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This year for International Stuttering Awareness Day, Mater Speech Pathology Students are completing their final learning module treating patients impacted by a stutter.
Mater Speech Pathologist Amanda Lyons explains third-year students have been learning about people who are impacted by a stutter at the same time as they are learning to treat them.
“This has been a particularly interesting way to complete their course, using real time practical work combined with theoretical learning,” explained Amanda.
“Students have been working incredibly hard, holding classes via Telehealth, where I have been able to supervise, and they have been making amazing progress.”
Amanda explained International Stuttering Awareness Day is held on 22 October and aims to raise public awareness of issues faced by the world’s population who stutter or stammer.
“Around 8 per cent of children will stutter between the ages of 2 and 8 with 80 per cent resolving,” said Amanda.
“Assessment by a Speech Pathologist is always recommended as we have evidence-based treatments available for this age group.
“However, if a child continues to stutter past the age of 10, it is likely they will continue to stutter for the rest of their lives and that’s where our team can help.”
Amanda and her team work with individuals over the age of 18 who stutter, helping them to set their own personal communication goals using fluency techniques and other strategies.
“In clinic, we teach our patients not to be defined by their stutter, it is simply one of their personal characteristics,” said Amanda.
Amanda explains it is a high impact, low incidence disorder and stuttering can impact many components of an individual’s life, it is not unusual for people to choose careers based on the fact they would not have to speak in that role.
“The stigma around stuttering can be problematic, it can impact a person’s ability to access education, employment and also inhibits their level of social interaction in society,” said Amanda.
“People who stutter say they often feel perceived as less intelligent by the wider community due to their communication difficulties; however, stuttering is not linked to intelligence.
“Current research demonstrates both genetic and neurological factors contribute to the development of stuttering in individuals. An adult can also develop a stutter later in life due to a traumatic head injury or severe emotional event.”
While there is no cure, Speech Pathologists work alongside patients helping them be the best communicators they can be.
“One of the best quotes I ever heard was from author Katherine Preston who said, ‘It all became easier when I stopped treating stuttering as the enemy’,” Amanda said.
Mater offers Speech Pathology Services to public patients. To find out more please call 07 3163 8685 Monday to Friday, 7.30 am to 4 pm.
Further information on stuttering can be found via the Australian Speak Easy Association at speakeasy.org.au.
07 3163 1524
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