Our daughter started stuttering suddenly and dramatically at the age of two and a half. We attended speech therapy with her from the age of three, doing video play sessions, attending group sessions with other parents, modifying our own speech and trying generally to reduce demands on her.
Her stuttering virtually disappeared for about six months but then it returned just as mysteriously as it had gone, and so at the age of seven she was still stuttering.
The therapists were kind and very supportive but the strong emphasis on environmental factors and the parent/child interaction induced feelings of guilt and the sense that that we were in some way to blame. We were also frustrated because while we could change our own behaviour we could not change the world in which we lived or all the other people we came into contact with.
It was also hard at times to have a relaxed conversation with her as every time she stuttered it induced feelings of guilt, powerlessness and sometimes anger at the injustice of it all- we are two loving parents and she was brought up in a very child-centred environment and yet she still stuttered.
When we read about the Lidcombe programme we were both excited and scared. The concept that stuttering was akin to a motor control problem and that one could, with help, control it seemed at odds with what we had done previously. We were very concerned that by drawing attention to it and expecting her to control it we could end up destroying her confidence and worsening her stuttering.
We decided we had to try it and so we undertook the 500 mile round trip on a fortnightly basis.
In actual fact she really enjoyed the therapy sessions with all the individual attention, games, praise and rewards, and we found out very quickly that she could control her stuttering as she moved rapidly to stutter-free speech in the sessions and then later on in every day situations. Her confidence increased and she now sounds much more in control when she is talking. Her stuttering has not just disappeared- she seems to be actively doing something about it.
We feel that it has been a really rewarding exercise as we can now relax more when she talks, and instead of experiencing feelings of guilt and inadequacy, we feel empowered as parents, because in conjunction with our excellent therapist we have helped her with her problem.