
ASHA Board Recognized Stuttering Specialist
Power Stuttering Center
1400 Quail Street, Suite #252
Newport Beach, CA 92660