As a board recognized fluency specialist, Tricia provides diagnostic evaluations, consultations, and therapy for both children and adults with communication impairments.
Preschool Stuttering Intervention: It is quite common for young children between the ages of 2 and 5 years to exhibit some degree of nonfluency or disruptions in the flow of speech. However, when this goes beyond what is considered “normal disfluency”, parents and caregivers often become concerned. It is recommended preschoolers exhibiting early signs of stuttering be seen for a thorough speech and language evaluation. Following the evaluation, appropriate intervention will be discussed and may include any combination of the following: parent education and training in fluency facilitation techniques, traditional therapy with the child to establish a slower and easier speech pattern, or therapy using the Lidcombe Program for Early Stuttering Intervention, a behavioral treatment approach conducted in a systematic manner by clinicians trained in this treatment approach. Stuttering Intervention for Elementary Aged Children: Children who stutter (aged 6 to 12 years) require a thorough evaluation of communication skills as well as their attitudes and feelings regarding communication/stuttering. Intervention for these children will include education about the normal speech process as well as stuttering and the development of speech modification techniques. It is important to work together to maintain or increase children’s self-esteem as they begin to explore the thoughts and feelings associated with stuttering.
Stuttering Intervention for Adolescents: Teens who stutter also benefit from thorough evaluation of communication skills as well as attitudes regarding communication. Intervention with adolescents who stutter must be designed to address the specific needs and desires of the individual. Because of the complexities of adolescence, intervention will include those components which are most meaningful to the individual being treated. In addition to education about stuttering and the normal speech process, it is important to explore whether stuttering has to put limits on what someone can accomplish. The individual also will be exposed to a wide variety of speech modification techniques which can be used to help manage stuttering. As appropriate, cognitive behavior therapy techniques may be utilized to help individuals better understand and change some of their thoughts and beliefs about stuttering or themselves as communicators.
Stuttering Intervention for Adults: Often, adults who stutter have not experienced speech therapy since childhood, if ever. It is never too late to try speech therapy to learn to better manage stuttering, if one is feeling ready to make a change. An in-depth evaluation will be completed to explore the individual’s stuttering pattern, including both the overt (external) and covert (internal) aspects of stuttering. Intervention for an adult who stutters involves becoming educated about stuttering, learning about one’s own stuttering pattern, developing speech management techniques to help manage the overt stuttering and exploring the ways in which thoughts, feelings, and behaviors impact each other. Techniques from cognitive behavior therapy are used as appropriate when individuals wish/need to change some of the thoughts and beliefs which have become associated with stuttering but which may not be based on reality.
Other Speech and Language Services: Tricia also has extensive experience working with children with language-based learning disabilities and the language/reading difficulties they often experience. A thorough evaluation will be completed and a treatment plan developed. Intervention may include work in any of the following areas: receptive and expressive vocabulary development; understanding and use of age appropriate grammar and syntax; ability to understand and follow directions of increasing length and complexity; ability to tell a story or explain something in an organized fashion which unfamiliar listeners can comprehend; and the early literacy, pre-reading, and phonemic awareness skills required for success learning to read. Tricia also has experience working with children and adults with high functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome on the pragmatic and social language skills needed for success in academic, vocational, and social settings.