School-age

The Gift of Listening

Kids talk more when we listen to them.
— Dr. Phil Schneider
 
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All of us want to raise confident kids.

The kids who will grow-up to be secure adults, with healthy relationships and meaningful lives.

It starts EARLY and it's FREE.

We can teach our kids how much they matter, when we listen to what they say. We don't have to agree, and we don't have to meet their demands - but when we turn to kids to listen to their words, we send them a powerful message. We show them how much they matter, and how much we value their communication with us. If we do this, we can "keep kids talking" and we can plant values of self-esteem and self-expression.


These values, planted early and often, can spring into big kids, and young adults with self-worth. So they know that stutter or no stutter, they are intrinsically worthwhile. The world will listen to what they have to say and value it. We do that by showing them that WE listen and WE care and value what they say. This will build their self-esteem and their courage.

Two principles:

1- Good listening is good loving. We hear them and acknowledge that we WANT to hear what they have to say.

2- We need to work on honoring the essence of the message our children are putting out to us. Stuttering is the surface. Beneath that, they want to connect to us and share their experiences with us. We need to honor that so they always feel comfortable speaking with us.


Click below to listen to the podcast - with Peter Reitzes of Stuttertalk.com

 

Check out our Instagram @schneiderspeech for more!

 
 

Get Playful for Learning Success

You can’t learn to swim if you’re scared of the water.
Once you’re comfortable getting wet, you’re ready to learn.
— Uri Schneider


How do we foster learning and growth? We need the right balance of "pressure" with "safety."
Only as we explore new territory, outside the familiar comfortable routines, we find opportunities to learn and grow.
As we confront challenges, engage in problem solving the puzzles, we are forced to dig deeper. As we are pressed past the boundaries of the familiar, we discover the world of learning.

But we need to feel safe enough to explore. And that makes all the difference.

If it's just PRESSURE, then we are too pressed and unable to really learn more than spit-back.


Check out our Instagram @SchneiderSpeech for more great content!

 
 

VIDEO: What Is "Word Retrieval"?

Click to start watching

It’s more miraculous that any of us can put a sentence together fluently; then it is surprising that some children have hiccups in their fluency!
— Uri Schneider

See this conceptual slideshow presenting the “speech process”

IDEATION -> KEYWORDS -> SENTENCES -> SAYING IT

(Adapted from our mentor, Dr. Ed Contour)

 
 
 
 

25 ways to ask your kids "how was school today?"

As parents we want our kids to tell us more, but often we’re frustrated by their one-word responses; leaving us curious and pressing for more info.

Make it more fun (and less of an interrogation) with questions suggested by Huffington Post! Click here for the full article.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Where is the coolest place at the school?

  • Tell me something good that happened today.

  • If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?

  • If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?

  • If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?

 
 

Think these could work for your kids? Try it out and let us know how it goes!

VIDEO: Speech Therapy for the Unmotivated child

 
 

We often hear things like:

"My child is not showing much motivation and seems disinterested - but my husband and I really want him/her to do this."

"I'm concerned about my child's speech and I really want them do the work to get better." 

Here are some things to remember during this confusing time!

  1. Stakeholders - Both parents and children have their own valid concerns!

  2. Kids have the right to decline

  3. Watch carefully

  4. Make it inviting

We have a responsibility to make sure that the visit in the office is going to be engaging and pleasant for them
— Uri Schneider
 
 
We hope these tips help you to decide what's best for your child!
 

VIDEO: Is it time to seek stuttering therapy for my child?

Don’t let anyone tell you “don’t worry.”
You’re a parent, and you have the right to be concerned about your child .
And you have the right to choose what to do.
— Uri Schneider

Things to remember when thinking about seeking speech therapy:

What Type of parent are you?

  • Tolerant Parent

    • Are you able to “watch-and-see” and tolerate allowing some more time, and give your child the opportunity to sort it out themselves?

  • Concerned Parent

    • Are you more concerned, risk-aversive and more comfortable being more proactive rather than applying a more patient approach?

 
 

What ABOUT YOUR CHILD? And They’re Temperament?

  • Is your child reactive and fussy?

  • Is your child easy-going and unbothered?

IF Parents and kids are not concerned…

  • If neither parent, nor the child is concerned - it can be a legitimate option to allowing more time. There is no objective need to rush to therapy sooner than later.
    (In some cases there can be reasons to seek therapy sooner than later", but it’s not always true that “early intervention” is always the best policy.)

  • If you choose to “watch and see,” then put a date on your calendar to follow-up (4-12 weeks later). Something like this: “If by this date, nothing has changed, let’s give therapy a try.”

Click here for a practical infographic - when to seek professional stuttering evaluation for your young child who stutters.

For more - see the video above.

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

VIDEO: Distinctions Between Stuttering Therapy for Children and Adults

Click the image above to play our video

The therapy has to be fit for the person you’re working with

approach for pre-schoolers who stutter

  • Stuttering for preschool children is often just a blip and may resolve on its own.

  • Not a lot of stigma, or judgment; very matter of fact

  • Focused primarily on physical behaviors of stuttering

  • Focus on supporting parents and empowering them to help their children

transition from pre-school to school-age and beyond

  • At some point, in the early school years, children begin to compare themselves to others

    ‘My hair is different’,

    My body image is not the same as everyone else’,

    ‘My skin color isn't the same’

 
img_L2ZtLzgxOS90aHVtYm5haWxzL0NPTl81Mzg1NjAxOTlfTS5qcGcuMzQ3OTMwMDAuanBn_L2ZtLzgxOS90aHVtYm5haWxzL0NPTl81Mzg1NjAxOTlfTS5qcGcuMzQ3OTMwMDIuanBn.jpg
 
  • The “non-physical”/emotional component of stuttering is introduced

As we move into the school-age, teen, and adult years, we have to think about how the person may be faced with thoughts and feelings around stuttering, and how that affects their overall experience in life and self-image.

Joseph Sheehan’s Analogy of the Iceberg

We think about how each person experiences the “physical” vs. “non-physical” components of stuttering to determine what therapy approach is best:

  • How much of the work is above the surface?

    • Behaviors we can hear or see like a stutter, or a body movement

  • What's beneath the surface?

    • Emotions and thoughts we often can't see, both positive and negative; shame, guilt, confidence, acceptance

 
 

Based on the person, their developmental stage, along with where their “work” primarily lies (above or below the iceberg), we can decide how much of the work will be focused on physical strategies vs. non-physical strategies.

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

VIDEO: Discovering your child stutters: What next?

Click the video above to start watching

So, you or your child stutters.

Before you consult too much with Dr. Google, let us share some helpful facts to steer you in a helpful direction (also see our infographic).

Sometimes the best place to start is to understand what stuttering is NOT...

  • Stuttering is NOT an emotional problem

  • Stuttering is NOT a cognitive problem

  • Stuttering is NOT caused by parents

Stuttering is likely pre-wired, within the child's neurophysiological "wiring" at birth.  Often, stuttering first appears years later during the developmental years of 2-8, correlated to developmental and/or environmental conditions. 

Many kids go through some dysfluency or fluency instability for a period of time and move through it.  The incidence is probably underreported for those who are younger and experience disfluency for shorter durations of time.

Research suggests that five out of a hundred (5%) kids stutter for six months or more, and only one out of a hundred (1%) retain the trait into adulthood.

So, there is a strong likelihood that this is not going to be a lifelong trait.  This can be something optimistic to know, and valuable to keep in mind.

With that being said, when your child is stuttering, you don't care about statistics.  You don't want your child to become a statistic. 

So I think it's really important for people who care for families to remember that.

Parents don't need statistics. They need help as parents and they want to help their child the very best they can.

I think finding what's right for you, finding the right resource of information for yourself is the best thing you can do.  Anyone who knows me, and anyone who knows this issue would agree that binging on Dr. Google is probably the worst thing you could possibly do! 

  • There are good resources out there, and support groups for families who are dealing with this issue with their children.

We are not the only address, but we can be a good one for you.

You can contact us.   Stay tuned as we roll-out more content, videos and free webinars like this!

 

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

VIDEO: What to do When a Parent Wants Therapy But a Child Does Not

Click the video above to start watching!

Let’s review!

What to do when a parent wants therapy but a child does not?

  1. Ask yourself: What's the root of the problem?

    • Thinking about what the child's concerns are and helping to alleviate them can be a big step forward.

  2. Talk about it in a different way

    • Present therapy in a new light! For example:

“Mommy and daddy noticed that sometimes your words are getting stuck. We love you and we found someone who knows a lot about kids whose words get stuck and we want to get some help, some tips, some advice on how we can do the best we can for you. Would you like to come?” 

 
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3. Respect them

  • As they get older, they start to own shares of their life. Allow the child's voice to be heard, even if it's not what we wish to hear.


Now how about this...

‘How do you work with children who might not want to be in therapy?’ 

1. Learn what's troubling them

  • If a child is going through something significant in their life, like a stutter, learn what it is and what it's not. Let them know help exists.

2. Give them an invitation

  • Give a child an opportunity and an invitation. It can be helpful to present therapy as a project: “Would you be interested in a little project? We'll meet for three times and learn a little bit more about this whole speech thing.”

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

VIDEO: It's OK to Talk About Stuttering

Click the video above to start watching!

Here’s a recap of our video!

Talking about stuttering with your teen can be challenging, but it needs to happen! Read below for some tips on approaching this sensitive topic in a safe and dignified way.

1. Don't ignore the elephant in the room!

  • The worst thing to do is to pretend the stuttering is not there. That sends a message (and transmits a value/judgement) that this way of talking is a "no-no," taboo, we don't talk about it.

 
@Schneiderspeech on Instagram

@Schneiderspeech on Instagram

 

2. Talk about it, in a way that is respectful, dignified and nuanced

  • Use descriptive language - not judgmental language.

  • If we can use words that are descriptive and just acknowledge what it is, we can talk about stuttering in a respectful and sensitive manner

    i.e.: “It must be hard sometimes, would you like to find some ways to learn how to make it easier to talk about it?” 

  • Being insensitive can lead to negative outcomes including poor self-image, reduced confidence and ultimately, a young person who retreats into a safer shell of silence.

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

PODCAST: Building Relationships in Stuttering Treatment

What is the importance of “building a relationship” (between therapist and client) in stuttering therapy?

Lee Caggiano (Friends) and Phil Schneider join Peter Reitzes (Stuttertalk) to discuss the ins-and-outs of building relationships in stuttering treatment.

Check out more StutterTalk podcasts featuring Phil!

Visit our own podcast page here

Phil Schneider

Phil Schneider

Peter Reitzes

Peter Reitzes

VIDEO: Stop Bullying with George Springer

George Springer has earned the MVP award in Major League Baseball - but he's also earned our respect for his consistent courage as an articulate spokesman and stand-out role-model for kids and young people who stutter.

 
 

Reigning World Series MVP George Springer joins the Shred Hate campaign to stop bullying and encourage young fans to "Choose Kindness"

 
I want kids to be themselves. And enjoy their lives.
— George Springer
 

Stuttering Book Worms: Top 10 Books We Recommend

People often ask us for the best books we recommend on the topic of stuttering.  So we put together a list of books. 

In these books, you will find candid and wide-ranging perspectives. 

We hand-picked them, and we know and respect several of the the authors.  In fact, several are our colleagues and friends! 

To be honest, this list is LESS about stuttering, and MORE about the experience of living as a person who stutters.  The real struggle and the triumphs of true transcendence.

While we can assure you that not every book is right for you, you will find something that offers insight, support and inspiration. 

If you find something that interests you, go further!

We encourage you to contact the authors, as many of them are reachable via contact information in the book, or online.

And we'd be interested to hear from you as well.  Contact us.

 

Now without further adieu, here is our top 10:
(Titles and authors are clickable links)

 

1) Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice, by Katherine Preston (2014)

2) The Gift of Stuttering - Confronting Life's Challenges: A Personal Journey by Moe Mernick (2016)

3) Stuttering: Inspiring Stories and Professional Wisdom by Peter Reitzes (2014)

4) Living with Stuttering by Kenneth O. St.Louis

5) Solo Ascent by Matthew LaRue (2014)

6) V-V-Voice: A Stutterer's Odyssey by Scott Damian (2013)

7) Jaguar: One Man's Struggle To Establish The World's First Jaguar Preserve by Alan Rabinowitz (2000)

and #8 and #9 for kids!

8) A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz (2014)

9) Paperboy by Vince Vawter, (2013) and Copyboy by Vince Vawter, (2018)

 

Now, those are the top 9.  As for #10.  #10 is the most impressive book yet!

10) Your story. 
The next chapter of your journey!

 

Stay tuned for collection of Stuttering: Top 10 Films

 

 

We also want to include these free e-books - courtesy of and thanks to Stuttering Foundation of America.

Advice to Those Who Stutter by 28 speech therapists who stutter themselves.

Trouble at Recess by Jamie (8 year old girl who stutters)

Sometimes I Just Stutter by Eelco de Geus (for ages 7-12)

Self-Therapy for the Stutterer by Malcolm Fraser

The Child Who Stutters: To the Pediatrician by Barry Guitar and Edward G. Conture

Stuttering: Straight Talk for Teachers

Stuttering: Its Nature and Management by Courtney Stromsta, Ph.D.

The Girl Who Stutters by Mia J., Rebecca D., and Casey W. (school-age girls who stutter)

Pages 77-81 from Stuttering: Successes and Failures by Joseph Sheehan

The Stuttering Little Ballet Boy by Sohel Bagai

Sparking Conversation through Literacy

It can be really challenging to talk about uncomfortable topics.
All the more so when speaking with our kids.

Books can be really helpful to open-up crucial conversations with young people.

 
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Never underestimate young people, and the valuable opportunities to open conversations to engage important topics!

Practical suggestion: Shared reading time can be a great opportunity to sit-down with your child and enjoy real quality time.  Every time you do, you strengthen their reading skills, and you also create a rich opportunity to make connections from the text-to-life.

Talking about stuttering with your child can feel overwhelming.  As a caregiver, you may have a lot of your own questions and emotions about stuttering and/or having a conversation about stuttering.  You are not alone. 

Try using a book to facilitate the conversations.

Books can provide clarity - making it easier for the both of you.

And you may enjoy some bonus smiles along the way!

Here is a list of books that may help start the conversation:

“Steggie’s Stutter” by: Jack Hughes

“Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand” by: Artie Knapp or  access this story for free on Youtube

“Sophie’s Stutter” by: Ingrid Bruske

“Gabriela (American Girl)” by: Teresa E. Harris

“Paperboy” by Vince Vawter

“Copyboy” by Vince Vawter

“When Oliver Speaks” by Kimberly Garvin and Saadiq Wicks

 
 
 

Happy Reading!

Tiffany Marino, associate speech-language pathologist, Schneider Speech

 

VIDEO: Top 5 Ways Talk About Stuttering

 

Click the video above to start watching!

 
Contrary to popular beliefs,
the act of talking about stuttering is often liberating
- not traumatic. 
— Uri Schneider

In this video, we learn about a family of school-age child who stutters, working together to find descriptive language - as opposed to judgmental language (i.e. good/bad) - to talk about stuttering.


 Top 5 Words to Talk About "Stuttering"

  • sticky

  • bumpy

  • effortful

  • tense

  • pressed

* NOTICE: Can you see the descriptive language - and the absence of judgemental language?
** Also, try to use words to describe what it is (i.e. "tense"); and not what it's not (i.e. "not easy"). 
You can see how it gets confusing using negatives ;-)


Top 5 Words TO TALK ABOUT "FLUENCY"

  • gliding

  • smooth

  • easy

  • fluid

  • flow

  • effortless

* NOTICE: These words are centered on the experience of the speaker / talker; how it feels for the speaker (i.e. sticky, easy).   As opposed to focusing exclusively on how it is perceived by the listener (ie. stuttering or fluent).


 
 
 

EXERCISE: Build YOUR OWN (FAMILY) "vocabulary"

TIPS: Try with your family

  • Keeping it light-hearted (even fun) thinking of words to describe speech (both "stuttering" and "fluency")

  • Brainstorm altogether, or see if each person can create their own list and then share with each other.

  • See who can come up with the most words!

  • Put the words in a notebook, on your phone notepad or on the fridge; and begin to use these words when talking about speech.  You can even discuss sharing "your personalized vocabulary" with therapists, teachers, family.

 

Let us know:

What words are in "your stuttering vocabulary"?

 


VIDEO: How To Talk To Kids About Speech Therapy

 
 

Watch our video!

If we were talking to an adult, we would (hopefully) consider their experiences, their feelings, their concerns...  We would consider whether they like surprises, or like to be informed in advance; whether they prefer to skip the details, or prefer to know exactly what to expect.

We need to think about children as young people.
— heard from Taro Alexander, SAY

Speech therapy is not part of the everyday routine.  It's not like the universal daily ritual (wrestle) of brushing teeth. 

Let's be honest, speech therapy is unusual.  It's different.  And it's often unclear what it is, what it looks like and how it works.

So, if you're a parent or a therapist, ask yourself these questions, BEFORE speaking to your child.  Of course you might discuss some of these questions WITH your child. 
And you might speak with the professional IN ADVANCE of your appointment - so everyone is on-the-same-page.
And this conversation should be ongoing, checking-in during the first meeting and subsequent appointments, to ensure the "young person" is taken into account.

 
 

What's going through the child's mind?

The example I think of is something I heard from Dr. Carol Westby, one of giants in in research and clinical speech-language pathology.  She contributed loads of research, assessments and more to show us how children learn through play

Now, for example, if you think about how children learn to swim, children don't learn how to swim when they're terrified of/in the water.  They learn how to swim only after they're comfortable to "splish splash" and fool-around in the water. 

So, what that means for us is this: children don't learn when they're terrified.  None of us do. 
We may memorize something out of fear, we may be able to spit it back on a test, but we're not really learning, long-term, deep learning.  Long-term, deep, learning happens when you feel safe.  Learning and therapy for that matter, happens when you feel interested and curious; when you feel secure; when you feel there's someone on the other side that has something to offer you.  When you feel that other person "gets you," responds to you and can enlighten you. 

Children don’t learn when they’re terrified. 
None of us do. 
Our brains learn best, when they feel safe, even playful.
— Uri Schneider

WORDS THAT TURN-OFF:

  • homework

  • therapy

  • job

  • test

 

WORDS THAT TURN-ON:

  • project

  • adventure

  • fun

These are ways to create a bridge, to create trust, and once you do that, you can have a very productive relationship, and you can really work on very sensitive things. 

 

SUMMARY TIPS:

I think that's the way to set-up "how we talk about therapy."  Whether it's a young child, or an older child, or a teen, or an adult, we should make sure to make it relevant; make sure to address points of concern (and even resistance), and make it matter of fact, and description not judgmental.

If we prepare well, then we can engage in therapy with the confidence that we want to have - and assured that our kids will have the confidence they crave.  After all, we all deserve to feel safe and secure.

 

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

VIDEO: Practical Tips Better Than Telling Kids to "Slow Down"

 
 

Check out our video here!

In summary:

TIP #1:  ONLY say things, you would WANT TO hear.

TIP #2:  ONLY suggest doing things you WOULD do yourself.

TIP #3:  model the behavior you wish to see from others

If we want to help people who stutter especially our kids, then the first thing we should do is say less and listen more - turning-up our active listening.  Active listening is all about being present and really listening to what they have to say more than how they say it

 
 

Give these tips a try.

They'll probably be more helpful than telling your kids to slow down.

 

How to help young people who stutter for big speeches: Push them or let them pass?

 
 

Watch our video!

As adults, public speaking is the #1 fear, worldwide! 
So, how about our young people!?

Rites of passage can create a lot of pressure for kids - and a lot of uncertainty for parents. Sweet-16’s, bar-mitzvahs and bat-mitzvahs, and graduation speeches are all instances in which a child may be expected to speak in front of a crowd.  So the question is: If my child stutters or has a communication problem should I make them give the speech, or should I give them a pass not to give the speech?

This is a really big dilemma and there's no right answer. There's no perfect way, there's no way to be a perfect parent, but there are hundreds of ways to be a good one.

I think the #1 rule of thumb is engaging your child, especially the adolescent and the teen and giving them a voice, giving them some self-determination to choose what they would like to do and deal with what their concerns are.  Too often, as adults, therapists and parents we think we know what young people feel and we forget to just ask them!

Too often, we think we know what young people feel. We forget to just ask them.

When we ask our kids what's on their mind and ask them what would help them - like: would they prefer it this way or that way - we can be so much more relaxed and so much more confident because the decisions we make are informed by what they're really feeling.

In some cases, the best thing we could do is give them the opportunity to choose to pass.  And in another scenario, the best thing we can do is give them the encouragement that they really want, so that they can succeed and shine and communicate effectively.  Perhaps there may even be a third way.

I'm thinking of one pre- bar-mitzvah boy in particular - he was a great kid with a strong stutter.  His parents asked me what they should do. Now, this boy was a talented videographer and instead of giving his speech live and instead of giving a speech at all, he opted to create a montage that included a pre-recorded speech with animation and videos sliding in and out with a musical soundtrack.

And you know what?  No one noticed, remembered or commented about the fact that he stuttered!

The feedback from guests was better than his parents or I could have hoped for!  We we blown away.

"That was by far the most unique, engaging, and creative bar-mitzvah speech I have ever heard." 
 
 

He communicated and presented well enough - and by most measures, even better than average!

 

When we confront the question of whether to push, whether to give a pass, or to find a third option (I am reminded by the lesson taught to me by my young bar-mitzvah friend) remember to engage our young people.

 

TIP #1 Ask them what they feel

TIP #2 Ask them what they're scared of

TIP #3 Ask them what they want to do about it

 

If we do, they'll help us make the best decisions we can!

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech