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May 29, 2013

Speech clinicians get tools to help children who stutter deal with bullying

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Each year speech-language pathologists provide strategies to help thousands of children manage their stuttering, but these clinicians may not be trained to help deal with the bullying these children often face, says a Purdue University expert.

"Stuttering therapy should be about more than speech motor patterns because there are often many negative attitudes and feelings, especially for children, that need to be addressed," said William Murphy, clinical professor emeritus in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and a speech-language pathologist who is a co-author of the recently published workbook "Minimizing Bullying for Children Who Stutter: A Practical Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists."

"Bullying often comes up, and clinicians don't always have the experience to deal with this issue, so we hope this series helps to better prepare professionals," Murphy said. "The book, which we believe is the first of its kind, provides tips, worksheets and guidelines on how to help children think differently about stuttering and empower them. Many of the activities are based on the idea that children who stutter are the experts on stuttering, and some ideas include having the children teach their parents or teachers how to stutter or make a home movie about stuttering."

Murphy developed the book and its companion workbooks with Robert W. Quesal, a speech-language pathologist and professor from Western Illinois University; Nina A. Reeves, a speech-language pathologist from Dallas; and J. Scott Yaruss, a speech-language pathologist and associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh. The book is $26, and the three companion workbooks for parents, teachers and children are $8 each. The books are published by Stuttering Therapy Resources Inc. and available at http://www.stutteringtherapyresources.com/

Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to the National Stuttering Association. This new series is based on the 2004 "Bullying and Teasing: Helping Children Who Stutter."

Stuttering can be seen as involuntary hesitations, sound prolongations or repetition of syllables in speech. About 1 percent of the world's adult population stutters, which can affect social interactions, educational performance and job opportunities. 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Source: William Murphy, wpmurphy@purdue.edu 

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