The School-Age Stuttering Program

A comprehensive treatment program for school-aged children who stutter

The St. Cloud State University Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic offers a treatment program for school-aged children who stutter and their parents.  Both group and individual therapy are offered.  Treatment sessions are led by Communication Sciences and Disorders students under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Smits-Bandstra.  Students have the opportunity to learn individual and group therapy principles and procedures in stuttering and cluttering, methods of assessment, and therapy techniques.  Students also have opportunities to conduct research and present at local and national conventions.

Treatment emphasizes confident successful communication, however each family can choose to focus on specific speech tools, self-acceptance and positive attitudes toward speaking, or both.  The group provides practice of therapy techniques in a more realistic social environment.  In group or individual sessions children will learn and practice new fluency-enhancing techniques as well as learn strategies that focus on improving their confidence and ability to successfully participate in conversations, reading, presentations, and other communicative contexts.  Children will also have a chance to read books about kids who stutter, watch movies about kids who stutter, and meet with other kids who stutter ( 

young boyThis treatment is integrated. This means that it involves teaching the child to change speech movements and participate with confidence and success in speaking situations.  It teaches parents to provide support and acceptance at home, as well as teaching educators to address bullying and teasing at school.  School-age stuttering treatment is not a cure (less than 10-25% of children over age six recover from stuttering).  However, stuttering therapy techniques, such as those taught at the SCSU Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, have been proven effective to reduce stuttering severity in recent scientific research studies (Conture & Yaruss, 2009).

As part of the School-Age Stuttering Program the child attends session 1 or 2 times per week.  Regular games/activities are provided for home practice.  This continues until the child expresses his/her relative control and confidence in desired speaking situations.  Visits are then scheduled less frequently, as needed because it is well known that stuttering may sporadically reappear after a successful treatment.

**Coming soon** The treatment clinic will soon be offering “telepractice” (therapy by video conference) as a treatment option for individuals for whom it is inconvenient to come to the clinic.

 ***NEW*** Parents and children are welcome to attend our National Stuttering Association St. Cloud Chapter Self-Help Group (  Please see website for details, dates and times.  We are also on Facebook (



Referred Publications

Smits-Bandstra, S., & Gracco, V. (2013). Speech sequence learning in persons who stutter and persons with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Motor Behavior. 45 (5), 381-393. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2013.812058.

Smits-Bandstra S., & De Nil, L. (2009). Speech skill learning of persons who stutter and fluent speakers under single and dual task conditions. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics. 23, 38-57.

Smits-Bandstra, S., & De Nil, L. F. (2007). Sequence skill learning in persons who stutter: implications for cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical dysfunction. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 32, 251-278.

Smits-Bandstra, S., De Nil, L. F., & Saint-Cyr, J. A. (2006). Speech and nonspeech sequence skill learning in adults who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 31, 116-131.

Smits-Bandstra, S., & Yovetich, Y. (2003). Treatment effectiveness for school aged children who stutter. Journal of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, 27(2), 125.

Invited Publications

Smits-Bandstra, S. (2011). How people who stutter and people with Parkinson’s disease learn and remember speech therapy skills. Paper presented at the International Stuttering Awareness Day Conference. Retrieved Oct 22, 2011, from

De Nil, L. F., Sasisekaran, J., & Smits-Bandstra, S. (2004). Recent insights into the nature of stuttering: A review and some speculations. Logopedie, 17, 26-38.

Refereed Published Abstracts

Smits-Bandstra, S., Anderson, J., & Steifels, M. (July 2013). “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade: Positive Thinking Strategies for People who Stutter” [Abstract]. National Stuttering Association Annual Conference Program.

Carlson, K., Peterson, R., Roberts, A. & Smits-Bandstra, S. (April 2013) “Teaching Easy Onsets Effectively for Optimum Retention” [Abstract]. Minnesota Speech Language and Hearing Conference Program.

Holman, W. & Smits-Bandstra, S. (April 2013). “Comparative effectiveness of practice schedules for chidlren with speech sound disorders” [Abstract]. Minnesota Speech Language and Hearing Conference Program.

McWilliams, E., Rehnstrand, W., Swanberg, B., & Smits-Bandstra, S. (April 2013). “Teaching Pausing Effectively for Optimum Retention” [Abstract]. Minnesota Speech Language and Hearing Conference Program.

Daleiden, J, Onken, J., & Regnier, S. (April 2012). “Transfer of therapy skills: Key principles everyone should know [Abstract]. Minnesota Speech Language and Hearing Conference Program.

Stenerson, S., Swanson, R., & Smits-Bandstra, S. (April 2012) “Making therapy more effective: Key principles everyone should know [Abstract]. Minnesota Speech Language and Hearing Conference Program.

Smits-Bandstra, S. & Gracco, V. (2012). Implicit learning in stuttering and Parkinson’s disease: Event-related potentials [Abstract]. European Symposium on Fluency Disorders Convention Program.

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