May 25, 2021
Passionate and highly skilled, today’s guest brings to the podcast community a vast amount of information on supporting children who stutter. Her comprehensive approach is incredible and through this conversation, you will see that it should be the norm. I learned so much from her and am thrilled to share this interview with you.
Trisha Thapar is a speech-language pathologist and owner of Adventures in Communication. She works with clients all over California through teletherapy and her passion is working with young children who stutter. Today you will hear how she not only works with kids to improve fluency, she educates parents and teachers, empowers the child and helps to instill a positive self-concept.
“The expectation should never be fluency. The expectation should be wanting and choosing to communicate,” Trisha explains. She demonstrates the support that can be available for those who stutter and through her passion, she is making a huge difference in the lives of her clients.
[2:46] - There is such a wide range of issues in Speech and Language Pathology. Trish has always been more drawn to sound production over language. She takes a moment to describe the difference.
[3:44] - Trisha’s passion lies in helping children who stutter. This is a fluency disorder and falls under the umbrella of speech.
[4:34] - Everyone has natural pauses in their speech, including saying things like “um,” “like,” or breaks in a sentence.
[5:07] - There are different types of stuttering and different causes to it. The range is wide and varies per child.
[6:11] - As a lot of young children are developing speech and language, everything is developing at the same time. During growth spurts, many children experience stuttering.
[6:57] - Red flags for concerns are if the stuttering continues after several months or if the child notices that they don’t speak right, physical tension in their face, and family history of stuttering.
[8:09] - If there is a family history of stuttering into adulthood, the child is more likely to continue stuttering as adults as well. The earlier the intervention, the better they can manage it as they get older.
[9:14] - There are a lot of areas within speech where we get the “wait and see” approach, but it’s very prominent with stuttering. Trisha is strong in her belief that early intervention is crucial.
[10:34] - At the end of the day, an evaluation is a great idea even if it doesn’t result in a need for intervention.
[11:39] - Children who stutter will experience it more frequently when they are trying to regulate emotions, trying to tell a story, or experiencing physical discomfort.
[12:52] - There may be other times that children are stuttering that we don’t notice as easily. Trisha highly recommends an evaluation.
[14:13] - Because other people can observe that a child has a stutter, it heavily impacts their self-concept.
[15:10] - Part of the evaluation that Trisha does assesses “communication attitude” and self-concept.
[16:44] - Children who stutter learning virtually have been able to more easily resort to communicating through text.
[17:49] - Trisha describes the things that she works on with children as tools that they can choose to use. They have the freedom to decide what strategies to use and when.
[19:01] - The mantra of every session is “stuttering is not a big deal.” Trisha always works on stuttering education for the child, parents, and even their peers. It is presented as a “fun fact” about them.
[20:53] - Positive self-talk is something that Trisha also works on with her clients.
[22:01] - Trisha’s approach is very comprehensive.
[22:56] - The expectation should never be fluency. The expectation should be wanting and choosing to communicate.
[24:18] - This comprehensive approach makes a tremendous difference, but it is not currently the normal scope of care across all practices.
[25:52] - School Speech-Language Pathologists don’t always have the opportunity to specialize because they are working with a vast variety of communication issues.
[27:44] - We will notice stuttering the most between the ages of 3 to 5 due to a language growth spurt. Children are acquiring so much vocabulary during these years and are starting to piece together much longer thoughts and sentences.
[28:20] - The statistic is that 30% of children who stutter during that time do not grow out of it. Some receive intervention and some do not, and a lack of intervention can lead to the inability to manage stuttering.
[29:39] - The question that Trisha receives all the time is if she can help a child to completely stop stuttering. She explains how she believes it is a life-long issue but can be managed.
[31:00] - No matter how long Trisha works with a client, the tools are life-long strategies that can be used to give children into adulthood the confidence to communicate.
[32:20] - Trisha shares the reason why she has become so passionate about the work that she does.
[34:01] - Stuttering education is not an American problem. Growing up in India, Trisha knows firsthand that this is a worldwide issue. She participated in a study that helped grow her passion for her work.
[36:00] - Camp Say is an experience for children to meet other children who stutter and adults who have learned to manage theirs.
[37:30] - Trisha integrates family work into her work with clients and even includes community events to help children who stutter.
Trisha is a speech-language pathologist and owner of Adventures in Communication, a pediatric private practice based in Long Beach, CA. She received her Master’s from Chapman University and her Bachelor’s from CSU Long Beach.
She has contributed to research and publications in the area of fluency, helps coordinate the award-winning Camp SAY LA through Stuttering Association for the Young, and is a member of CSHA‘s District 6 Advisory Committee.
Though she has lived in California for most of her life, Trisha was born in India and spent most of her childhood in Singapore. She is proficient in written and spoken Hindi. In her free time, Trisha can be found chasing her precocious toddler or indulging in her husband’s latest cooking adventure.
Adventures in Communication is a pediatric private practice based in Long Beach, CA. Through teletherapy, we provide speech and language services to children of all ages throughout the state of California. Our areas of specialty include stuttering, speech sound disorders, and language disorders and delays. We believe in focusing on each individual child’s strengths and interests and using them to help the child realize their communication potential.
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