SLP Resources – Activities to Support Fluency

Hero blog activities to Support Fluency
Cross Country Education
April 25, 2022 04:37 AM (GMT-04:00)
Educator Resources

How SLPs Can Support Students Who Stutter

During a recent Cross Country Education webinar, Barbara Gutierrez, EdD, CCC-SLP, shared strategies and activities SLPs can use to help students strengthen fluency. Dr. Gutierrez also outlined techniques to help students at the elementary, middle and high school levels and traits SLPs can cultivate to be more successful. Here are some highlights.

Fluency vs. Disfluency

Fluency is the effortless flow of speech. On the other hand, disfluency involves breaks in the flow of speech. All speakers (individuals who stutter and typical speakers) can have disfluencies, particularly if they are nervous, stressed or tired. However, those who stutter may experience more disfluencies or different types of disfluencies.

About Stuttering

Stuttering can involve:

  • Repetition of sounds, syllables or single-syllable words
  • Prolongation of sounds or words
  • Trouble beginning words or sentences
  • Pauses or silences within words
  • Blocks, which involve a stoppage of airflow or voicing

Disfluency Therapy for Elementary Students

If you are working to strengthen fluency with elementary school students, you can:

  • Practice inhalation and exhalation while teaching them about the respiratory system
  • Practice smooth, prolonged speech while playing games like Go Fish
  • Teach about the types of stuttering and practice different types of stutters, so students become desensitized to them
  • Teach stuttering modification techniques students can use when they anticipate a stutter, are in the middle of a stutter or have stuttered and can't move on

Disfluency Therapy for Middle and High School Students

If you are working with elementary school clients, you can:

  • Teach speech modification and fluency shaping – Have students try to change the timing and tension of speech production and alter the timing of pausing between syllables and words.
  • Teach stuttering modification strategies – Have students try to reduce the physical tension or struggle. Have them identify where in the speech mechanism the physical tension is and release it.
  • Teach strategies for reducing negative reactions – Work on desensitization, cognitive restructuring and self-disclosure.

Group Activities to Help Students Who Stutter

One way to build confidence and fluency is to organize a group for students who stutter. In the group, you can have students:

  • Introduce themselves
  • Introduce others
  • Sing
  • Stretch
  • Play games
  • Read books about stuttering
  • Discuss stuttering
  • Invite guest speakers
  • Create personal contracts
  • Practice public speaking
  • Make videos
  • Play with toys, bubbles or puppets

SLP Traits to Help Students Impacted by Stuttering

Children and teens who stutter may feel anxious, frustrated or insecure. To put students at ease, SLPs can strengthen the following attributes within themselves:

  • Empathy – How well are you able to understand your client's feelings, thoughts, and behaviors?
  • Warmth – Do your tone, facial expressions and body language convey unconditional acceptance?
  • Genuineness – Do your interactions help forge trusting client-clinician relationships?

School SLP Resources

Check out our other resources to help SLPs with IEP meetings, SLPA supervision, sensory processing disorder, echolalia and more while you’re here!

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