- A hypothetical scenario involving a child, Conor and his parents who go to see SLT, Róisín.
- While hypothetical, it is based on a range of real-life experiences of the author.
- It highlights the parents’ desire that part of SLT professional identity be “able to cure”.
- SLT resistance of that identity and choice to be an ally to Conor.
- The process of considering available evidence and seeking support from those with more experience in order to negotiate an identity regarding the type of alliance she will offer.
- Resistance of normalising discourse regarding fluency.
Brian and Sandra – parents of Conor aged 3.4
- Conor – advanced language development, no concerns re speech errors.
- One day, out of the blue, Conor begins to repeat words and part-words.
- Sandra is surprised, then worried and… she reacts.
- Brian remembers his mother saying that one of his brothers had difficulty with speech but grew out of it.
- Conor continues to repeat, begins to prolong sounds and sometimes no sound comes out when he tries to say a word.
- Sandra and Brian decide it's time to go to a speech and language therapist and they meet Róisín.
- Their story about Conor – about their role - about Róisín and her role – their expectations.
- Róisín is 25 – has been working in same job since 21 – first class honours – manager affirms her excellence - more complex cases – wider range.
- Anne, specialist in stuttering/fluency disorders is on maternity leave so case is assigned to Róisín.
- Róisín consults the evidence – Fluency shaping approach with lots of evidence.
- Has notes from in-service Anne gave – decides to go with indirect approach and start with education – but assessment first including taking case history.
- And the plot thickens – Sandra ..(and Brian) want stuttering gone asap - yes parent sessions are fine – but when is she going to see Conor and fix his speech?
- Conor loves fun – he likes lots of things, running, painting, lego, and he has lots to say.
- He has noticed that some words seem to have a mind of their own recently and it’s like they get stuck.
- Mom and Dad have said nothing - he has noticed they go very quiet and just look at him.
- One day last week, Granny Annie was minding him in the car and he was talking to her when a word was getting him stuck.
- She told him to “slow down, take a deep breath and start again”.
- He could not see her face, but she sounded a bit something different.
- Note to self – try to not let words get stuck!
Assessment day for Conor
- Went lovely place with loads of toys and met Róisín who played with me and talked to Mom and Dad.
- She made a video of me.
- Mom does that sometimes too.
- I wonder why?
- Róisín seems to get stuck on some words too – not sure why I am here but Róisín has the best Lego and I am making an amazing bridge.
- Wants to help – who? Conor? But parents want fluency.
- Her CPD, while limited, has her thinking that focusing on fluency might not be best choice.
- She takes her dilemma to supervision.
- She Googles and finds StutterTalk.
- She contacts the SIG/CEN.
- She decides that she needs to talk with parents about some of the difficulties she sees with focusing on fluency.
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