Stuttering therapy involves many things. Because it is a multifactorial disorder (meaning: there are multiple influencing factors which contribute to stuttering), it is important to address these different areas intentionally in therapy. I follow the research of Dr. Charles Healey, et al when I construct therapy programs for children who stutter. Dr. Healey and his colleagues have developed a model of stuttering that includes cognition (how much a person knows about stuttering), affective (how a person feels about their stuttering), linguistic (their speech/language skills), motor (the actual stuttering), and social (the social impact of stuttering). I won’t get in to the whole model in this post, but you can learn more about it here. Also, Dr. Healey has put together the CALMS assessment, which you can purchase here. I highly recommend it for evaluating school-age kids who stutter. (I have no financial connection with Dr. Healey – I just think his assessment is the best!).

But that is not the point of this post. In this post, I want to share how I use YouTube to target the areas of cognition, affective, and social. In therapy, students should be learning more about stuttering (how it works, what causes it, what DOESN’T cause it, strategies to speak more fluently). They should be provided a safe space to discuss their feelings about stuttering, connect with other kids who stutter, and be affirmed in themselves as communicators. And lastly, if there are any social impact issues (bullying, teasing, reluctance to participate in social events because of fear of stuttering), these issues also need to be addressed. These issues are in addition to practicing strategies to speak more fluently (working on the motor component).

One way I have found to work on these areas is using YouTube. There are many, many great clips available, if you have the time to sort through them. It takes some careful screening (especially of the comments on videos!), but the benefits are substantial. YouTube is free, which means that you can send video links to parents, and they can stay in the loop for what is being targeted at school. I am fortunate to have several students at each school who can meet in a group, but if you have only one student who stutters, using YouTube can help them see other students who stutter, and feel less isolated being a child who stutters.

For my older elementary students I start each session with a short video. I have an “agenda” for each video I share. We use the video to start discussion about different topics.

Here is a list of my favorite stuttering videos to use in therapy, and how I use each one.

Famous people who stutter: discussing famous people who stutter, their struggles, and their successes. Working on stuttering desensitization (the idea that stuttering is normal, and not something weird or worrisome). Also, identifying the kinds of stuttering in the speech of famous people.

Learning about stuttering: discussions about what causes stuttering, stuttering “cures”, identifying types of stuttering

Social impact of stuttering: talking about feelings, teasing, and how to talk about stuttering with your friends

I have a YouTube playlist of all of my favorites (there are more than 20 on there!) which you can find here. I’m always adding new clips as I find them, so feel free to add your own favorites in the comments!

UPDATE:

– Another favorite video is here: Stuttering: a short animation film
– A news clip about a man who stutters doing stand-up comedy!

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