- Lori Melnitsky
Superman or Tigger? Who would you choose?
The truth is the evidence for childhood stuttering isn’t great. As a result I can only tell you what I have seen and sometimes hands on experience helps you learn more than what research can tell you. I have seen so many great success stories and I am not sure where to start. Let’s all the remember the goal of childhood stuttering to try and eliminate stuttering or reduce to a mild level so the child can communicate freely without fear or holding back. We must keep the child talking so the fear of stuttering doesn’t impact their ability to communicate now and in the future. I cannot lie that I did avoid talking at one point in my life but that was because of the judgements of the world around me and not because of speech therapy. All my speech pathologists encouraged me to talk regardless of stuttering.
I remember the first time I heard about Tigger (from Pooh) or bbbbouncy speech. I know it was not in grad school. It was from a former patient. I cringed. It was bad enough being called Porky Pig when I was young but Tigger? I love Pooh but Superman or girl probably would have encouraged more self esteem. They flew and fought villains. How cool is that. I have never used this type of speech and will not because the few children who have come to me using this approach ask me why they were told to talk like Tigger? Some were told to talk like Eeyore who is portrays a donkey with a presumed mood disorder and talks very slow. I can understand bouncing out of hard words in therapy but not to use with their peers.
My point is young children have thoughts and feelings. We are not only working on fluency but building memories that they will carry with them throughout their life. When we talk about Lidcombe let’s make sure the therapy is being carried out by a SLP who not only knows Lidcombe but specializes in stuttering. I always wanted to be Superman/girl or batman when I was young. I needed self esteem to develop the skills to be strong and face adversity. That is why I praise not only smooth speech but great listening, great sharing, etc. I am very careful when I introduce corrections and if I ever do. I guess you can say I used a modified preschool fluency program with great success using Lidcombe strategies. I honestly believe we are not praised enough in this high stressed world and either are kids who need it the most. Tks for following