Stuttering and the Therapist

I had such a positive experience at the NSA Conference this past July that something occurred to me — I should try to be an SLP. The joke of course is, “when I grow up [and have life figured out].” Obviously it’s hard to make a wholesale career change after working for 15-20 years. But if I save up enough here in the Kingdom, I could conceivably pull it off when I return Stateside. (And no, I don’t know exactly when that’ll be … it’s … complicated. Anyway). Reading this post on Reddit also made me think about it pretty hard.

So what would it end up looking like — three years of going back to school? A year for some prerequisites and then two years of a master’s program? Let’s assume I can even get in someplace to begin with.

Here’s where being someone who stutters comes in to ruin the decision-making process: I often think about jobs that other people have and think, “there’s no way I could do that.” Which seems absurd in light of being an SLP.

(Note: if you’re fluent and think about jobs for yourself, what do you feel the limitations are? I have a feeling it’s more like, “I don’t think I’d like that.” But you know you could physically do it. That’s the difference. If you stutter, you start imagining all sorts of speaking scenarios…)

It’s not that absurd especially considering that there were a handful of SLPs at the NSA Conference who also stuttered. But my thing is — what about parents bringing in their children and seeing that me, the professional who knows about this stuff and who’s supposed to help, can’t even speak fluently? What about telling the patient that they’ve got to get out in public and interact with total strangers, stuttering-be-damned? Would I even be willing and able to do that? What if I have a bad stuttering day? Will that affect the patient? What if I have a bad stuttering day during a first-time meeting with a patient? Or a parent?

Is all this just in my head?

Yep.

Is it all hooey?

Yep.

Can I overcome all of this?

Yep.

But you see what being covert for so long does. What stuttering does. It gets into everything.

Aside: I’m not sure if it was a workshop or not, but I’d like to sit in on a discussion between SLPs who stutter and people who stutter who are considering it as a career. I know that the number would be really small, but hey, it’s worth a shot.

The thing is, outside of high school therapy, I didn’t go to any kind of therapy. So I’m just guessing on a lot of stuff. What I really need to do is reach out to some SLPs and find out what their educational experiences were like. And for those who stutter, how they told parents and patients about stuttering, its lack of cure and ways to see and/or measure improvement.

Comments

  1. Go for it! There are definitely not enough SLPs who stutter; like Emma said, it means a lot knowing that the SLP has similar struggles. I’d be happy to talk to you more about what grad school is like if you’re interested!

  2. My SLP right now stutters and it has added a whole new dimension to speech therapy for me. it’s nice to work with someone who understands.

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