Speech-Language Pathology/Stuttering/Choosing a Speech-Language Pathologist

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Read everything you can find about stuttering. Decide which therapy interests you. Even if a book costs over $40 don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish—the most expensive book is cheaper than the cheapest therapy.

Look for a board-certified Fluency Specialist at http://www.stutteringspecialists.org/specialists_list.html. There are about 100,000 speech-language pathologists in the United States, of which less than 500 are Fluency Specialists. Speech-language pathologists are trained in a wide variety of disorders. Most speech-language pathologists had one class, or maybe half of a class, in fluency disorders. Many speech-language pathologists have no training or experience with stuttering.

The Stuttering Foundation of America ((http://www.stutteringhelp.org) or 800/992-9392) also has a list of recommended speech pathologists.

Or attend your local National Stuttering Association (http://www.nsastutter.org/ or 800/364-1677) support group, and ask people to recommend a speech pathologist.

If you have a serious complaint against a speech pathologist, call the American Speech-Language Hearing Association at (301) 897-5700.

Paying for Stuttering Therapy[edit]

Speech pathologists usually charge between $60 and $120 per hour. You may go two hours a week, for a few months, then one hour a week for a few more months, depending on your severity and progress. Your speech clinic may also have group therapy sessions, for about $25 for two hours. You usually do the group therapy for maintenance, after a few months of individual therapy. The total bill may be $2500 to $5000.

Few health insurance carriers pay for stuttering therapy. They may say that stuttering is a pre-existing condition, or that stuttering is not a medical condition.

Federal law requires that public schools provide speech therapy for children as young as three. In some states, this may continue up to 21, if you're in college.

If you are unemployed, you may get stuttering therapy paid by your state's vocational rehabilitation. If you are employed, ask your employer to pay part of your therapy costs.

Most Speech-Language Pathologists Don't Like Stuttering[edit]

One of the sad things about stuttering, that sad disorder of the human race, is that its victims far too often find themselves in the hands of a naïve rather than incompetent therapist.
—Charles Van Riper

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) asked speech-language pathologists to rank 20 speech disorders in order of preference. Childhood stuttering was ranked in the middle. Adult stuttering was at the bottom. Speech pathologists dislike adult stuttering because they know little about it. Their lack of training makes them uncomfortable in treating stuttering. You may be the first stutterer your speech pathologist has ever seen.

A speech pathology professor wrote on the Internet:

One of my students came to me and asked if I was serious about wanting them to go out and stutter [for a day]. She didn't want to do that. Another said she was sweating it out too…I had difficulty getting students to fake stuttering to get the feeling people who stutter have every day.