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Program at Saint Rose seeks to help children who stutter become effective communicators

Children who stutter are better able to find the confidence to communicate in a nonjudgmental setting.

Children who stutter are better able to find the confidence to communicate in a nonjudgmental setting.

The way we communicate with one another has changed dramatically over the years. Whether we’re facing down our 13-inch MacBooks or our 2-inch iPhones, these days we have fewer face-to-face conversations.

For young people who have to deal with disfluency, more commonly known as stuttering, it might seem easier to resort to speaking through email or texting to avoid people’s impatience or the fact that they might be paying more attention to how something is being said rather than what is being said. In the end, though, it is a social world in which we live, and experts believe that those who stutter are better served if they face their fears in a gentle and nonjudgmental setting.

“Stuttering is complex and multidimensional and should be treated in synergistic framework,” said Sister Charleen Bloom, who in March of 1971 set the wheels in motion for the formation of then Capital District Council of Effective Communication at The College of Saint Rose.

Bloom, who started the program as a way to instill confidence in those who stutter, has since retired from the program, leaving it in the charge of fluency team supervisor Jeanne Junjulas.

The council’s philosophy is that “stuttering only defeats us when it silences us,” and its goal is to instill confidence in those battered by their fear of speaking out.

Every Monday when school is in session, children, teens and adults who stutter meet at The Lally School of Education with a group of therapists committed to helping them become effective communicators.

The council focuses on the physical, attitudinal and environmental aspects of stuttering. The activities help to provide positive experiences to enhance self-esteem and control of the speech.

“We give them tools to have control over their stutter and not let the stutter have control over them,” said Junjulas.

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