Speech Therapy

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!

 
 

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

A Stuttering Transformation - Teen Tells Her Own Story

My old self:

I am a very quiet girl.  Usually I prefer to sit on the side and not draw too much attention.  Speaking is my fear.  I will do anything to avoid it; whether it's running out of the room or just acting as if I don't know the answer to the question.  Most of my friends know me as the girl who doesn't speak in class.  Only my close friends have really heard me talk. 

I don't like that people see me this way, but I guess it's better than the alternative - stuttering

Ever since I began to speak I've had a stutter. My earliest memory of stuttering is in the 3rd grade, that's when I asked my parents to go to a speech therapist for the first time. I always thought of my stutter as something to be embarrassed of, to be ashamed of.  I thought of it as a disability.  Instead of facing my stutter and making the best of it, I tried to hide it and run away from it.

 
 

 

My new self:

I may not be the loudest or most talkative girl in the world, but I'm no longer afraid to speak.

It's not that the stutter disappeared, I just think of it in a completely different way.  I learned to see my stutter as a part of me, and to embrace it.  God only challenges us with challenges we are able to face, and if God gave me a stutter then I must be able to face it.

I realized that my stutter makes me unique, it makes me a more patient person and it teaches me the value of words. Over the past few years I've gone through major changes in my life and now I'm happy to say that: I have spoken in front of my class; I took an oral exam and scored very well on it; I make phone calls whenever I want to; and I even got a job which requires speaking to customers and co-workers all the time.

 

My journey to my new self:

As I mentioned, over the past few years I've gone through big changes that completely turned my life around in such a positive way.  This process started when I first met Uri from Schneider Speech in 9th grade.  I came to Uri as my old self and left just I started to reach my new self.

On my way towards my new self, I endured several setbacks alongside many victories.
I needed to be patient with myself;
and I also needed my speech therapist to be patient with me as well. 
— Devora

Pushing me too far, too soon, was a terrible mistake. 
Whether it was my speech therapist, my friends, my family or my teachers. Over the years I've had teachers who tried to force me to speak in class and on the other hand teachers who respected my request not to be called on.  I definitely had a much better relationship with the teachers who respected my silence than with the teachers who did not.  The teachers who gave me my space were in fact the ones who ended up hearing me speak more in class voluntarily.

Surprisingly, the teachers who gave me my space, were the ones who ended up hearing me speak more in class.

Another thing that was not helpful during those years was my own constant desire to cure my stutter.  Because I was so focused on getting rid of the stutter, I didn't give myself the opportunity to learn to accept it and live happily with it.  In the back of my mind I knew that I was probably going to have a stutter for the rest of my life but I wasn't willing to give up. The more I tried to get rid of the stutter the more upsetting it was every time I wasn't able to speak fluently.  

I felt like a failure. But once I accepted myself with the stutter and decided I won't let it get in my way, the stutter actually got significantly better and bothered me a lot less.

As a teenager going to speech therapy, patience was the key to my transformation. I needed to be patient with myself, and I needed my speech therapist to be patient with me as well.  Every big change I went through was made up of a lot of small changes that could not all happen at once.

When I first met Uri I remember telling him "I will never call to order pizza" and "I will never speak in front of my class."  Uri assured me, over and over again, that one day, I could do all those things.  Even though I didn't believe him, something inside me wanted to prove him right and prove me wrong.

My therapist's belief in me was more than I had in myself.  I think that belief was a big part of my change.

My last meeting with Uri was at the end of 10th grade. I didn't think it would be my last meeting, I was sure I would be back again when things got hard. But once I stopped going to speech therapy I started to really think about everything that happened during our meetings.

The more time passed the more I saw myself change. I became less afraid of stuttering and slowly started to do the things I told Uri I would never do. The more time passed the more I saw myself change. I became less afraid of stuttering and slowly started to do the things I told Uri I would never do.

I was a much stronger person and when things got a little hard I didn't even feel the need to go back to speech therapy, because I was able to handle it myself.

It turns out I proved myself wrong.  He was right.  I could and would do so many of the things I said "I never could..."  And I'm so happy I did.

 

Devora Levi is 18 years old.  She lives in Israel and will be starting her national service this coming year.

 

 

IMAGES: National Stuttering Association Convention 2018 @Chicago

An incredible conference and gorgeous city! 

We learned a lot more about ACT with our friend Katie Gore and her team, and lots of other friends.  Definitely a HIGHLIGHT running 10k (me) and rollerblading (dad/Phil) on the boardwalk of Lake Michigan!

 
Phil Uri Chicago NSA 2018.jpg
 
 

We enjoyed seeing so many friends - and made new ones. 

But MOST OF ALL, it is incredible to see the transformative experience for our clients who came, and so many families, kids, teens and adults.  The conference is an oasis, a haven, a community of listening, love and acceptance.  

To be honest, we also gain so much from the experience.  We bask in the environment of people connecting and "transcending" differences that don't make a difference.  And we are encouraged to hear the stories of triumph, from people we know.  And probably the most valuable part is LEARNING from other professionals and from people who stutter themselves.

Nothing in any textbook or any classroom can compare to the lessons learned by spending time with people who live with stuttering.  Really LIVE!

Next year - we hope to see you there!  @NSA Convention in Ft Lauderdale, FL

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