Stuttering therapy when the problem isn’t stuttering: Using narrative practices in a fluency-centric society— Voon Pang


Since the early 2000s, practitioners have developed beneficial ways of using narrative practices in work with adults who stutter. This article extends their work to apply narrative practices to work with children and young people who stutter. In a speech language therapy context, externalising conversations were used to determine how young people understood their own speech ‘problems’ – sometimes in ways that contrasted with dominant fluency-centric models, which seek to eliminate or reduce stuttering. Listening for ‘unique outcomes’ and ‘sparkling moments’ enabled the development of alternative stories, in which the hard won skills and knowledges of these young people were made clear. This work was supported by the use of letter writing to support people’s campaigns against the effects of stuttering, and methods to archive and disseminate the knowledges of these young people with regard to living with stuttering. Adopting a narrative approach also enabled a more collaborative way of working and provided opportunities to address issues of power and privilege in the therapeutic relationship.