Why A Board Certified Stuttering Specialist?
Don’t all speech therapists work with stuttering? No! Work with one of approximately 150 Board Certified Stuttering Specialists in the United States.
What is a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency?
Stuttering is one area in the broad range of disorders speech-language pathologists (speech therapists) treat. A majority of school speech-language pathologists indicate that they are not comfortable assessing and treating persons who stutter (St. Louis & Lass, 1981; Tellis & Tellis, 2003) nor do they feel adequately prepared managing children and adolescents with fluency disorders (Tellis, Bressler, & Emerick, 2008). Graduate students can finish school without ever having worked with or observed a session with a client who stutters or even taken the course in stuttering! Most speech-language pathologists are generalists working with many disorders.
Our field has become so broad encompassing treating stroke clients, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, swallowing disorders, transgender voice, early language development…..and the list goes on. Similar to medicine, a need for specialty areas arose. The very first area created (in 1998) under ASHA’s (American Speech Language Hearing Association) guidance was for Stuttering or what we call Fluency Disorders. This was established so speech-language pathologists with advanced knowledge, skills, and experience in fluency beyond the required Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) could be recognized by consumers, colleagues, and the general public.
A certain number of clinicians were a part of the initial cadre of this group and a rigorous process was established to obtain board certification in fluency (BCS-F). A clinician must first have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and be licensed by ASHA, our national governing body. They also must have five years of clinical practice. Then they can begin the process to become a board certified specialist in fluency disorders. To maintain board certification, ongoing client hours with those who stutter and continuing education requirements in the area of stuttering must also be met. Europe has followed the United States and has created their own program for specialists in stuttering.
Similar to medicine….if you have a heart problem, you go to a heart doctor. When you stutter….it’s nice to know you can go to a stuttering specialist. Currently there are approximately 150 board certified specialists in fluency disorders in the United States. Of these, it is very rare to find one who exclusively treats stuttering. Hope for Stuttering Speech Therapy is one of those very few places!
You can search for clinicians who are board certified fluency specialists in the United States here.