A blog by Voon Pang
Dec. 26, 2014

As we approach the end of 2014, I thought I’d share with you the best bits of what I’ve learnt from the people I have worked with and the books I have read over the year. 

Top 5 Quotes from Children and Adults Who Stutter

I was fortunate enough to work with amazing families this year. Here are some words of advice from the ‘experts’ (children and people who stutter!).

1)    “Stuttering makes you stronger. It gives you tenacity.” – An adult who stutters reflecting on how stuttering has been a positive influence on his life.

2)    “Stuttering is not so much of a big deal if you can talk openly about it.” – A teenager coming to the realisation that openness about stuttering frees you from trying to hide all the time.

3)    “I’ve learnt that it’s OK to have a stammer and that I’m not alone in the world.” – A 10 year old reflecting on his experience from one of the groups I ran.

4)    “It’s really huge that you have confidence in my son. That stuttering is not a negative thing. It’s just part of who they are and that that’s great.” – A parent of a 7 year old who stutters, reflecting on her group therapy experience.

5)    “You can still communicate even if you stutter.” – A teenager coming to terms with the idea that you don’t have to be 100% fluent to be a good communicator.

I think I will continue this tradition from here on in and make a note of the wise things people say in our therapy sessions. The only thing I’ll say is that I wish I had a video or audio recorder turned on at all times as it is impossible to note down everything.

Top 5 Books I’ve read

A lot of my friends tease me about the books I read. Most people pick up the next fictional best seller to get away from work. For me, I like to read new (and old) books about stuttering, as there is so much to learn. I can tell when I like a book if a) there are multiple tabs/page markers and b) I find myself quoting the author repeatedly when talking to my colleagues. There are a couple in this list that are fictional and appropriate for parents to share with children who stutter.

1)    A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz. An inspiring autobiographical story with beautiful illustrations to captivate young readers. If you haven’t heard of Alan Rabinowitz then it is worth checking this book out! The story is a great addition to any library and will help children empathise with their peers who stutter.

2)    Steggie’s Stammer by Jack Hughes. A simple story about a dinosaur who has a stutter. Whilst exploring a deep, dark and scary forest with her friends, she has to speak up and rescue them. A wonderful story for younger children as it teaches them the power of listening and speaking up even though they sometimes might stutter.

3)    Understanding Stammering or Stuttering: A Guide for Parents, Teachers and Other Professionals by Elaine Kelman and Alison Whyte. I find myself referring back to this book time and time again when parents ask for a book, which provides comprehensive information in an easy-to-read format.

4)    Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice by Katherine Preston. A great read for older teens, adults and parents of people who stutter. Katherine’s ability to share her story and intertwine the stories of others provides food for thought on how stuttering has the ability to help you understand yourself and embrace the voice you were given.

5)    Clinical Decision Making in Fluency Disorders (3rd ed.) by Walter Manning.  A fantastic text for Speech Language Pathologists who want to gain a deeper understanding of stuttering. Dr Manning’s book does what it says by helping the clinician understand what to consider when making clinical decisions in assessment and treatment of stuttering.

I hope you find my reflection of 2014 useful and I look forward to sharing more with you next year. Until then, “Happy holidays”!