Stuttering Clinic

Learn more about our Stuttering Clinic at the Interprofessional Clinic at Perley Health.

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Express Yourself! Youth Stuttering Camp

We are excited to offer this opportunity again to children of the National Capital region, and surrounding areas, following positive feedback from both parents and attendees from the previous years. The Express Yourself! Teen camp is based on a program offered at the University of Iowa’s Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic. The general idea is to provide an opportunity for children who stutter to meet, share experiences and support each other, while challenging them to go outside their comfort zone and gain confidence in using speech skills or stuttering easily. We have several special activities, initiatives, and guest speakers planned.

Here are details on the dates, hours and location:

Ages: Proposed for students in grades 5-8; high school students are welcome to apply. Contact the clinic for other treatment options for this age group.
Date: July 18 – 22, 2022
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. daily (please pick up the campers by 4:00 p.m. at the latest)
Location: Interprofessional Clinic at Perley Health, 1750 Russell Rd., Ottawa ON, K1G 5Z6

Register today by completing the Youth Stuttering Camp! Express Yourself Registration Form 2022!

Stuttering Clinic Overview

Stuttering is a neuro-physiological communication disorder which impairs an individual’s ability to time and sequence the underlying movements necessary for speech. 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 in regard to 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.

Speech-language pathologist 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 fosters self-respect, freedom of speech and the conviction that what you want to say is worthwhile, stutter or not.

(Joseph Donaher, Ph.D CCC-SLP, Stuttering Foundation of America, May 2015; Phil Schneider, Ed.D. CCC-SLP,


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.

Sessions are usually held at the clinic but can also take place at other University of Ottawa sites in the community.  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.

Preschool Children.  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.

School-age Children. 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.

Adults. 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.



Ottawa Association of People Who Stutter: Partnership with The Ottawa Association of People Who Stutter, a local volunteer-run, self-help group

Thank you very much for your support of the stuttering activities.

Canadian Stuttering Association

Association des bègues du Canada (in French only)

Marie Poulos Funds:

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

          1. 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.

          1. 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.

A doctor’s referral is not required for assessment although some extended health-care benefit plans may require one for reimbursement of service fees.

Services are available in French and English.

If you have questions about your or your child’s communication, please do not hesitate to contact us.