Dori –
Just wanted to thank you for undertaking the project of writing a book and blog re: a parents perspective in educating themselves for the purpose of choosing a therapy approach for a child who stutters. It is – and will be – a tremendous resource for parents when choosing a therapist and therapy approach for the youngster who stutters. I believe that a child’s best hope is their parents, and a parent’s best hope is a good professional. Your sharing of the journey your family has taken offers deep and universal insight into the therapy decision-making process.

I can’t help but think how a book and blog such as yours would have been of invaluable help to my parents as they searched for speech therapy help for me 54 years ago. It’s sometimes painful to look back on my stuttering – and all its therapies – and the negative toll it took – not only on me, but on my mom, dad, brothers and sisters as well. Parents need to be educated and motivated in being actively involved in the decision making processes of therapy.

As I read your blog and some of the responses individuals have made, I am moved to share the following by the late Dr. William Perkins published in NSA’s “Letting Go” publication in the late 1990’s. Dr. William Perkins, a recipient of the prestigious Honors of the American Speech & Hearing Association and receiver of the Distinguished Emeritus Award at USC for his 50 years of stuttering research, published these comments after his retirement:

“I assumed…that if we could keep our people fluent long enough, eventually their fluency skills would become habitual. Not once did that ever happen.”

“Failure to maintain fluency was the clearest evidence of dissatisfaction as speakers gave up hope that this therapy would ever lead to natural speech free of stuttering.”

“The blame for failed therapy lay in the professional’s failure to recognize that fluency is not the proper objective of therapy.”

“The speaker is helpless to prevent involuntary blockage.”

“Expecting to speak naturally with voluntarily controlled fluency is like pasting feathers to your arms and expecting to fly.”

“My colleagues and I have been to blame for the fluency failures.”

“Voluntarily controlled fluency is the wrong scientific objective, to say noting of the wrong treatment objective.”

“The very existence of self-help groups speaks to the failure of professional therapy to address the needs of those who stutter which is not about making speech acceptable to the listener. It’s about coping with the feelings that create stuttering and understanding how they offer a path to full recovery.”

“If science requires objectifying stutterers to the extent of divesting them of their subjective experience because it cannot be measured traditionally by what is readily observed,” he said, “then science is the loser.”

Perkins was a GIANT in the field of both research and therapy for stuttering. His insights seem to fall on deaf ears in the professional ranks; but they could and should influence parents of children who stutter in deciding which path to take.” Look forward to your book coming out! Keep sharing with parents on the VOICEUNEARTHED blog!!!

One Who Stutters Still