Stuttering and Cluttering
Stuttering is a neuro-physiological communication disorder which impairs an individual’s ability to time and sequence the underlying movements necessary for speech.
Speech-language pathologists may assess and provide intervention for the following fluency disorders:
Developmental stuttering appears during the emergence of speech and language, typically between 2-4 years of age. Most (75-80% of) children who begin stuttering will spontaneously recover. If stuttering persists into the school-age years, it will likely be a chronic but manageable condition.
Acquired stuttering, the result of head-injury or psychological trauma, may occur at any stage of life. A further related condition is cluttering, characterized by rapid or irregular speaking rate, excessive normal speech disfluencies and deletion of sounds and syllables resulting in speech that is difficult to understand.
While stuttering cannot be cured, therapy can help decrease the impact of the communication disorder. Speech therapy for stuttering seeks to make speaking easier, but also for self-respect, freedom of speech and the conviction that what you want to say is worthwhile, stutter or not.
Services are available in French and English.
This can result in:
Involuntary, intermittent interruptions in an otherwise normal, automatic, effortless flow of speech. The characteristic stuttering behaviours are part-word repetitions, prolongations & blocks where no sound comes out.
A lack of confidence in one’s ability to effectively communicate and a sense of “losing control” due to the extreme variability regarding occurrence and manner of stuttering.
The individual employing increased tension, struggle or pushing to try to force the words out, which can be expressed as facial tics, abnormal breathing and movements of the head, arms and legs.
The anticipation of future speech breakdowns causing the individual to avoid talking, switch words or do anything to hide the overt behaviors. Stuttering can inhibit the drive to communicate and participate in daily activities.
Through interview, analysis of video-recordings of speech samples and completion of impact questionnaires, the speech-language pathologist will measure overt stuttering behaviours as well as psycho-social impact on function, activity and community participation, in order to determine severity, establish client goals and decide best options for treatment.
With preschool children, assessment seeks to answer two questions: is this stuttering (or normal speech disfluency) and is it likely to persist.
Evaluation of normal speech & language development forms part of the assessment.
Treatment may consist of direct, one-on-one appointments for a block of sessions; group sessions or clinician-guided, parent-led therapy. Re-evaluation after each block will determine the need for further treatment.
Therapeutic goals may include increasing knowledge of speech production and stuttering to increase awareness; reduction of struggle associated with speaking; modification of stuttering and/or fluency-shaping to promote forward-moving speech; changing thoughts and emotions that may be interfering with communication; and addressing particular communication needs, such as interview skills, giving oral presentations, etc.
Speech-language pathologists work in collaboration with the client and his or her family, as well as with other service providers, teachers or employers to ensure consistency of approach and generalization of treatment.
Results of assessment may indicate a “watch and wait” approach or immediate therapy. The Lidcombe Program, a behavioural treatment for children under 6 years of age, is used. This approach, which trains parents to evaluate severity of stuttering and to provide daily therapy, has strong evidence base for efficacy.
Children and adolescents may be seen for a block of individual sessions. A week-long stuttering day-camp is offered in the summer; group therapy may also be offered on weekends during the school year.
Treatment options include one-on-one therapy; group therapy blocks of five weeks, offered once-per-week in the evenings; and twelve-day intensive group treatment clinics offered in the spring and summer.
As of September 1st, 2022*
30 minutes: $90
45 minutes: $110
60 minutes: $130
Intervention / Consultation
30 minutes: $80
45 minutes: $100
60 minutes: $120
The rate of intended appointment
Purpose of the Fund: to enable qualified individuals who stutter access to financial assistance in order to attend stuttering treatment programs.
The Bursary Fund was named in honour of Marie Poulos who worked at the Ottawa Hospital’s Rehab Centre Stuttering Treatment Clinic in the 80s and 90s until she was tragically killed in a car accident. Marie was much loved by her many clients and highly respected by her speech pathology peers.
Main Eligibility Requirements
Any person who stutters who can prove they would benefit from such treatment and who is financially unable to cover in whole or in part the costs of such treatments themselves.
Who is Eligible?
The applicant must be a resident of the National Capital Area (Ontario and Gatineau) or a student (including international) attending any National Capital school (universities and colleges in Ottawa and Gatineau). Applicants may access treatment in either English or French.
Summary of Eligibility Criteria
Proof of need for treatment
Applicant to submit document by a qualified professional indicating the results of an assessment that shows the individual can benefit from the proposed treatment program. Assessment may be done either by a speech pathologist connected with the Stuttering Treatment Program at the University of Ottawa’s Health Services Department; by a speech pathologist in private practise or another qualified individual e.g. a doctor, counselor, social worker.
Proof of financial need for treatment
Applicant to complete and submit the Request for Financial Assistance form and to provide written proof that he or she would not be able to access the treatment program without some financial assistance.