This is a tough question to answer. In general, treatment that focuses on fluency to the exclusion of more balanced goals for improving communication and reducing the burden of stuttering on the child’s life are, put simply, inappropriate for children who stutter. There are different times in therapy where treatment might address speech production goals to a greater or lesser extent, but any time treatment is out-of-balance, then this can cause problems for the child. Clinicians and parents should be very aware of what the child’s overall goals are for treatment, and if those goals are too narrowly focused in any one area, then it would be sensible to take a step back and ensure that the goals are sufficiently broad-based that they address the child’s entire experience of stuttering, particularly including the adverse impact of the speech disruption on the child’s life.

Submitted by Dr. Scott Yaruss, CCC-SLP