Are you a speech-language pathologist wanting to prioritize stuttering as an area of professional growth post graduate school?The Ally of Stuttering™ Seal is the answer for you! It is an accessible training path for the generalist SLP to learn more about stuttering and people who stutter.
My son has received speech therapy through the school district and private therapy for stuttering. After several years of speech therapy in his elementary school, we sought out private therapy for various reasons, one of which was the lack of knowledge and understanding of stuttering. My son was still frustrated with his stuttering.
The private therapist we found had quite a bit more training and knowledge in the area of stuttering, and receiving this therapy has increased my son’s confidence level in himself, as well as how he communicates at school. He now reaches out to teachers, informs them of his stutter, educates them on stuttering, and what is helpful and not helpful when he stutters. He is more at ease with presentations and has learned how to advocate for himself. He learned that stuttering is okay and that there is nothing wrong with him. Our well-trained therapist also connected us to resources available not only in our area but also nationwide.
- SLP must hold Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) and state licensure (if state licensure required in SLP’s state of residence).
- Obtain 10 continuing education or professional development hours in the area of fluency disorders from current, research-based sources.
- Obtain experiential knowledge and connection with people who stutter by attending a reputable conference, convention, or camp for people who stutter, or participate in regional/local self-help groups or an organized event in the stuttering community.
- After meeting initial requirements and receiving Ally of Stuttering™ seal, the Ally of Stuttering™ SLP must obtain 5 continuing education or professional development hours yearly to maintain designation.
- The Ally of Stuttering™ seal carries no cost. It is not a certification but rather a designation that allows the generalist SLP to demonstrate increased interest and training in the area of fluency disorders.
- The Ally of Stuttering™ seal is not an endorsement of the SLP’s competency or quality of services provided. It signifies that the SLP has received current and continued training post graduate school.
Scope of Ally of Stuttering™ Seal
Most speech-language pathologists (SLPs) begin their careers as generalists, and their knowledge base and experience treating fluency disorders are often very limited. In fact, even after many years of experience, studies show that stuttering is a low preference disorder among SLPs and that a vast number of SLPs feel inadequate and uncomfortable treating stuttering (Santus, Tellis, & Kong, 2019; Tellis, Bressler, & Emerick, 2008; Yaruss, Coleman, & Quesal, 2012; Yaruss et al., 2017). Additionally, based on our professional experiences and family accounts of previous therapy, we see that many SLPs are treating stuttering with limited training and without confidence.
The Ally of Stuttering™ seal is a viable solution to this very real gap in practice due to inadequate training and lack of confidence. The seal is an accessible training path for the generalist SLP to learn more about stuttering, people who stutter, and research-based therapy approaches. It recognizes that the SLP holding the seal has a special interest in stuttering and has received intentional training beyond graduate school. The seal also recognizes that the Ally of Stuttering™ SLP is committed to ongoing training and professional development in the area of fluency disorders at regular intervals.
It is important to note that the seal does not endorse or guarantee the quality of services provided by that SLP. It is up to the individual or family seeking treatment to determine if the SLP is a good fit. Since many families go in blind when working with an SLP, we believe there’s value in families knowing if their SLP has more training in the area of fluency disorders than the generalist SLP.
In summary, what does the Ally of Stuttering™ designation mean?
The Ally of Stuttering™ designation IS:
- An acknowledgment of active and intentional training obtained by the generalist SLP in the area of stuttering.
- An acknowledgment of a commitment to continued training in the area of stuttering.
- An acknowledgment of involvement within the stuttering community via conference(s) and/or camp(s) and/or support group(s) for people who stutter.
The Ally of Stuttering™ designation IS NOT:
- A replacement for obtaining specialty certification and does not assure the specialist designation (BCS-F).
- An endorsement of quality of services provided.
- A designation of effective clinical practice.
Below are some intervention resources you might appreciate:
Clinical tool for use with Paperboy by Vince Vawter (posted with permission). See what Vince Vawter had to say about this tool: https://www.stutteringhelp.org/content/tool-use-clients-reading-paperboy.
Clinical tool for use with Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice by Katherine Preston (posted with permission). Katherine's kind words in response to this tool: "To write a book is one thing, but to delve into it and make it into a tool for conversation and growth is something beautiful."