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The following letter was sent to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's ASHA Leader by Stuttering Foundation President Jane Fraser.
 
Dear Editor,
 
We at the Stuttering Foundation were shocked and saddened by the May 18th article, "Fluency Board Streamlines Recognition Process" by James McClure and Chamonix Olsen.
 
alt textNo explanation was given for the elimination of the one objective and verifiable part of the recognition process – the national written examination. Much hard work and many dollars went into making the exam a truly objective one.
 
Also, a clinician with only 2 years of experience may have gained little knowledge about treating communication disorders in general, let alone qualifies as a specialist in stuttering!
 
As for the comment, “After you earn your CCCs, specialty recognition may be the only opportunity you have to be mentored and guided as a clinician,” a person committed to becoming a competent clinician identifies and seeks out mentors throughout his or her entire career.
 
We hope ASHA will give serious consideration to strengthening requirements in fluency training across the board, including those to qualify for the Certificate of Clinical Competence so that children and adults who stutter will receive the help they need.
 
As ASHA’s early president Robert W. West, wrote “Life without speech is empty; and life devoid of communication is scarcely better than death. Therefore, the duty we owe is sacred; and our calling is gravely important.”
 
~ Jane Fraser, President
 
 
The comments listed here cause grave concern about the current requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the accrediting organization for the United States. It is now possible to obtain the CCC without ever having had a class on stuttering. This leaves young therapists with inadequate training and forces parents and children to seek help elsewhere.
 
My son is 17 and he has taken speech therapy at school most of his life. I can’t tell that it has done much good. He is difficult to understand in person but on the phone it is horrible.
 
My son is 12-years old and was in speech therapy in our local school district through 4th grade.  I am not confident that my local school district has/can help him in the limited times that they have previously scheduled for therapy in the past. I am seeking ways to help him as I am concerned that this will become more of an issue for him as he transitions into adulthood.
 
I am the mother of an 11-year old boy who has issues with stammering, especially with words that begin with “w” and was wondering what treatments are available for him. He receives speech therapy through the school system. However, I have not seen any improvement in his speech.
 
I am a parent that has a child who has  stuttering.  He was released from speech therapy because he did not show an educational need, but continues to stutter.  Need information on how to continue to work with child at home. He has no insurance, so private therapy is not an option.
 
I have a 13 year old daughter with a stuttering problem for many years. She has been in speech therapy in school but not helping.
 
I have a 10-year old son who stutters. He is currently getting one day a week of therapy from his school in a group setting and nothing during the summer. I have noticed in the last couple of months it is getting a little worse. I would like to know if there is something I can do for him during the summer.
 
I am a 23-year-old male who has attended years of speech classes throughout my life. All of my speech classes have been through school provided services. Now that I'm out in the real world I find it difficult to obtain employment. I'm seeking a way to limit or control my stuttering.
 
My son is 11 years old and has been stuttering since he was four. He attends speech at school, but I would like more help.
 
My 13 year-old son has stuttered since 2nd grade.  He has seen speech therapists at school since 2nd grade, but has limited success.
 
My son actually seems to be getting worse as he gets older. He is 9. He did go to speech therapy in school, but I don’t think it helped at all.
 

“...the poor quality of our academic preparation and services for people who stutter has been well documented.

 
The ever-widening scope of practice in our field ... has resulted in a diminished academic and clinical preparation of students in areas such as fluency disorders and it is clear that this trend is likely to continue. The 1993 ASHA standards had a serious, negative impact on the quality of fluency disorders coursework and practicum, and the 2005 standards have continued this erosion ... we have an ethical obligation to inform the public that consumers will need to search diligently to find a speech-language pathologist who is well-qualified to assist those who stutter.”
 
This excerpt is from Manning, W. H. (2010). Evidence of clinically significant change: The therapeutic alliance and the possibilities of outcomes informed care. In Seminars in Speech and Language. S. Yaruss, guest Ed. Vol. 31, New York, NY: Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.
 
-From the Fall 2010 Newsletter
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