I swear I put more thought into choosing my coffee than I did into choosing speech therapy for our son who stuttered over 20 years ago. (In my defense, those were pre-Internet days.) There continues to be is a seductive simplicity of either/or thinking when treating children who stutter:
- Either my child is stuttering or they’re not.
- Either I put my child in speech therapy or I’m doing nothing.
- Either I get my child into early intervention or I’ve missed a window of opportunity for fixing.
- Either my child stops stuttering in early childhood or they will stutter for their entire life.
- Either I focus on fixing my child’s speech or I focus on acceptance.
- I’m either pro-therapy or anti-therapy.
It’s time to get away from these false dichotomies that suggest a seductive certainty and simplicity that’s putting our children at risk. H.L. Mencken hits the nail on the head when he states, “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong”
Voice Unearthed is sometimes accused of being anti-therapy. We are not. Our mission is to help parents to be discerning consumers when making intervention choices for their children. Think of it this way:
- If you prefer fresh-ground organic coffee beans over Folgers Classic Roast Ground, does that make you anti-coffee?
- If you prefer Dove Dark Chocolate over Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, does that make you anti-chocolate?
No. It means you are an informed and discerning consumer. The consequences of a bad cup of coffee pale in comparison to the consequences of speech therapy that results in avoidance behaviors and increased silence. Reversing the experience of choosing a therapy that comes with risks of harm is way way way harder than the switch to fresh ground beans.
Do your homework. Don’t be seduced by simplistic answers to a complex problem that is still surrounded by mystery and disagreement. Stuttering therapy continues to be, as Dr. Barry Guitar states,
“an obscure blend of techniques, applied to a baffling problem, with frequent failure. Only specialists should be allowed to do this.”
Keep them talking and keep talking fun!