Southeast’s Center for Speech and Hearing Observing National Stuttering Awareness Week

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In recognition of National Stuttering Awareness Week May 6-12, Southeast Missouri State University’s Center for Speech and Hearing encourages the local community to learn about this challenging speech disorder that affects three million Americans.

The Center is located at 402 North Pacific Street, and operates under the auspices of Southeast’s College of Education, Health and Human Studies. The facility provides comprehensive diagnostic and intervention services for communication disorders – speech, language and hearing evaluations and treatment – for all ages within Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines.

The goal of National Stuttering Awareness Week is to give a voice to people who face discrimination because of their stuttering, said Dr. Martha Cook, associate professor of communication disorders at Southeast.

“Imagine not being able to say what you want – that’s the challenge that faces those who stutter,” she said. “It’s more widespread than people know, but often misunderstood and frustrating for those who stutter.”

Though many people think of stuttering as an emotional or psychological problem, it is actually a neurological speech disorder, Cook added. Sometimes, stuttering is genetic. It does not simply come from feeling nervous, and it has no effect on intelligence.

“Difficulty in speaking is only part of the problem. Children who stutter often are teased, and most people who stutter experience shame, guilt and fear of speaking situations. People who stutter also encounter discrimination in employment and other areas of life because of popular misconceptions about stuttering,” said Cook.

Though at least a quarter of children who stutter do not grow out of it and there is no cure for adults, there is hope for stutterers who want to communicate more effectively.

“Speech therapy by specialized speech-language pathologists has helped many people who stutter,” she said. “Chronic stuttering in adults can be successfully controlled by long-term practice and stuttering management techniques.”

The Center provides assessment and intervention for people of all ages with communication disorders offering services that are not available in many public schools. Graduate student-clinicians supervised by state-licensed and nationally certified speech-language pathologists can help children and adults to become better communicators using individualized intervention programs to meet the needs of each person.

The Center can provide treatment using the Lidcombe Program for Early Stuttering Intervention and are the exclusive providers of this family-centered program in the southeast Missouri region. Additionally, the Center is the exclusive provider of the SpeechEasy fluency device in the southeast Missouri region.

To schedule an assessment, contact Amy Herren, clinic coordinator at the Center, at (573) 651-2803 or aherren@semo.edu.

For more information about Southeast’s Center for Speech and Hearing, visit semo.edu/commdisorders/speech.

For more information about stuttering, visit https://www.stutteringhelp.org/ and https://westutter.org/

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