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Speech Therapy for Adults

It is recommended that adults who stutter try speech therapy. However, people who stutter (PWS) are individuals with different needs and expectations, and there is no one right approach. As children, PWS may have got the idea from parents or therapists that stuttering was something to "get rid of", an idea that persists into adulthood. This may have caused avoidance behaviours and guilty thought patterns that negatively impact life. Today, many therapists take a holistic approach, combining speech techniques to reduce stuttering with exploration of cognitive aspects and coping techniques. Stuttering can be managed, without being eradicated. The Stuttering Foundation has published a very useful PDF entitled Suggestions for Self-Therapy. They recommend "acceptance of the idea that you are a 'controlled' stutterer rather than a fluent speaker."

If you see a therapist, discuss what your goals are. Many PWS find speech therapy helps them with confidence and self acceptance. Others want a more rigorous approach to reduce stuttering as much as possible. Significant reduction of stuttering is a long term process that comes from being fully committed to the learning of speech techniques, and a well-disciplined, self-administered regular maintenance program after sessions with a therapist have ended.

Specialist help is available in two settings.

  1. One-to-one sessions with a speech and language pathologist (SLP). Sessions are usually one hour per week for several months. Depending on your needs and preferences, the focus can be more on learning techniques to reduce stuttering, or on strategies for accepting stuttering and reducing the build-up of negative feelings about it. Most speech language pathologists work in private practice. For a directory, click on this link to Speech-Language and Audiology Canada.

  2. Intensive courses for two-three weeks. These involve several hours a day working with a small team of therapists and other people who stutter. Courses are usually for 2 or three weeks with follow-up sessions in the months after the course. There are courses in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. See our clinics page.

 

For general information about stuttering, see our newly updated FAQs.

Find a Speech Language Pathologist

There are thousands of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) across Canada, some of whom work with clinics and hospitals and others who have independent practices. But Speech-Language Pathology is a broad field, and not every SLP will have had experience treating stuttering in particular. In fact stuttering isn't even the focus of education in the field, so they may not even know very much about it. A conversation with a prospective therapist about his/her experience with treating stuttering is recommended.

Most provinces have their own governing body for SLPs to register with in order to legally practice Speech-Language Pathology in their province. You can see a list of these organizations here.  These websites have a public register to look up an SLP and ensure they are a licensed member of the profession. The registration number is what insurance companies require in order to provide clients with reimbursement for services.

Some provinces such as Nova Scotia, and also the territories, do not have a governing body, and in those cases you can find an SLP registered with  Canadian Association of Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC). They have a useful database of some SLPs across Canada.

For more information about how to find an SLP in Canada, you can contact our SLP liason This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

When you contact an SLP or a clinic, the first step will be an assessment to determine the nature and extent of the stuttering and discuss the right treatment approach. Then you will schedule weekly or bi-weekly visits where the therapists will teach techniques and guide you in your stuttering maintenance practice.

It may be hard in some non-urban areas to find an SLP. The Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) in Alberta has a Telehealth program, that provides distance speech language treatment.

Intensive courses are proven to give the most results in producing fluent speech for people who stutter. Depending on the person, the lasting effects of this fluency depends on a rigorous follow-up maintenance program. When attending an intensive course, the patient attends every day for 2-4 weeks, and arranges follow-up sessions afterwards, sometimes for a year or more. These programs exist in Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. For more information see our Clinics page.

Clinics

Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

This site has a listing of all the registered speech-language pathologists in Canada, under find a professional.

To contact the provincial associations of speech-language pathologists and audiologists, go the provincial link.

ONTARIO:

OTTAWA

Speech Pathology and Stuttering Treatment Clinic
Suite 117, 1750 Russell Road,
Ottawa (ON) K1G 5Z6

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone 613-526-7175
Fax: 613-526-7160

 

TORONTO

Speech and Stuttering Institute 


FOR PRESCHOOL KIDS (GTA Region):

ErinoakKids: Halton-Peel Preschool Speech and Language Program
Mississauga and other locations

 

ALBERTA:

Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (Edmonton)
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
Suite 1500, College Plaza
8215 - 112 Street
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2C8
780-492-2619 (p)

Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (Calgary)
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
#401 Hillhurst Building, 301 14 St NW
Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 2A1
403-201-7285 (p)

 

Natural Speech Institute (Calgary)

 

QUEBEC:

Montreal Fluency Centre (Montreal)

 

MANITOBA:

Hello Speech Therapy
www.HelloSpeechTherapy.ca 

300-330 St. Mary Ave
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3Z5
(888)954-3556
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

Provincial Organizations

The following are provincial organizations for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Their websites have listings of therapists who have registered with them. They could also assist you with other information.

For those in the territories, please use the link for the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

The British Columbia Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA)

The Saskatchewan Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Manitoba Speech and Hearing Association


Ontario Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Ordre des orthophonistes et audiologistes du Québec (OOAQ)

New Brunswick Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists NBASLPA


The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists NLASLPA


Prince Edward Island Speech & Hearing Association

Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres

Speech Therapy for Children

Preschoolers vs. School-aged children

Different approaches are recommended depending on the age of your child. Many children stutter when they are first learning to talk, starting as young as two years old. For about 80% it is a passing phase. However it is not recommended to ignore the stuttering even at this stage, as there is no way of knowing if the problem will persist for the child. Studies have found that treatment at this age can increase the recovery rate in a sample group of pre-school children who are stuttering. The Lidcombe program has been very successful in treating pre-school aged children. This is a behavioral therapy that parents are trained to administer to the child, involving positive feedback for fluent speech, and gentle prompts for correction of stuttered speech. Lidcombe practitioners are available across Canada. See the bottom of this page for lists by province.

Another approach is called Demands and Capacities. This focuses more on secondary behaviours and involve changing the environment of the child to make him more comfortable, talking slowly to him, not drawing attention to the stuttering - it is more indirect and covert, but is still therapy. There is a concise explanation of these approaches here. Both approaches have helped children.

School-aged children

If a child is still stuttering by age 7-8, it will be a more persistent condition, perhaps into adulthood. This is no cause for alarm. A child can benefit greatly from speech therapy which may, at this stage, feature cognitive approaches and coping techniques, and encourage self-acceptance. In other words, fluency may not be the only goal of the therapy. Parents can initiate conversation and self-expression in the family setting, which will help a child deal with his stuttering and life in general. Finding ways for the child to be engaged in life, whether through sports, artistic endeavours or whatever interests him, can also help greatly.

The Stuttering Foundation has materials for parents of children who stutter here.

Getting treatment

There are many speech and language pathologists and specialist therapy for children and teens who stutter in Canada. Speech pathology is a broad field, ensure that your child's therapist has had experience in treating stuttering in particular, and has worked with children. After an assessment, the therapist will discuss a treatment plan with you and realistic goal-setting.

 The involvement and support of the whole family will provide valuable support and help to make the activities done in the therapy sessions feel like a part of life, not something done only once a week. Children of all ages can learn to reduce their stuttering and develop their ability to communicate well. Specialist help is available in three settings.

1. One-to-one sessions with a speech and language pathologist (SLP). Sessions are usually once per week or two, for several months. Therapy will be adapted to the age of your child and will help them to learn simple fluency techniques and manage their feelings and reactions when they stutter.
See the Speech-Language and Audiology Canada website for information on how to find a specialist speech and language therapist.

2. Your school board. Specialist therapy might be available through the public school system in your area (coordinated through a school board). Each province and region is different, and availability varies. For primary and middle schools, speak with your child’s teacher to find out what help is available. In secondary school s, the guidance teacher or equivalent is the best person to contact for additional support.

3. Intensive courses for one-two weeks during school holidays. These involve several hours a day working with a small team of therapists and other children who stutter. There are courses in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

 

Lidcombe referral list by province

Ontario

Quebec

Alberta

British Columbia

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Nova Scotia

Newfoundland

New Brunswick

PEI

Yukon

Subcategories

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