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  • By Joanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP

On Track to Helping People Who Stutter


It's 9:30 am Sunday morning, Father's Day. I am sitting on an Amtrak train to Boston to attend The Stuttering Foundation's five-day Eastern Workshop, "Using Cognitive Approaches with People Who Stutter." I am so excited to be given this opportunity to increase my skills and knowledge regarding working with children who stutter and their families. I also realize that many of these principles can be further applied to adolescents and adults. This workshop is being presented by Elaine Kelman and Alison Nicholas of the very highly regarded Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children. The center, at 13-15 Pine Street in London, England, is a joint initiative between the Camden and Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust and the charity, Association for Research into Stammering in Childhood (ARSC). The Michael Palin Center is named for Michael Palin, a comedian, writer, actor, television presenter and one of the founding members of "Monty Python's Flying Circus." In the movie, "A Fish Called Wanda," Palin portrayed a character who stuttered. He also noted in his diary that his father stuttered. Palin's continued support and involvement, as well as the high quality therapy and therapist training provided there, has helped create a high profile for the center. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity! Coincidentally, I am also excited to be riding Amtrak again. I think the last time I rode Amtrak my eldest child was a baby; now he's an adult. Time flies. So will this week. And I will return with even more skills and knowledge under my belt.

Joanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist based in Morristown, NJ, has helped hundreds of children improve their speech sound production and language skills. She founded Well Spoken Speech Therapy, LLC, in 2014 after spending 12 years providing therapy to children (K-5) in the New Jersey public school system. In private practice, her clients also include younger children and adolescents. In addition, she treats people of all ages who stutter or otherwise find it difficult to speak fluently—an area in which she has received extensive specialized training.

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