Stuttering

VIDEO: Parker Mantell’s viral commencement speech inspires millions

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
— Parker Mantell

College grad Parker Mantell delivered wisdom beyond his years and went viral as an eloquent and inspiring Indiana University commencement speaker (who stutters). Parker is a friend and an outstanding citizen - and he continues to pursue his path in the world of politics. I met Parker at the National Stuttering Association conference and the impact of perseverance and insight he left me with then, still remain today.

His spoken words ring true today, as they did in 2014 by his commencement! Watch the video below for the full clip:

“As a person who stutters, I can be no more certain that, in this room and in this hall, are thousands of people who far more talented at public speaking than I am.
At the same time, I can be no more certain that the message I have to share is one that must be heard.”
— Parker Mantell
 
 

PODCAST with Parker

Listen to Stuttertalk podcast with Parker Mantell.
For StutterTalk page click here.


TED TALK

“Boldly breaking through barriers not only opens doors for you, but it opens doors for others. Parker Mantell talks through how people in history, working through their challenges, empowered him to work through his stutter. He challenges the audience to do the same for the next generation.” (TedTalk, description)

 
Uri Schneider and Parker Mantell  National Stuttering Association Conference

Uri Schneider and Parker Mantell
National Stuttering Association Conference

 

VIDEO: Communication Courage and Artistic Expression (Rebecca Klein)

Although my words still get stuck, my heart no longer burns with the pain of feeling different. I am free.
— Rebecca Klein (spoken words)

She stutters when she speaks, but not when she sings. What is going on in that beautiful mind?Watch and see - and LISTEN - to Rebecca.

Rebecca is an incredibly dignified, courageous and articulate woman. We are sure you will agree after you hear what she has to say (and sing.) She uses her voice to express vivid images and powerful emotions - struggle and pain as well as friendship and acceptance. Likely, you will find yourself full of emotion as you watch and listen to Rebecca. We encourage you to focus on the message of her words as she demonstrates poise and poetry to express herself.
Then, wait for (or skip to 8:14) the moment Rebecca transitions from delivering spoken words as she stands behind a lectern, and switches to sit on a stool in center stage with a guitar and singing sweet song (written, composed and performed by the one and only, Rebecca Klein.)

I now realize I have choices when I open my mouth.
I can stutter freely.
I can use speech tools.
And I can choose not to talk.
I am no longer confined to the jail cell of an unspoken life.
— Rebecca Klein (spoken words)
 
 

Gala Performance at SAY: The Stuttering Association For The Young, April 16th, 2012. SAY (previously known as Our Time) is an artistic home for young people who stutter. For more information go to http://www.say.org/ (See lyrics below.)

 
My words were fisherman lost at sea. Navigating the vast ocean of my mind. Desperate to find a home.
— Rebecca Klein (spoken words)
 
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“Ticking Clock”

Step right up to the center of the stage

Tell me what’s your name

It looks like you’ve been battered, you’ve been bruised

By the way you talk

But don’t mind the ticking clock

Just one more abusive thought

To keep me up at night

FocusING on the details of your life

Tell me what’s it like

To be alone where no one knows the ache

Of a thousand locks

‘Cause sometimes this ticking clock

Like a time bomb, it just goes off

And I know you’ve got so much to say

So let them rain

‘Cause you fill me up with your voice

They’re all the same

But us, we’ve got a choice

To step right up to the center of a stage

And say our names

I know we’re all battered, we’re all bruised

By the way we talk

But don’t mind the ticking clock

Hung there, on the wall

‘Cause I know it can’t be stopped

But our words are much more than thoughts
— Rebecca Klein (Lyrics)

VIDEO: Best Ted Talks (Collection)

 
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Check-out our favorite TED Talks below.

TED Talks are incredible opportunities to hear from leading thinkers, as they present bit-size talks on world-class stage.

These talks make you think - and make you feel - differently.

Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be on the stage sharing YOUR story.

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!

 
 

'Security blankets' for children's speech therapy

"SECURITY BLANKETS":

Depending on the child's age, there are security blankets to consider - before and upon arriving at therapy. Here’s our list of things we think you should consider:

  • Bring a snack (ask therapist if this is "ok," ahead of time!)

  • Bring a familiar book

  • Bring a favorite toy or game

  • Tell the child "the therapist is NOT a doctor" (i.e. no shots)

  • Assure the child they will not be left alone in the room without parent (discuss ahead of time with therapist)

  • Ask the therapist what the child (and parent!) should expect during the appointment, and relay that to your child

  • Prepare some notes to inform the therapist of your child's interests, hobbies, accomplishments

  • Prepare the child to answer basic questions - and if the child may be reluctant, make a plan with the child how they would like to handle the situation

 

Remember: COMFORT IS KEY to a successful visit!

 

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)

 
 
 
 

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: Debunking 'one size fits all' therapy

Play our video above on this topic!

Here’s a recap!

For different people, different things are going to be helpful. At Schneider Speech, we don't use the term ‘stuttering modification’ or ‘fluency shaping’, instead it's always based on: what are the client’s needs, what are the client’s goals. We can figure out and custom tailor fit the right therapy plan for them once we identify the following: 

  • what their needs are

  • what their communication spirit is

  • what is the nature of their stuttering

  • what their goals are

  • where they would like to be more free to speak and speak fully and express themselves fully we can figure out and custom tailor fit the right therapy plan for them.

 
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Here's some general tips about stuttering therapy: 

  • if a technique doesn't work, it's not worth it

  • if a technique is not acceptable if it doesn't sound better than their other way of speaking it's not good enough

  • don' make it robotic - if it's so effortful they can't remember what it was they wanted to say because they're so focused on strategies, IT'S NOT A STRATEGY THAT WORKS.

  • a good therapist, is going to tune into that and make an adjustment, either to change something about the technique or change direction entirely.

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

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

3 Tips for Active Listening

3 Tips for Active Listening (between adults and kids)

1. Get down to the child's level, shoulder-to-shoulder. Sit down and meet them at eye level.

2. Ask yourself - 'How much am I talking here?’ Optimal balance is 50/50. This way we do half the talking and the child does half the talking

3. We need to start to think about talking with the language complexity that matches the child. Talk about trains, bugs, whatever they want! 

I would like to recommend the book, ‘How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk’, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. In this book, you'll see cartoon illustrations and chapters that really talk about a lot of what I’ve just talked about. A second book I would recommend, is the book called, ‘Brain Rules for Babies’, by John J. Medina. It's written in a way that's very easy to consume, but it's written by a scientist, someone I recommend and really respect. 

How to talk so kids will listen.jpg
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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’

 
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  • 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: Is Therapy Right for a Stuttering Three Year Old?

Click the video above to start watching

The Right Way Vs. the Wrong Way

  • There is no right way

  • There is a wrong way, which is to try to do a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

  • We may be the professionals and we may be the experts, but we're not the boss. A mother's intuition, a father's intuition is the best knowledge and the best guide in the process.

 
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remember what stuttering is

  • Stuttering is

    • a physical issue not an emotionally based issue

    • a neurophysiological issue, which involves the coordination of signals and neurons in the brain setting up the coordination of the speech mechanism

  • Stuttering is NOT

    • a learning disability

    • caused by anxiety

    • caused by parents

 
 

Good Communication Values

  • Plant communication values during moments of opportunity. You don't teach values, you plant them.

  • If we can listen to what the child has to say and practice active listening at the moment that the child is getting stuck, we can send a very powerful message to that young child. And that message is:

“What you have to say is worth listening to, no matter how it comes out. I'm listening to what you have to say more than how you say it”. 

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: Practical Tips to Keep in Mind for Pre-schoolers who Stutter

Click the video above to check it out!

some tips and strategies for working with your pre-schooler who stutters:

1. Understand the whole child

  • What are their language skills?

  • Are they having trouble with language?

  • Do they have trouble understanding language?

Maybe they understand language very well, but they have trouble expressing themselves. You want to understand everything about their language.

 
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2. Look at their temperament

  • Some kids are really rough and tough, ‘rock’em sock’em’. They just keep ticking, no matter what happens.

  • Some kids are really sensitive. They're sensitive themselves and they tend to be very sensitive towards others.

I'd work differently with a four-year-old with an easy going temperament versus one with a tougher temperament.

3. Provide CUSTOM therapy

  • Our goal, whatever approach we’re going to be employing is that we don't throw any approach or anything too rigid on anybody. We try to:

  • tailor fit the right therapy

  • borrow from the best research and popular approaches out there

But none of them are a cure-all for every childSo, it's a real decision-making process, engaging the parents, putting the parents in the driver's seat, and making sure that we're working with the child. 

4. Treat them like people

  • we need to make sure that the communication that we encourage between parents and children is naturalistic, not artificial and plastic.

In doing so, hopefully we can help them with the physical side of stuttering, and also help them with the communication values to keep talking and have the confidence they were born with!

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

Speech Therapy 2.0

Let’s get personal. Yesterday, I met with 4 clients on three continents. Technology is amazing!
But the most invigorating moments aren’t generated by tech.

The great moments are more often the subtle ones, face to face, one on one.
I want to invite you in, to appreciate the subtlety of my day yesterday.


I met an 18 year old young man who is struggling with his speech. As a result, he is starting to avoid conversations, acting shy and worrying about his future employability.

I asked him, what was most helpful in our meeting today?
He said: "I thought no-one would understand. I thought it was just me."
He appreciated the understanding I afforded to him. And in our meeting, I had the fortune to introduce him to a friend of mine, another young man who stutters. And that friend shared his own journey which resonated with this 18 year old!

I met another new client, a college-age young woman who is almost unintelligible. She lives the definition of resilience, but her deepest wish is the ability to speak for herself, and claim the independence she craves. And one of the keys to unlock her independence is her ability to speak for herself, and to be understood.


You see, what strikes me is the subtlety of these two meetings - two different people with different circumstances... they both come for "speech therapy." But what they really need isn't "speech therapy." "Put your tongue here..." "Slow down..." "Take a deep breath..."

What they want is:

[1] To be heard and to be understood - without judgement or whitewashing the real speech struggles. To be afforded the opportunity to own and wrote their own story. Often with the support of family, friends and sometimes... abcaring professional too.

[2] Real life change - the ability to communicate with greater success and more ease! In real life; not only in the speech therapy office. To be able to order food, enjoy friendships, meet new people, and pursue a career.


What these clients need (and deserve) is a guide. A speech-language pathologist, with a caring heart, problem solving mind, and championing spirit to unleash their fullest potential... and give them the greatest gift! An incubator for their improvement, growth and increasing independence!

This is what we do at Schneider Speech with each of our clients.
Younger kids, teens, adults and parents!

I can tell you, it's effortful and exhausting, even though it may appear fluid and informal.
That's because it's not your grandma's speech therapy.
It's speech-language therapy 2.0
Speech-language therapy with soul.
As we have learned from our teachers, clients mentors - first and foremost, Dr. Phil Schneider.

We feel privileged to do this every day with each of our clients.

If you know someone looking for this kind of help, let them know we're here.
Kew Gardens Hills, Queens,
Roslyn, Long Island
Cedarhurst, Long Island
Flatbush, Brooklyn
Upper West Side, Manhattan
and
Riverdale, Bronx