Chapter 5 – behaviour and feedback
The last part is behaviour with feedback. When a youth worker has knowledge about stuttering, knows attitudes of different parties toward stuttering, has set goals and has made a plan, they can start to carry out the plan. It is also good to think about how to obtain feedback and if necessary make changes to the plan. If the YPWS has indicated some special needs during the planning process, now is the chance to take them into consideration.
In addition, there are important recommendations highlighted in research studies about what to take into consideration when talking to a YPWS (Rind & Rind 2003; St. Louis, 2017; The stuttering foundation, 2010). Communicating according to these recommendations makes the YPWS feel that their way of speaking is accepted and that they have autonomy to solve their problems by themselves. In addition, it usually makes speaking easier for the YPWS:
Accept that a person who stutters needs more time to say the words
Just act normal, look at the person and let them finish their sentence.
Do not create time pressure to speak fast
People who do not stutter can have a tendency to talk fast and expect quick answers. For YPWS it can make speaking more difficult.
Do not fill in words or supply answers
Some people want to help out the YPWS and try to start guessing what the person is saying, but usually it makes the speaking even more difficult.
Allow a person to finish their thoughts
This advice can be used with all people.
Do not avert your eyes, turn your head away, or look pained, pitying or impatient
Some people do it unconsciously, but for the YPWS it can portray a message that their way of speaking is not acceptable.
Keep eye contact
Some people tend to look away when the YPWS is having a block, again this might convey a message that the YPWS’s manner of speaking is not acceptable.
Do not teach YPWS how to speak.
Sometimes people want to help a person who stutters by giving tips like “think before you speak”, “take a deep breath”, “stop and start over”, “just relax”, or “slow down.” Probably the YPWS is trying their best to speak and if these suggestions really worked, nobody would stutter. Saying them conveys the message that the way the YPWS speaks currently is not acceptable and that the YPWS has it in their own power to speak fluently any time they choose. They do not. What you can do instead is to pay more attention to the content of the message and you can also slow down your speech rate. By slowing down your speech rate, the YPWS feels that they have more time to speak, which reduces the demand for quick answers.
Raise awareness about stuttering, if needed.
For example when there are people who are in contact with YPWS and they do not have knowledge about stuttering, the YW can educate them. It can be done by reminding the group that everyone is different and also similar, everyone has differences and it is cool. Some people cannot get words out immediately or words come out differently – with repetitions, prolongations or blocks. The group can agree that they don’t interrupt other people. It is important to speak with the YPWS first about whether they want other people to know about stuttering.
Make changes in the plan, if needed.
For example, when you realize other people are bullying the YPWS or that the YPWS doesn’t have the courage to take part in group activities, go back to the plan and make necessary changes.
How to help YPWS with changing their behaviour?
When the YPWS has individual goals and has made a hierarchical plan, they can start carrying out steps of the plan and write down how it went in the `Behavior diary’. Here are some sample questions the YW can ask the YPWS to encourage starting to carry out planned behaviors:
The YPWS should have the opportunity to meet with the YW from time to time to discuss what they have done and how they felt, and as necessary, the YW can give reflections. Then the YPWS gets new information, their attitudes change and they can make changes to the goals and plans as needed (Appendix 2). When the YPWS is not carrying out the task chosen, it can indicate high levels of ambivalence about change – thus a need to build motivation. Or the YPWS has chosen a task that is too difficult or where they are feeling uncomfortable (Westra, 2012, p. 208). In this case the solution could be to shift again into empathic listening and work out together to resolve these concerns.
It would also be great if a group of young people got together and shared their experiences in the group.
|In conclusion about behavior: