TO THE THERAPIST
In a sense, having a brief section devoted to information for speech therapists
may strike these professionals as somewhat strange. After all, isn't the
entire book precisely that? The answer, of course, is yes, but in this
section my intent is to offer some cautionary advice.
The Air Flow Technique differs in important ways from speech therapy.
As is apparent from the success of this technique, focusing on the speech
problem itself has been one of the major mistakes in the treatment of stuttering.
The struggle which so characterizes the disorder is not with speech but
rather against a locking of the vocal cords which has occurred just prior
to speech. Therefore to attempt to work on speech is a grave mistake, and
any form of therapy that attempts to do so is of dubious value.
Traditional speech therapy techniques ("bounce," "pull-out," and "cancellation")
have no value when viewed within the context of the orientation presented
in this book. Our attention, and the attention of our patients, must be
constantly focused upon what they do before they speak. If they set themselves
up properly, that is, use the Passive Air Flow and intend a slowed first
word, their speech will emerge fluently. This preoccupation with preparation
and a total disregard for speech constitutes the major distinction between
Air Flow therapy and traditional speech therapy.
The National Center for Stuttering has developed a training program
for speech clinicians. At present, training for speech therapists is available
in many cities across the United States. The training program consists
of both observation and practicum. In the first phase, therapists observe
a two-day intensive treatment workshop. The second phase follows the workshop
and consists of a six-month clinical application of the therapeutic techniques
demonstrated during the workshop. Therapists administer Air Flow Therapy
to their own patients, recording on tape their initial presentation and
periodic therapy sessions. These tapes are then mailed to the Center for
evaluation. All tapes are returned with comments and suggestions.
At the end of the six-month monitoring phase, those therapists demonstrating
a thorough understanding of the Air Flow Technique and the ability to transfer
that understanding in the therapeutic setting are awarded Certification.
The Center has maintained a training program for speech clinicians for
more than fourteen years. Typically, the Center trains about two hundred
clinicians a year. Much work remains, however, since there are more than
sixty thousand speech therapists in the United States.
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