I am a speech-language pathologist in private practice. One of my clients is a 24 year old male with severe stuttering. He also has a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy. His most noticeable dysfluent behavior is the inability to initiate speech due to blocks at the vocal fold level. Do you think any of the Talk Tools would help? Thank you!
According ASHA, most treatment methods for stuttering are centered around behavior; however there are treatment protocols that focus on breathing. This is true of Dr. Martin Schwartz who wrote Stutter No More in 1991 about the “Passive Airflow Technique”. For this method stutterer is taught to 1. Release air 2. Slow down the first syllable and 3. Intent to rest between verbalizations.
Since the goal of Oral Placement Therapy is to provide tactile cues for speech sound production, we would consider OPT tasks that specifically target phonatory control and diaphragmatic breathing if the client was not using proper airflow to support speech. Phonatory tasks such as the horn kit, spirometer or bubble tube could be tools that would assist improved speech breathing; however we would also be certain that we were using more specific evidenced based therapy techniques for stuttering. These methods alone would not directly facilitate fluent speech but rather assist you in the pre-requisite skills needed to engage in airflow methods.
We would try blowing with horns or bubbles or encouraging airflow of any kind on his hand. Once we felt like he was able to coordinate his breathing and blowing we would then move to humming or adding the “m” sound. We would work on this very gradually.
Please keep us posted on how it goes and let us know if you have any other questions.