Therapy then and now

Heather GrossmanHeather GrossmanHeather Grossman is the clinical director of the American Institute for Stuttering. She has worked for over 25 years as a speech pathologist for both children and adults. She recently gave a interview with Peter Reitzes of Stuttertalk and spoke about her career, working with people who stutter and the way speech therapy has changed over the decades.

 As Heather explains, back in the 1980s, mainstream stuttering treatment focused on fluency training – essentially, on “making the stutter away”. People were shown speech techniques that counteracted stuttering and encouraged to practice them. The regimen was the same for children and adults.

But the way she was trained then is not her approach now. Many therapists, in their dealings with patients, saw some shortcomings in the fluency-focussed method. It could create an obsession with trying not to stutter that was, in the end, detrimental. In her treatment, Heather introduces ways to reduce fear and tension, and encourages an attitude of acceptance, helping patients “to see it can be okay to stutter.” This can make the fluency training aspect of therapy more beneficial.

You can listen to the entire Stuttertalk interview here.

Actor Jacquelyn Revere, an actor in New York City and also an advocate for people who stutter, talks to Heather about stuttering in this informative video.