Therapy not working?

Therapy not working?

Are you having doubts about the therapy that you or your child is having? Not quite sure where it’s going? Here we’ve got some tips for what you can do.

For parents

Are you unhappy with the therapy your child is receiving? First up, take a step back and think about what’s not working:

  • Are you unhappy with the way therapy is progressing? Goals for therapy can include all sorts of things including stammering less, increased confidence, ways to speak more easily. 
  • Is it the therapy approach? Does it make sense to you? Has the therapist explained what they’re doing and why?
  • Is it the relationship with the therapist? How you and your child get along with the therapist will make all the difference.
  • Is your child not enjoying therapy? Do they seem reluctant to go? Depending on their age, ask for their opinion – are they finding it helpful?
  • Is speech therapy what your child needs right now? They might not be particularly bothered by their stammer and what might make the biggest difference for them would be how people around them respond.
  • Are you able to give the time needed to support your child with therapy? All therapy programmes require parents or carers to do some practice at home in between sessions – normally about 5 to 10 minutes every day.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Talk through your concerns openly with the therapist and discuss what can be changed.
  • Talk to the manager of the service if need be — it might be possible to work with another therapist in the team.
  • Contact our helpline —  we’re here to listen and to give you information and support. Tel: 0808 802 0002, weekdays 10am-noon; 6pm-8pm).
  • Contact the Action for Stammering Children helpline and speak to a Speech & Language Therapist who specialises in stammering. Tel: 020 3316 8100, weekdays 9am-5pm.
  • The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering, based in London, offer a consultation service. This is how they describe their offer: ‘If you have a local Speech & Language Therapist, you can ask for a referral to The Michael Palin Centre, which is a specialist or 'tertiary' centre. Children are referred to us from all over the UK for a charitably-funded consultation service, which offers a specialist assessment, advice and treatment recommendations for each family. Your local speech and language therapist will be invited to attend the appointment too. (Charitably funded by Action for Stammering Children.)'
  • Private speech therapy: this is only an option if you can afford it. Contact the Association for Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice. Use the advanced search facility to find a therapist in your area who specialises in working with children. The fee for an initial assessment is around £85 to £120. Sessions after that cost around £50 to £70 per session.
  • Courses for school-aged children who stammer: these are open to children throughout the UK although funding may need to come from your local clinical commissioning group. Courses include:
For young people and adults

Unhappy with the therapy you’re receiving? First up, take a step back and think about what’s not working:

  • What are you expecting from therapy? Are you looking for a cure? It’s important to have this discussion early on with your therapist. It’s unlikely that you’re going to stop stammering altogether but therapy will help you manage the way you stammer and how you think and feel about it.
  • What are your therapy goals? Does your therapist share those goals? Goals can include all sorts of things including stammering less, managing your thoughts and feelings, increased confidence, speaking up more or saying what you want, when you want. 
  • Is it the therapy approach? Does it make sense to you? Has the therapist explained the work you’re doing together and why?
  • Is it the relationship with the therapist? How you get along with the therapist will make all the difference.
  • Is this the right time for you to have therapy? Are you able to give therapy 100% commitment? Do you have the time to put into practice what you’ve been learning? If there are other things going on for you right now, you might need to prioritise those and come back to therapy at another time.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Talk through your concerns openly with the therapist and discuss what can be changed.
  • Talk to the manager of the service — it might be possible to work with another therapist in the team.
  • Take a look at the different options available to you. Speech therapy is available on the NHS or privately, face-to-face or via telehealth, one-to-one or in groups.
  • Contact our helpline —  we’re here to listen and to give you the information you need
    (Tel: 0808 802 0002; weekdays 10am-noon; 6pm-8pm).
  • Join a local group — getting together with other people who stammer is a great way of boosting confidence as is learning from other people’s experiences of therapy.
  • Join an online group — another great way of getting support from other people who stammer.

Everybody who stammers is different and there are plenty of therapy approaches out there. The most important thing is to find what works for you. And what you need is likely to change over time.  

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