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  • 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.


Roisin's dilemma

  • 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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