What is it about?

Some adults who stutter never heard the words, “It’s okay to stutter”. Many who have, also internalized the unspoken caveat, “It’s okay to stutter, but it’s better if you don’t”. Unintentional ableist messages can perpetuate stigma and feeling “othered” in the therapy relationship. In this viewpoint article, the author offers ideas for revisioning therapy outcomes, language, and messaging to students to encourage a congruent, disfluency-affirming culture in schools and community.

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Why is it important?

Those who stutter often report memorable negative school experiences both academically and socially. Some characterize their school speech therapy experience as unhelpful, even damaging to their confidence as communicators later in life. We can do better!


We can address stigma, discrimination, and efforts to conceal/mask experienced by our students who stutter. Small changes can result in great impact. Some of these include changing the language we use, the praise we offer, the culture in our school community, and what we value as therapy outcomes.

Vivian Sisskin
University of Maryland at College Park

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Disfluency-Affirming Therapy for Young People Who Stutter: Unpacking Ableism in the Therapy Room, Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2023, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2022_lshss-22-00015.
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