Reply – Re: Speech Therapy
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Re: Speech Therapy
— by Zach Richter Zach Richter
One major problem with the therapy model as the delivery system for "Avoidance Reduction" is that speech therapy as an end unto itself can be isolating from the disability community and often pairs dysfluent persons with people who do not share their experiences.

I would challenge the speech therapy community to pair its practice of "avoidance reduction" with a practice that encourages dysfluent people to get involved with the dysfluent and disabled community.

Part of the process of confidence building is finding people who one relates to. Knowing the history of disability rights as well as being acquainted with leaders in disability activism can help a person with low self esteem identify with others who are empowered enough to challenge the dominant ableist structure.

Additionally, speech pathologists should endeavor for their clients to challenge ableist attitudes not only in themselves but in their friends and family. If a person is surrounded by ableist voices, it will be hard for them to become empowered.

I also want to specify that this does not mean "self-help" because self-help often results in re-internalizing the compulsion toward fluency and smoothness. In referring to disability activists, I am implying people who oppose normalization.