[ This information was taken from the Stuttering Unit, Bankstown Community Health Service ]
The Lidcombe Program is a treatment for young children who stutter. It has been developed since the mid-1980s at the University of Sydney at Lidcombe, and the Stuttering Unit, Bankstown Health Service. This program has been scientifically researched in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom and the results of this research are very positive. The main emphasis of the Lidcombe Program is to train parents to do intervention at home with their child.
How does the program work?
At the initial assessment, the speech pathologist takes a stuttering rating of the child. The speech pathologist will also identify the types of stutters the child may experience such as:
- Repeating sounds, words or phrases: d-d-d-d-dad / dad-dad-dad / I can – I can – run
- Prolonging sounds: ccccccan
- Blocking before the sound begins …….. can
- Facial grimaces, twitching or irregular breathing
Parents are trained to identify the types of stutters that their child experiences and they learn to recognise and rate the severity of stutters. The therapist then trains the parent to give verbal feedback to a child to help improve the stuttering essentially by rewarding fluent speech. Details of this program are discussed in the initial session.
- It is not possible to know in advance whether a child will recover from stuttering without needing treatment.
- Stuttering tends to be inconsistent, that is, one week a child may have fluent speech followed by a period of severe stutters. Children can experience relapses, which is why the maintenance part of the Lidcombe Program is important.
- The Lidcombe Program was developed for children from 3 years and up.
STUTTERING FACTS AND FICTION
FICTION – Stuttering is an emotional problem caused by anxiety.
FACT – Although the cause of stuttering is unknown, it is not an emotional disorder or the result of trauma or anxiety. Many people who stutter have a genetically inherited predisposition to stuttering.
FICTION – Stuttering is caused by copying the stuttered speech of other family members.
FACT – Stuttering tends to run in families so it is usual to find more than one member of a family who stutters. However, the link is genetic rather than through imitation of someone else’s speech.
FICTION – Stuttering is caused by the way parents interact with their children.
FACT – Parents are the best people to help their children recover from stuttering. Stuttering does not develop because of poor parenting practices.
FICTION – People who stutter are nervous and shy.
FACT – Being nervous and shy is not a personality disposition that causes stuttering.
FICTION – Stuttering is a normal part of a young child’s speech development.
FACT – Stuttering is a speech disorder. It may start gradually or suddenly. It nearly always starts before 5 years of age.
FICTION – Children will grow out of stuttering as they grow older.
FACT – Some children do stop stuttering without ever needing therapy from a clinic. However, many will continue to stutter and will require professional help. At present, there are no reliable indicators to predict which children will recover without help.
FICTION – Stuttering is hard to treat.
FACT – Is it true than there is no “Magic Pill” that will eliminate stuttering. However, stuttering can be treated very effectively in pre-school children.
FICTION – Therapy for stuttering can be stopped as soon as a child speaks fluently.
FACT – Therapy for stuttering must be withdrawn gradually. Research has shown that the maintenance phase of therapy is almost essential for preventing stuttering relapse.