v Young Children and Stuttering
Note: (Note: We offer free stuttering screening for children 6 and younger.)
A large percentage of children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 7 will go through a period of stuttering. Close to 80% of those will outgrow it without direct therapy. Predicting who will and will not outgrow their stutter is not always a simple thing, and families should not wait until the child is six or older to consult with a fluency trained speech pathologist. We know that early support (before starting kindergarten) provides the best prognosis for alleviation of stuttering. The longer a family waits to get qualified support, the harder it is for the child to develop a new habit of fluency.
Alida provides Individual fluency therapy for young children. Parents are coached to help advance and maintain their young child's progress during the many hours of each week when they are not in formal therapy.
". . . Thank you so much. L. is now able to control his stutter on his own, and we are able to provide him with the support he needs when he struggles."
--The V. Family
"When T. began with you some six months ago she had been stuttering badly for ... a year. Our pediatrician referred us to the "free" speech therapy in the schools. Being skeptical of the idea of a free lunch, I did my own research. I learned of the Lidcombe program and found the Center for Speech and Learning. The Lidcombe Program was the right choice for us, but I'm convinced that this is mostly due to your enviable abilities in teaching it to us, T's parents, and in motivating her - until recently a very shy little girl - to participate. This she has done with great enthusiasm and joy.
As she progressed, we saw her open up, and her 'blossoming' was a source of great happiness and joy for all of us, no doubt drawing us even closer as a family. In the beginning she was ashamed of how she spoke, but now she is clearly proud. Your sure touch in helping us to build her self-confidence was the primary cause of this transformation.
I feel very fortunate not to have gone the traditional speech therapy route offered for "free" in the schools. ... I feel we found a great bargain, not to
mention a blessing, in your care.
v Teens and Stuttering
Teens who stutter have been shown to have difficulty in many social situations. Stuttering during these socially self-conscious years can be especially challenging. Despite this, not all teens are willing to accept therapy. Special sensitivity is required to help them make the attitude, perception, and behavior shifts needed to "stutter more easily" and feel good about themselves.
"I have been going to Alida for a little under a year for speech help and have seen major improvement in my speech. Alida taught me not to be
ashamed of my stuttering -- for me the biggest challenge because in the sixteen years I have been here I never talked about it before. ... I am so glad I decided
to start speech. It has helped me tremendously with my talking and with my everyday life."
--Donald M., Teenager
"Alida, You are such a patient and wonderful person! Not only have you helped my son with fluency, but also helped him overall as a person. . . . I can't
thank you enough."
"I am . . . an eighteen-year-old who stutters. My time spent in speech therapy with Alida Engel greatly improved my fluency. Before starting speech therapy, my stuttering was between moderate and severe. After exploring several speaking techniques, Alida and I decided that prolonged speech was the best option to improve my fluency. That technique is part of the Camperdown Program.
"On the Camperdown scale of one to eight, my stuttering was initially at a level between six and seven. Today, it has dropped to between one and two. This significant progress was due to the many different aspects of Alida's therapy process. Not only does she explore speaking techniques, but she also addresses factors such as causes, and the emotional and behavioral effects of stuttering.
"Most meaningful, she helped me change my attitude about stuttering altogether. I have learned that one does not have to believe in the negative thoughts that often occur in the mind of a stutterer. I am no longer afraid to stutter, and the confidence this gives, I believe, was a major factor in helping me to become more fluent.
"Alida and I have also integrated cognitive-behavioral therapy into the process, which helps me identify and address the anxieties that occur in different speaking situations. Working on a hierarchy, from less to more stressful situations, my social anxiety decreases as I become more successful in using prolonged speech in each one.
"Alida . . . has helped me to become a more fluent speaker and a more confident person. I feel that stuttering no longer defines me;
my time spent with Alida has strengthened the other aspects of who I am. I thank her for helping me to become a happier and more confident individual."
v Adults and Stuttering
(Note: The Center for Speech and Learning hosts a mutual support group for people who stutter on the 2nd Wednesday of each month -- affiliated with the National Stuttering Foundation.)
For adults, fluency techniques alone are insufficient. Adult stuttering therapy also requires addressing the habits developed over a lifetime of avoiding and working around social, academic, and workplace speaking situations which for many are accompanied by self-conscious discomfort. Such habits can lead to social frustration, impede personal fulfillment, and hinder education and career advancement. Adults are helped to confront their fears and avoidances, to reduce secondary behaviors (i.e. clenching jaw muscles, resisting eye contact, etc.), and to enter speaking situations with confidence.
"My stuttering has become much less severe and I've learned to manage it more effectively. I'm not afraid to speak up and participate in discussions like in the past.
"My treatment exceeded my expectations. I learned more than just techniques to manage stuttering, but how to reduce the anxiety and negative emotional impact it has.
"Alida acted as a guide/coach, leading me up the path to reaching my speech goals. She is a fantastic therapist and wonderful person.
The Center genuinely cares for its patients. It's always a pleasure to interact with them."
SLP Alida Engel's relevant training and experience with stuttering:
Alida Engel is a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency (stuttering), making her one of less than 200 such practitioners in the US and Canada. BCS-Fs have acquired a high level of clinical expertise in treating fluency disorders, possess advanced knowledge, and have demonstrated a commitment to serving people with fluency disorders. The BCS-F designation is a program of the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (ASHA).
Alida strives, through her continuing professional education choices, to maintain currency in major areas of speech therapy so that she can offer her patients state of the art approaches to diagnoses and therapy. Over the years she has worked to continuously update her knowledge and refine her professional skills in many areas. Among the conferences attended and courses sha has taken are the following:
- The 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th World Congresses for People Who Stutter (2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015)
- The Lidcombe Method for Children who Stutter (Dr. Mark Onslow)
- Advancing Practice in Fluency Disorders
- Cognitive Therapy and Stuttering
- Stuttering Therapy: Workshop for Specialists
- The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Croatia Symposium on Stuttering (2010, 2013, 2016)
- To maintain board certification as a specialist in stuttering, she fills a quota of 100 hours of intensive course work and continuing education every five years.
SpeechEasy is a fluency tool used to reduce stuttering and to help increase fluency.
We also evaluate patients for use of the SpeechEasy in-ear device, which uses delayed and altered auditory feedback to reduce stuttering. Speech Pathologist Alida Engel has had special training to evaluate effectiveness for SpeechEasy candidates, to fine-tune the devices, and to provide coaching in techniques to optimize effectiveness.
SpeechEasy PD (for Parkinson's disease patients) -- The SpeechEasy device can also enhance the fluency of people with Parkinson's disease. Alida Engel provides evaluation, final adjustment, and coaching for this purpose, as well.