Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The emperor's dsyfluent speech

I have done many therapies, and witnessed many doing therapies. I always find it hard to say whether someone has made some progress or not. Sure, you can see increased fluency for many, but we all know that such an effect is often short-lived. Often, I also hear people report that they "are making progress", but I do not see the progress at all, certainly not on the fluency level. What should I do? Say that I dont see progress? Especially in group sessions where everyone has to report their previous week, people feel the pressure to say positive things, and you can sense that everyone is just "admiring the emperor's speech" even though "he has not fluent speech to show for. (I am refering to the story where thiefs sold the emperor invisible clothes, he walks around "with" them, everyone admires his "clothes", and then a little boy shouts "but he is naked".
On the other hand, gauging progress within myself is difficult. I can get very fluent, but my speech varies a lot from time to time. Or, often people tell me you are much more fluent now, and I think I am not very fluent. And other times, it is the opposite. Well, actually they only tell me when I am more fluent than average, but not when I am less fluent than average.


Anonymous said...

As a matter of fact, mostly, therapists know very little about what they are doing, raise false expectations, make promises they can't fulfill and blame their failures on their clients.

Anonymous said...

Sincerely, I think all the therapies devoted to stuttering very controversial. Up to today, the only lasting effect what I obtained with them was have been more poor. The complicity between therapist and patient very often prevents from saying the truth.

Anonymous said...


Excellent post. Another issue that relates to this is the use of testimonials in marketing speech therapies. Of course a PWS will write a glowing testimonial early in therapy or immediately following a workshop for the reasons you describe. The problem is that these testimonials mean nothing in terms of long term (or even short term) success. It is unfortunate that some therapies/therapists use these testimonials as the cornerstone of their marketing plan.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you.I have attended 3-4 therapies but can safely say that I haven't benefited from them.
I wonder why more research is not focused on stuttering therapy/remedy? May be it's because only 1% of population stutters.

Unknown said...

Great post. I never trust my "fluent" moments and never see them as progress...I only view them as arbitrary moments of fluency or simply the upward scale of the fluent/disfluent cycle.

It's like having stomach flu. You like the time between when nausea goes away...but you know it's coming back. And soon.