The chapter begins with the introduction of Anne; a speech therapist who leads speech therapy courses using the Starfish program. Katherine is desperate to find fluency again after a difficult phone call at work that ends with her crying in the bathroom. Anne is described as a speech therapist that is different from all of the rest. Katherine asks to return to the course as a “refresher” in hopes of becoming more fluent. At the beginning of the course Katherine remembers that all of the “first timers” are video recorded while speaking to document their “before” strategy. I found it interesting how Katherine describes how much she and the other clients dread being recorded. I know that I record some of my students and play it back for them, especially my articulation clients who are having trouble carrying over their sounds to conversational speech. I wonder now if they dread hearing their voices and mistakes as much as Katherine describes. Another piece from this chapter that stuck out to me is how Anne describes stuttering: “You don’t have a disease. You have a habit, and we can change habits.” What did you all think about this statement? It really made me think, and I’m not sure I agree with it. To me, a habit implies something that can be changed whenever the person puts forth enough effort. I think of habits like picking your nails or clearing your throat before you talk. Something if you try hard enough, you can never do it again. Stuttering isn’t like that. Even people who use perfect strategies all of the time will have moments of dysfluency in their life. I almost believe the strategies used to create more fluent speech would be better described as a habit. What do you all think?
When Katherine exits the course she describes herself as “cockily fluent.” We have seen this before with Katherine, which almost makes it even harder to read. I am cheering for her and hoping she is able to remain fluent but also waiting to see if her old speech comes back.
I love the quote from Dr. Yaruss that “change only happens when fear of staying the same is greater than pain of staying the same.” I love this quote for so many reasons. First, as a speech therapist I have found myself sometimes wanting success for students more than they want it for themselves. That is always a difficult situation because if they aren’t willing to change- therapy is no longer useful. I also feel like this quote applies to everyday situations as well such as living a healthy lifestyle, creating good habits, etc.
The end of the chapter concludes with Katherine deciding what she wants to do with her life, and that is write a book about stuttering. Hence, the book we are reading. J She is prepared to leave everything she knows to move to America to research about stuttering and write a book in hopes to find the cause of stuttering and hopefully a cure. At this point of the book I am so excited for her and have so much admiration. I could never imagine dropping everything in my life and moving to a different country. How brave of her! I am excited to see what she learns.
Sarah Crady, SLP at Kenwood Elementary