06. Development of Stuttering Group Therapy for School-Based Rehabilitation Services

Students who present with stuttering typically receive individual speech-language therapy through School Based Rehabilitation Services (SBRS). Multiple stakeholders have identified that a group therapy model would be beneficial. To facilitate student peer-support and service efficiency, clinicians piloted both an in-person and virtual stuttering group.

Becoming a confident communicator is important for school-aged children in multiple contexts—from learning in the classroom to building positive interpersonal relationships with peers. Stuttering is a complex, multifactorial speech condition which can be characterized by disfluencies in speech like sound repetitions, as well as socio-emotional effects such as avoiding speaking. Students who stutter may experience negative impacts on academic and social participation if challenges are not addressed.

Historically, students who stutter receive individual speech-language therapy in school.  Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation at McMaster Children’s Hospital’s Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre heard feedback from multiple stakeholders that introducing group sessions would be beneficial for to facilitate peer-support, an important element in effective stuttering therapy, and to allow for students at multiple schools to be seen together, creating service efficiencies which help reduce waitlist times.

Visit us to learn about this pilot program that is seen as highly valuable by students, families and clinicians. We’ll talk about how we organized the program to best meet student needs and interests, through functional activities like ordering food at a restaurant, introducing yourself when meeting someone new, and even playing a game of floor hockey in the gym.

Read more about this program!


Mary (Ke Meng) Wang, Speech-Language Pathologist, Hamilton Health Sciences Ron Joyce Children's Health Centre
Linda Balestra, Communicative Disorders Assistant, Hamilton Health Sciences Ron Joyce Children's Health Centre