Organizing Your Workshop

The need for continuing collaborative efforts between professional communities and consumers to maximize services provided by professionals is evident. In recent years, the role of consumerism in the helping professions has matured from being predominantly adversersarial to being cooperative. This handbook was developed through the collaborative efforts of a national self help group for those who stutter (National Stuttering Project) and the consumer division of the national organization for professionals educated to assist those who stutter (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).

It became quickly apparent with the universal success of these workshops, that the "ORGANIZING A WORKSHOP" handbook offers planning strategies which was useful for professional and consumer communities focusing on serving people who stutter.

This handbook on how to organize a workshop brings together the professional and consumer communities and provides specific and helpful information for individuals or groups seeking to facilitate communication between professionals who serve and those they serve.

Eugene B. Cooper, Ed.D.

Organizing Your Workshop

compiled by Michael Sugarman, M.B.A.


During 1996 the National Stuttering Project organized a series of ten highly successful "Year of the Child Who Stutters" symposiums, educating over 600 participants across the country. This program was made possible by a grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Consumer Affairs Division. Workshops fostered relationships between children and teens who stutter and their parents and speech-language professionals. Recognized experts in the field shared up-to-date information about diagnosis, intervention, treatment, community resources and the latest and most effective speech therapy techniques. Participants were able to be part of group sessions where individuals could share their common experiences and feelings and have their questions answered. As part of the grant, the National Stuttering Project agreed to compile a handbook describing how to organize a workshop so that these efforts could be duplicated by other consumer and professional organizations in the future.

This handbook is a practical guide to organizing a local or regional workshop. It gives the reader information about planning and putting on your own workshop, conducting outreach, developing a budget and an agenda, securing speakers and preparing media releases. Sample forms, resources and materials for distribution at the workshop as well as suggested age-appropriate activities for children and teens are also included.

There were lots of people who contributed to putting this handbook together. It is filled with suggestions and ideas in how you too can put on a successful workshop or conference. Good luck in your efforts and we hope you find the information in the following pages helpful.


  • Grant Proposal for the Year of the Child Who Stutters National Symposium
  • Ideas for children and teenager activities
    • Youth Activities For Stuttering Workshops By Patty Walton, M.A./CCC-SLP
    • Young People's Fluency Workshop By: Heather Grossman, M.A./CCC-SLP
    • NSP: Activities for Children's Workshops By: Ruth Warner Bass
    • All feelings are OK by Shirley Smith, M.S., CCC/SP
    • Uniquely Me Activity by Shirley Smith, M.S., CCC/SP
    • Celebration Circle by Shirley Smith, M.S., CCC/SP
  • Sample outreach flyer and outreach cover letter
  • How to write an effective press release

Chapter I: Planning Your Workshop

In order to have a successful workshop it takes planning. Without taking care of the logistics. (e.g., speakers, materials and refreshments) it is difficult for the less tangible and more important aspects of a workshop to happen---such as having participants learn something new or letting participants feel supported and make connections with people who can help them.

This chapter spells out the basic steps in planning and putting on a workshop. These do not necessarily need to happen in the exact sequence set forth below, but are all important elements of a successful workshop and need to be considered.

Planning Committee

You need to establish a core group of people to organize the workshop and get things done. For "Year of the Child Who Stutters" symposiums, planning committees varied by region but basically consisted of a key logistics coordinator, consumer members (parents and/or adults) and a speech-language professional member. They were responsible for planning, implementation and contacting others who were willing to help. In addition there needs to be a workshop coordinator, a person or two (co-chairs) willing to serve as the key contact(s) to make sure assignments are made and tasks leading up to the event are completed. Ideas for putting together your planning committee and finding a workshop coordinator include:

contact your local (e.g., clinics)

contact your local, regional or national consumer group contact your local parent group or parent/teacher association contact your local public or private schools


The planning committee must examine the potential costs of putting on a workshop. These might include: refreshments; room fee; cost of development and printing of an outreach flyer; agenda; conference materials and media releases; speaker fee; honorariums or expenses; supplies such as name tags. flip chart, markers, and folders for workshop materials: and equipment rental (e.g., audio-visual equipment) for the speakers if needed. If you plan to have youth activities you may need additional monies to cover arts and crafts materials.

In some cases, you may be able to interest local organizations or foundations to fund your workshop or conference. However, there are a number of ways to pay for a workshop without having to secure foundation monies or expend an inordinate amount of time fund raising. The easiest way is to charge a reasonable registration fee, which covers expenses, including refreshments, materials and honorariums for speakers Local restaurants can often be approached for free donuts, bagels, sandwiches or drinks. Sponsoring organizations will often contribute toward minimal costs such as advertising or printing materials. Space can almost always be obtained for free. Finally, even the most respected speakers can usually be secured if you agree to cover their travel expenses or pay a small honorarium.

See Attachment A: Sample grant proposal for fund raising

Conference Agenda and Date

The next step is to pull together an agenda and date for the workshop. You will need to consider some key issues: What are the goals of the workshop? Who do you want to reach? What do you want participants to learn? What are your community needs? How long should the workshop be (e.g., halt day, full day or two day)? What time of year would draw the most people? Are there conflicts with other conferences or is it a particularly busy time of the year such as a holiday or beginning

of the school year? Depending on your audience, will there be better participant turnout on a weekend rather than a week day? You may want to do a written or telephone survey of key community members to explore potential topics and discuss the best dates.

The 'Year of the Child Who Stutters" symposiums were primarily one full day events held on a Saturday when children, teenagers and their parents and speech -language professionals could participate. Workshops lasted from 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. through 4:00 or 4:30 p.m. A typical agenda included the following: registration;

welcome and ice breaker; at least one or two substantive presentation(s) by a professional; and then smaller discussion groups of parents, consumers and professionals on a selected topic. The youth had separate activities throughout the day where they could talk about stuttering, meet other children and teens who stuttered and have fun and learn about themselves.

See Attachment B: Ideas for children and teenager activities

  • Youth Activities For Stuttering Workshops By Patty Walton, M.A./CCC-SLP
  • Young People's Fluency Workshop By: Heather Grossman, M.A./CCC-SLP
  • NSP: Activities for Children's Workshops By: Ruth Warner Bass
  • All feelings are OK by Shirley Smith, M.S., CCC/SP
  • Uniquely Me Activity by Shirley Smith, M.S., CCC/SP
  • Celebration Circle by Shirley Smith, M.S., CCC/SP

Securing a Location

Check out local clinics, universities, colleges, hospitals, public schools, churches or temples. Try to secure free space. As part of the planning process it is strongly recommended that the conference coordinator or someone on the planning committee visit possible workshop sites. Unless you have extra money, stay away from hotels if at all possible. These may seem attractive, but hotels will charge you. If anyplace requires liability insurance discuss this with the planning committee.

Make sure the room is big enough. Better too large than too small. If it will seat 50 people comfortably it is probably adequate for a local workshop. When deciding

upon a room specify the seating as "theater style" and request "break out rooms for small group discussions. "Break out" rooms can also be one large room divided into a number of sections for smaller group sessions.

Make sure the site is accessible to someone in a wheelchair. Can a wheelchair user get into the building, get through the doors and use the bathroom? In addition, ensure that participants can get to the conference site. Is it near public transportation or is there free parking available?

The "Year of the Child Who Stutters" symposiums were held at speech-hearing clinics, university speech-hearing clinics, public schools, hospital speech clinics and community colleges. These were great resources because space was free. In addition, collaborating with a local speech clinic or university speech clinic proved effective in gaining both participation from consumers in the speech-hearing clinic and volunteer assistance from local professionals and speech-language students.

Securing Speakers

The professional speakers at the "Year of the Child Who Stutters" symposiums were drawn from the Special Interest Division on Fluency & Fluency Disorders of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Parent and consumer speakers came primarily from the local community. Depending on the topic and where you are located. respected speakers may well be available in your local community. Check with your local clinic, university, or a non-profit organization regarding who may be interested and who makes a good speaker.

Many times speakers will be willing to provide their time for free if their expenses are paid or they think they will receive some good publicity from the workshop. It is best to have someone familiar with the potential speaker approach him/her well in advance of the workshop date to request his/her participation. Be clear about how long the event will be what you expect the speaker to cover and how many participants you expect to attend.

Once the speaker agrees to attend, ask about materials and offer to make copies for distribution. Also, ask the presenter if s/he needs any additional materials such as video equipment, overhead or flip chart.

Send a confirming letter thanking the individual for agreeing to participate and provide clear information about the workshop including times, topic, and directions on how to get there. Call a few days before the event to remind the speaker about the workshop and make sure that materials and presenter aids are in order.


Using a strong core of volunteers can help make your workshop run smoothly. Volunteers can come from either the parent/consumer community or professional community particularly students. At the "Year of the Child who Stutters" symposiums we had a number of speech-language students who helped with all aspects of the workshop, from registration to running youth activities. In addition, using adults who stutter was very important aspect of the 'Year of the Child who Stutters" symposium. Children who stutter and their parents need to have role models that demonstrate that one can live a productive life despite his or her stuttering. Some parents have fears that their child will grow up and not be able to get a job. Having adults present conveys the message that they did not let their stuttering get in the way of their life and gives children and parents hope for the future. Using role models can be applied to other types of workshops as well, such as, workshops dealing with other types of disabilities or health concerns or any other minority group with unique experiences and advice to share.

Chapter II: Outreach and Media

Registration Flyer

Now that the event is planned, you need to send out the "invitations". Usually this consists of developing an outreach flyer, registration information and press releases or a media strategy, if desired. Allow at least six weeks to get the word out to people before the event. Participants need tine to make arrangements to attend such as arranging for child-care or taking time off from work.

If you have more than 200 prospective participants, then a bulk mailing would be advisable. In this case, give yourself at least two months for the information to reach people. Check with the planning committee to see if anyone has access to nonprofit bulk mailing rate status. Maybe you'll get lucky and find an organization which will sponsor the mailing for you.

Information on the outreach/registration flyer should include:

  • Date, starting and ending times. Include registration time (e.g., 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.) and the beginning and ending times for the workshop (e.g., 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.).
  • Exact address of workshop site, room number and name of location such as the "Conference Center." Include directions and a map if possible.
  • Sample agenda.
  • The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least two contact people. Include telephone numbers where someone can be reached during the day or night.
  • How much the workshop will cost and where to send the registration form. You may want to give participants a break on the cost if they register early (e.g. $20 pre-registration up to the date of the event $30 the day of the workshop).
  • Information about food. Will their be refreshments? Any other instructions you may have such as "lunch will not be provided however, many nearby local restaurants are available during lunch break".
  • Decide on whether you want children or teenagers to attend and if child care will be available.

Next you need to brainstorm with the planning committee about how to get the word out. You can do amass mailing post flyers in clinics or schools, telephone professionals and consumers, or post messages on home pages on the world wide web, e-mail, or listservers. You may obtain mailing labels or lists from consumer groups membership lists, school district personnel or professionals. For example the speech-hearing clinic, state association or from the national organization consumer affairs division of American speech-Language-Hearing Association. You may want to draft an outreach letter requesting other organizations or consumer groups to distribute flyers also. If you are sending a flyer, to professionals ask them to pass along information on the workshop to their clients.

Once you have your mailing lists and labels call the planning committee together to stuff and address envelopes.

See Attachment D: Sample outreach flyer and outreach cover letter


Using the media is a powerful way to focus public attention on the problem or issue your workshop addresses. There are a number of different media outlets which can be explored. Such as Public Service Announcements on radio or television or feature articles in local newspapers or magazines. A speech-language pathologist drove four hours from Buffalo, N.Y. to attend the Cleveland symposium after she read about the "Year of the Child Who Stutters symposium in Advance magazine.

Public Service Announcement

A Public Service Announcement (PSA) is a short commercial that advertises a message for a non-profit organization. PSA's can be placed in variety of media outlets (television. radio or community newspaper) and are usually run free of charge. PSA'6 should be sent out two to three weeks in advance to advertise an upcoming workshop.

A sample Public Service Announcement would look like this:

For immediate release

The Cleveland Chapter of the National Stuttering Project will be holding a "Year of the Child who Stutters "symposium for parents and speech language pathologists on Saturday1 May 13th at the Cleveland Speech and Hearing Clinic. The workshop begins at 9:OO a. m. For more information contact Gary Woods at 312-333-1212.

To place a PSA you need to contact the appropriate person at your radio television station or newspaper such as the Public Service Director, Community Service Director or editor. Typically you need to provide:

Proof of non-profit status

A letter stating the importance of your workshop (it might help to provide local statistics on how the problem affects your community). A copy of the text of the PSA

News Articles/Press Release

In some instances newspapers or television stations may be willing to write an article or run a show involving the issue or problem of concern to you and your group. Most of the time you need a news angle. Such as an upcoming event (e.g.. workshop or protest) or story (e.g.. success story or report after the workshop) to secure press coverage. You may have more success with trade journals, local newsletters or local cable television talk shows which may be interested in your issue and how it affects local residents than with national media outlets.

See Attachment E: How to write an effective press release

Chapter III: Day of the Workshop

Setting up

There are many things to organize before the workshop and a number of

important logistical items to deal with on the day of the workshop. Below is a check list.

  • Be sure to arrive at the workshop site at least 1/2 hour before time in order to set up, get ready and greet participants.
  • Signs: Make sure the workshop location is clearly marked with signs leading the way.
  • Registration: Who is responsible for staffing the registration table and welcoming participants? Make a list ahead of time of participants and who preregistered and prepaid.
  • Materials: Have enough materials pre-made in folders for all workshop participants. If you run out, take down participant's names and addresses and mail out copies after the workshop. Have paper and pencils available for participants to take notes if they want.
  • Name Tags: Either make up name tags before the workshop or bring tags and markers to the workshop on which participants can write their names.
  • Refreshments: Who is responsible for set up and clean up? In addition to food and drinks, be sure to bring utensils (e.g., spoons, knives or forks) and plates, napkins and cups as appropriate).
  • Lunch information: If the workshop runs all day long and lunch will not be provided, a list of nearby restaurants where participants can eat. It is helpful to provide write up and have available.
  • Resource materials: On a table place materials from local, regional and national organizations that participants can purchase, review or contact for further information.


The facilitator should begin by welcoming participants and speakers, briefly reviewing the agenda ( e.g.7 summarizing the workshop goals and activities) and pointing out the amenities (e.g., restrooms, refreshments, break times and lunch). The facilitator is responsible for keeping to the schedule, making sure speakers stay within the time allotted and breaking the large group into smaller groups if needed. S/he may also need to deal with problems and even a crisis if it occurs.


Usually it is helpful to start the workshop with an "icebreaker". This is an activity that helps break down barriers and open participants up to one another. There are many different options here. An icebreaker can range from simply having participants introduce themselves and say why they attended the workshop, to more complicated activities where participants interview and introduce each other or make a list of personal characteristics on name tags and go around the room meeting each other.


Now it is time to begin the workshop program (discussed in Chapter 1). When introducing your main speaker(s), be sure to talk to him/her ahead of time about personal accomplishments so that the facilitator can share the information with the group. Try to stick to the time table set out in the agenda. You can prepare small signs to be held up to warn speakers 10 minutes and 5 minutes before the end of their presentation to give them time to wrap up.

Be sure to leave some time for questions and answers sometime during the day. You should decide whether the speakers will take questions during their presentations or save questions and answers until the end.


It is important to close your workshop on a good note. One way to do that is to have participants return to the main group again. You can have participants share what they learned, hold hands for a friendship circle, ask questions or lust say thank you and good-bye.


At the end of the workshop, it is helpful to get feedback from participants in order to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the workshop. This is optional; however, if you plan to repeat your efforts or seek funding for future events it may prove helpful. Just pass out a short and simple evaluation form to all participants and be sure to collect the forms at the end. If the evaluation form is too complicated1 participants may not fill it out completely.

Thank you

After the workshop is over1 there is one last thing that remains to be done--sending thank you notes or letters to the key speakers or sponsors.

Workshop Planner Checklist

Assemble workshop planning team

Name____________________ Name____________________

Address____________________ Address____________________

Telephone #____________________ Telephone #____________________


Expenses $ Income $

refreshments:__________ foundation grants: ____________________

room cost:____________ registration fees: ____________________

speakers expenses: Total: ____________________

registration flyers: _______________________

name tags and markers:____

rental of audio-visual aids:_____

printing: _______________________

media package (press releases & PSA): _______________________

materials for resource table:________

supplies for children and youth activities: _______________________

other expenses:__________________


Develop goals, agenda and secure speakers

Goals: _______________________

speakers: _______________________

name, address, and telephone #____________________________

Select workshop site and date

dates:________ or ________ location: or: _______________________

wheel chair access: yes/no

dates to visit location: _______________________

#breakout rooms: _______________________

location: seating capacity: _______________________

Registration flyer and mailing list

who is responsible: _______________________

organizations to contact for mailing list: _______________________

printing of registration flyer date: __________

date of mailing registration flyer: _______________________

other ideas for outreach: _______________________

Media or press release

newspaper contacts: _______________________

radio contacts: _______________________

television contacts: _______________________

date of mailing press release: _______________________

follow-up with media contacts: _______________________

Set up registration table and refreshments

who is responsible for:_________________________________

registration table: _______________________

resource table:_______

refreshments: _______________________

clean-up: _______________________

Evaluation and Thank you letters

Who is responsible to tabulate evaluation: _______________________

Who is responsible to send thank you letters: _______________________

Grant Proposal for the Year of the Child Who Stutters National Symposium

National Symposiums

Need for Project

The National Stuttering Project ("NSP") has been successfully facilitating workshops for parents of children who stutter since its inception in 1977. We have seen first hand the significant effect the experience can have on participants.

"The best part was being able to relate to stories of other parents and to know we have so much in common." Parent participant, Pasadena workshop 1994.

From these workshops the NSP has learned that many parents feel isolated and are unaware of ways they can help build their child's self esteem and improve communication skills. Providing parents with training and access to local resources. such as speech professionals, where they can receive support and information is key to helping children who stutter.

Stuttering is a complex speech disorder that affects personal and academic progress because of its impact on a child's emotional and social development. Studies have found that if all children who needed therapy were enrolled during their preschool years. About 80% of the stuttering during school and later life could be prevented altogether (Starkweather1 1980; Costello 1983; Riley and Riley. 1984). While therapy is important, the critical role of parents in partnership with speech professionals cannot be emphasized enough.

The role of parents can no longer be denied; without the involvement of parents, clinicians become powerless to help the child beyond the confines of the clinic room. It is parents who enable their child to develop fluency and communication skills and thus take ownership of their child's progress. (Austin & Cook 1995)

In addition, many speech clinicians could benefit from the latest information regarding stuttering and the most effective methods for treating children.1

The proposed project addresses the need to foster working relationships between parents and speech professionals while providing up-to-date information on stuttering to both groups. It will create forums where parents and speech clinicians can come together to learn from recognized experts in the field and share information about diagnosis, intervention, treatment, resources and other issues surrounding raising a child who stutters.

Project Objectives

The NSP is a consumer run organization with local chapters throughout the United States. NSP is dedicated to empowering consumers through self help and providing support groups, education and training to people who stutter, parents, professionals and the general public.

The NSP Board of Directors has designated 1996 as the Year of the Child Who Stutters ("YCWS") with the goal of promoting education and providing support to parents and professionals who can reduce stuttering and its negative impact on children and families. Consistent with these goals, the objectives of the YCWS National Symposium Project are:

  1. To increase the knowledge of families and professionals including speech clinicians and teachers. regarding early diagnosis. effective intervention and treatment of children who stutter.
  2. To provide materials on stuttering to families and professionals, including information on the right to school based therapy under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA").
  3. To network families and professionals with existing local, regional and national resources including speech centers and consumer and professional groups.
  4. To develop and distribute materials to consumer and professional groups regarding how to organize a symposium on stuttering including flyers, media packet, agenda and suggested speakers.

Plan of Operation

The NSP proposes to launch a national campaign entitled the Year of the Child who Stutters ("YCWS") under which it will coordinate nine (9) regional symposiums throughout the United States. These symposiums will showcase national experts --D. Breitenfeldt, Ph.D., G. Cooper, Ph.D., B. Murphy, Ph.D., G. & 3. Riley, Ph.D. 'S.. W Starkweather, Ph.D. and J. Westbrook, Ph.D. -- who have already agreed to be speakers. Symposiums will deliver up-to-date training to families and professionals regarding stuttering including diagnosis, intervention and speech therapy techniques for children. In addition, information regarding resources, parental rights under IDEA and self help materials will teach families coping mechanisms and empower them to advocate for their children. The project anticipates reaching approximately 450 individuals nationwide.

Project coordination will be provided by NSP Executive Director Michael Sugarman (MBA, MSW), with assistance from NSP employees and volunteers to organize and staff the symposiums. The Executive Director will be responsible for ensuring project implementation, evaluation and oversight of the budget.

Sites for the symposiums have been identified and include: Chicago, IL., Dallas, TX., Denver, CO., Fullerton, CA., Los Angeles, CA., New Orleans, LA., New York, N.Y., Spokane, WA., and Washington. D.C. Organization of local steering committees, consisting of professionals, consumers and parents interested in working on the project, is underway. These committees, under the direction of the Executive Director, will assist in outreach efforts and local media campaigns.

Importantly, many local speech centers -- including California State University, Fullerton, CA., Collier Center, Dallas, TX., Eastern Washington State. Spokane1 WA, Hofstra University, New York, N.Y., and Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA.-- have agreed to host these symposiums. This link is key to ensure that the YCWS reaches consumers and professionals in need of education.

In conjunction with the Stuttering Foundation of America ("SFA") and the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association Consumer Affairs Division, comprehensive materials will be available to families and professionals. Other materials that will be produced by the project include outreach flyers, public service announcements and articles in community newspapers.

The one-day symposiums will follow a similar format. Three symposium sites will add "Youth Day" activities where teenagers will be able to host their own workshops and address issues particular to them. The sample format for symposiums follows:

8:30-9:00 a.m.

Registration and continental breakfast

9:00-10:00 a.m.

"Personal story: Self Help and Stuttering" by adult who stutters and/or parent of a child who stutters


"Stuttering: Diagnosis, Interventions and Treatment" by national expert


Lunch (box lunch available for an additional fee; please see registration form)

1:00-2:15 p.m.

Workshop session #1 (Choose from one of two sessions)

Session A

"Issues on Treatment of Child of Child who Stutters" facilitated by adult who stutters of parent of a child who stutters

Session B

"Issues on Raising a Child who Stutters" facilitated by adult who stutters or parent of a child who stutters

2:30-3:45 p.m.

Workshop Session #2 (Choose from one of two sessions described above)

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Open panel discussion with speakers and evaluation


Participants will be asked to complete and return a written evaluation of the conference materials1 training design, speakers and accommodations at the end of each symposium Evaluations will be mailed to the Executive Director to assess possible changes in the format for future symposiums. In addition, the Executive Director will complete a final report at the close of the project for presentation to the NSP Board of Directors and ASHA.


The NSP will produce a handbook on Organizing Your Workshop. It will include how to organize a workshop in your local community with ideas for outreach, media, materials and speakers. The handbook will be distributed to consumer and professional groups at conventions and be advertised in NSP, SFA, and ASHA news3tters and Advance magazine.

Time Line for Action

  • Assemble planning teams and select training sites and dates --January-February 1996
  • Develop agenda, materials (including evaluation questionnaire) and secure speakers -- January-February 1996
  • Develop and conduct media strategy including PSA announcement and model articles for local parent and community press -- February-April 1996
  • Compile and send registration flyer to regional mailing list and contacts including clinics, professionals, preschools and families -- March-April 1996
  • Assemble materials from other sources for distribution at symposiums --March 1996
  • Host Symposiums -- April -July 1996
  • Develop and distribute Handbook Organizing Your Workshop --September-November 1996
  • Complete and deliver final report to NSP and ASHA -- November 1996

1 Numerous authors indicate the need for additional education and training for clinicians to update their skill levels. Fosnot S. (1995); Gregory. H. (1995)


Costello, J. (1983) Current behavioral treatments for children, in Prins and R. lngham (Eds.), Treatment of Stuttering in early childhood: Methods and issues. San Diego: College-Hill Press.

Fosnot, S., (1995)"Some Contemporary Approaches in Treating Fluency Disorders in Preschool. School-Age, and Adolescent Children', Lang., Speech. Hrg., Services in Schools Vol. 26

Gregory, H. (1995) "Analysis and Commentary". Lang.. Speech. Hrg., Services in Schools Vol. 26

Riley, G. & Riley, J. (1984) A component model for treating stuttering in Children. In M. Reins (Ed.). Contemporary approaches in stuttering therapy Boston: Little. Brown & Co.

Rustin, L., & Cook, F. (1995) "Parental Involvement in Treatment of Stuttering", Lang. Speech, Hrg., Services in Schools Vol.26. 127-135.

Starkweather. C.W. (1980) A multi process behavioral approach to stuttering therapy. Seminars in Speech, Language and Hearing 1, 327-338.

Youth Activities For Stuttering Workshops

By Patty Walton, M.A./CCC-SLP

One of the most difficult challenges involved in planning activities for children who stutter is meeting the needs of different age groups. Activities are more easily planned for children ages 6-9 and teenagers. The children ages 10-13 often feel lost between the other groups, feeling too old for the younger activities and not really "fitting in" with the older teenagers.

Activities should be planned for all three age groups simultaneously throughout the day. In the activities listed below, many would be appropriate for more than one age group, however, the activity should be modified to fit each groups maturity level and carried out separately.

A primary goal of youth activities should be to create a sense of community and commradery among the children. This is most easily accomplished within a peer group. Other goals should be focused on helping children express and share their feelings regarding their stuttering in a supportive, encouraging atmosphere, and building self-esteem and self confidence as communicators.

The following activities are only suggestions and should serve as a place from which new ideas are born. They can be modified to fit the specific needs of the children.

(1) Signature T-Shirts

Materials: cotton T-shirts, waterproof markers (12 colors) paint tubes

Procedure: with each child wearing a blank T-shirt, have them choose a different color marker. They should move around the room and introduce themselves by saying their names and writing them on the T-shirts. Personal messages can also be written as well as names. The child may keep the marker with them throughout the workshop to have new people they meet autograph their shirts

* * These T-shirts help to make the child feel part of the group, ease introductions, and give the child a personal keepsake of the workshop.
(2) Ice Breaker

The children will benefit from a fun activity to get the day started. Ask a clown or a mime to do a show for children. The show should include some aspects of speech and communication, as well as emotions. Treats such as medals and fun stickers help the children feel special. Balloon makers are also fun.

(3) Authoring a Book AboutStuttering

Explore community resources to find a local author and/or artist. An artist with charicature experience would be preferable. During this activity the children should sit in a circle and share a specific experience or feeling regarding their stuttering. As the child is sharing his thoughts the artist will sketch the child's face as what he is saying is being recorded on a separate page. These experiences are the compiled into book form that the group will title.

During sharing time with the parents each child shares his story. An example from the Denver Youth Day Book is as follows:
"I'm glad that I don't have to hide on the playground anymore and wait for the bell to ring"
This particular activity will encourage the children to share thoughts and feelings in a safe, supportive environment.

(4) Create a Wall Muiral

Materials: A long roll of white paper at least 3' wide and 15'long, markers, and paints.

Procedure: Hang the paper in an easily accessible area with room for the children to write and draw. On the mural they can draw pictures, write stories, make comments, or simply sign their names.

* * This was done in Long Island, N.Y. at the teen workshop organized by Lee Caggiano.

(5) Book of Affirmations

Materials: Crayons and pictures of affirmations

Procedures: separate sheets of paper have positive affirmations printed. For instance, "I have things to say," "I am special," "I can choose how to talk." On each page, either have an artist pre-draw the pictures or have the children draw their own. These can then be compiled into books for the children to take home.

(6) Speech Pen-Pals

Materials: Index cards, rubber bands and pens. Encourage children to exchange addresses and phone numbers. This will help them feel "connected" after the day is over.

(7) Support Groups/Roundtable

For the older children and teens, open mike or support group sessions help serve as a catalyst for sharing feelings. It would be helpful to have several adults who stutter part of this activity to help keep the session moving.

(8) Make A Movie

Encourage the older children and teens to make videotapes of role-playing. Different topics could be addressed during this filming and the content should be left in the hands of the participants.


By: Heather Grossman, M.A./CCC-SLP

To serve as "warm-up," the Young People's Workshop began with an "I Spy" scavenger hunt. The children were divided up randomly into four groups, with each group chaperoned by two adult volunteers.

Each group was given a sheet to fill out, with instructions to write down each item observed while searching around the campus for things that fit each letter pair. For example, for B_B_, one group had written "Brown Brick," while another had written "Big Bell." When each group had returned, the children took turns reporting on the items listed while a child "judge" (the sibling of one of the children participating in the workshop) ruled on each item's validity. The activity served to allow each child to informally interact with others at the workshop, before actually beginning structured activities. The participants certainly enjoyed themselves. As this initial group interaction was of relatively low demand, each child freely participated by reading aloud to the group.

For the second activity, "Make a Video," we explained to the participants that we wished to creat a video that could teach others, particularly parents and teachers, about young people's thought, needs, and personal experiences related to their stuttering difficulty. We began by suggesting situation that might be role-played. The group then discussed some of their most memorable experiences and after a short briefing, the adult facilitators left for an agreed-upon time. Among themselves, the children picked a cameraman, director, and a script writer. The actors chose their roles and the scripts were created. When the adults returned, we were told that the two scenes to be filmed would be:

1. A classroom situation where a student who stutters is laughed at by his classmates and even his teacher.
2. A father questions his son as to why he stutters and the son explains his feelings of helplessness and his need to discuss his problem more openly.

After "rehearsals," the filming took place with each Hollywood production detail intact, right down to the "Action!" and "Cut!" by the director.

On the second day of the workshop, during what turned out to be perhaps the most informative and emotionally charged portion of the event, the video was played to an audience consisting of the children and their parents, professionals in the field and adultsw who stutter. After viewing the videos an open forum of discussion arose spontaneously. Parents questioned how often events such as these actually occur. The children quesitioned the adults who stutter about the persistence of feelings such as insecurity and of others reacting negatively to their speech The Speech Pathologist questioned the children about what they might perceive to be the most important quality in a therapist.

It was easy to step aside and let the young people take over the discussion. The videos were so well-received, turly imformative and touching, that the children seemed pround to have participated in their creation.

What I learned as a Speech-Language Pathologist was the importance of not only a collaborative effort when approaching stuttering, but how crucial it is to "empower" each child and adult who stutters with the support of people who share his or her problem and teh knowledge that each has something to teach. To me, it was absolutely inspiring.

NSP: Activities for Children's Workshops

Ruth Warner Bass

As a new student of speech & language pathology, I had a burning desire to get out where things were happening and become acquainted with the people and the environment where I would soon be most of my time.

Fortunately, I had mentors who graciously included me in local speech and language support and study groups. One of these fine groups was the National Stuttering Project (NSP). I began volunteering for the NSP three times a year at their all day workshops for children in Pasadena. There, I learned from other dedicated speech-language pathologists, Gail Wilson Lew, Katie Peters, and Vivian Sheehan, what the needs and goals were for the families of children who stutter. Soon, I became the director of children's activities and have found some wonderful ways to make our time together a success.

My goals in working with children are:

  1. to provide a friendly environment for positive interaction.
  2. to engage the children in projects/crafts that help build self-esteem.
  3. to offer opportunities for discussion of fears, frustrations, and triumphs.
  4. to discover ways of dealing with the fears and frustrations encountered
  5. to arrange activities and discussions to ensure continuity of thoughts and feelings expressed throughout the day.
  6. to assist the children in coming up with their own solutions to resolve conflicts.

All of the following are variations of crafts and activities that were successful. Modifications can be made to suit any size or age of the group.
Craft: picture/collage, placemat
materials: Polaroid camera, film, poster board, clear contact paper, scissors, glue, crayons, marking pens, stickers, glitter, and magazine clippings of positive sayings.

front: Chose words that reflect positive things about yourself, things you would say about yourself, or things you would like to say about yourself one day. Glue these on the front of the poster board with your picture. Now, be creative and decorate your collage to express your personality. back: Write your name and the date on the top. List some things that you are good at today (sports, special talents, subject in school, musical instrument, etc.) using crayons or markers. Use your favorite colors. Now you have a placement about you. note: When all of the children have finished their craft, it's fun to sit in a circle and have each child share a few things from their collage with the group. It's a great way to learn a little about each person in a positive way, and it furnishes them with something to say. By this time, they have met some of the other children and adults at the workshop and are feeling comfortable. They seem to find this less threatening then opening the day with a "tell us about yourself" circle time.

Activity: Scrambled eggs
Materials: Plastic jumbo Easter eggs, 3x5 cards, marking pens
Each child gets 3-3x5 cards and a marking pen.

Instructions: Write down 1 thing on each card that people sometimes do when you stutter that annoys you. Fold up the card and put it inside a plastic egg. Put the eggs in a basket, bag or bucket. Scramble them all up. Each child chooses an egg, and one at a time, reads what's on the card inside to the group. Going around the circle, everyone in the group gets a chance to say whether this bugs them too, and offer a way to deal with this situation.
Note: This game is open-ended. If you have enough eggs in the basket, it can be designed to fit whatever your time schedule allows. The children are so wonderful, and with guidance from the SLP and NSP volunteers, often come up with the most interesting solutions to very difficult situations. This also offers the children a safe place to vent frustrations as well as talk among friends with the focus off the way they speak. Everyone focus is on what each person has to say.

Outdoor Play: recess/use up surplus energy/just have fun
A number of "party games" can be played like: relay races, etc. We have also used:

Who's the leader? Everyone sits in chairs in a circle and one person stands in the middle. One person in the circle, who has been chosen to be the leader, starts making body movements that everyone around the circle copies. The person in the middle tries to figure out who the leader is. When s/he does, they switch places, a new leader is chosen, and the game starts over. (All of the players in the chairs must be careful not to stare at the leader or it will be too easy for the person in the middle.)

Make me smile: Everyone stands in a circle. One person stands in the middle and one by one
stares at each person as s/he goes all the way around. The object of the game is to make the person in the middle smile or laugh by making ridiculous faces or saying funny things. When the person in the middle smiles or laughs, they trade places with the person who caused it and the game starts over.

Grip ball/Bingo/Brain Quest and other interactive games.
When we have time, we also like to play these. They are good for groups of 2-4 and are life savers if have children who don't wish to participate in the large group. NSP and SLP volunteers are instrumental here.

Lunch Assignment: Eat your lunch on your placemats. Sit with a friend and his/her family. Share some good things from your placemat with them.

Video Tape: Sometimes we like to video tape our activities and role-play our solutions to problems in front of the camera. The kids love to make movies to show their parents at the end of the day. The children who are camera shy are offered a game or coloring activity and are encouraged to interact one-on-one or in a small group with an adult volunteer.

Instructions: We will read some of our scrambled egg cards to the camera and say or act out the solutions we came up with. We will each hold up our placemats, tell about them, tell about 1 friend that we made today, and tell what we did for lunch.

Wrap Up: Near the end of the day, the children, parents, NSP and SLP student volunteers come together to form groups of four. Each group contains one child, one parent (not related to the child), one NSPer and one SLP student. The director passes out the 3x5 cards that the kids wrote out earlier in the day, and instructs the groups to a) have the children share a solution and b) have the parents come up with a solution.

Note: Annie Bradberry lead this activity at our 1996 Symposium and it brought continuity and closure to our day. This offers the parents insight into what other children who stutter might be faced with and it furnishes the children with ideas that perhaps they and their parents have never thought of. The wisdom and experience of other families is truly educational and eye opening.

Finally, the video can be shown and small prizes or stickers can be passed out to the children for coming to the workshop and participating.

All feelings are OK

by Shirley Smith, M.S., CCC/SP

Goal: each participant understands that everyone has feelings. Feelings shouldn't be described as good or bad, but rather as comfortable or uncomfortable.

Participants will be able to identify a feeling as uncomfortable so that they can effect changes to "deal with it."

Materials: chalk board, large paper, overhead or some method to record students' input so that it is visible to the whole group.


1. Leader asks students to name feelings.

2. Recorder writes the feeling words on the board, grouping them in comfortable or uncomfortable sections of the board. (This grouping is not mentioned to the students, just done by the recorder.)

3. Leader asks, "Did you notice that some of these feelings are physical, for example, "headache," "stomach ache" etc. and some are emotional such as "like", "happy" etc. Give time for responses.

4. Leader asks, "Why do you think we have some of these physical feelings?" Give time for responses.

5. Leader guides students into understanding that we have physical feelings so that we can take better care of ourselves. Then the leader asks, "If we have a headache, what should we do?" Allow time for responses.

6. Leader summarizes responses, "When we have an uncomfortable feeling like a headache, we need to take care of it, rest, take medication, etc. If we have an uncomfortable feelings, like a headache does that make us bad?" Give time for responses.

7. Leader guides discussion helping students to realize that feelings are not "good" or "bad", they just "are." We all have many kinds of feelings. But when we have a feeling that we would rather not have then it is an "uncomfortable" feeling not a "bad" feeling, and when we have a feeling we like it is a "comfortable" feeling, but it does not make us "good" person, it makes us feel good.

8. any feeling, we are made to have all kinds of feelings. The leader might say something such as "We are not 'good' or 'bad' because of what we feel. We can feel anything we like. What we must control is our behavior. I cannot rip up someone's shirt because I hate the shirt. It is OK to hate the shirt. hating the shirt does not make me a bad person. I may not feel comfortable with a lot of hate, so I probably need to take care of myself. Maybe I could not look at the shirt, or talk to myself about how ugly it is or just say "who cares, just forget about it", but I am OK no matter what feelings I have. I just need to control my behavior and talk to someone so that I can take care of myself and not have a lot of uncomfortable feelings making me feel a way I don't to feel.

9. Allow students to give comments.

10. Summarize: Leader asks students to summarize what we have discussed about feelings. Students should be able to state the goal in their own words.


1. Draw a picture of a feeling, not necessarily something that has really happened. The picture could be on an event or it could be abstract.

2. Act out a feeling, maybe the one in the picture.

3. Group discusses appropriate ways to express feelings and act out situations. Note: an appropriate way to discuss feelings is the use of an "I statement". An "I statement" has three parts: "I feel ___", "when you give behavior", "because give reason".

For example, "I feel angry when you finish my sentence because I want to say it my way." "I feel frustrated when you tell me to slow down because telling me that does not help me and I feel like you are listening to how I am talking and not what I am saying."



Facilitated by: Geri Allison, NIS, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Specialist, Sacramento City Schools

The workshop is open to children who stutter (lst.-12th. grades), their parents and their speech therapists.

DATE: Saturday, April 20, 1996 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at JOHN SLOAT SCHOOL, 7525 CANDLEWOOD WAY, SACRAMENTO (see map on back). Phone: 916-433-5051



CHlLDREN: Meet other children who stutter so you won't feel like the only one in the whole world who stutters.


Come for the games and activities.

Find out how other children handle their stuttering.

Learn about stuttering.

Meet adults who learned to control their stuttering.


Find out what you can do to help your child.

Find out how to work as a team with your speech therapist.

Come and leave your guilt behind.

Meet other parents and share experiences.

If you would like to be removed from the mailing list or want further information please call: Geri Allison, 916-685-5799


The following will attend the one-day workshop for children who stutter & their parents.


Child: _____________________________________ Age: __________________

Address: ____________________________________ Phone:_________________

_____________________________________________ Donation enclosed: YES/NO

Speech Therapist:________________________________ Phone: ________________

Return to your child's school or mail to:
Geri Allison
9964 Meadowcrest Court,
Elk Grove, CA 95624-2701

April 20, 1996

Dear District Superintendent,

The Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at Hofstra University and the National Stuttering Project are sponsoring a one and one half-day symposium for children who stutter, their families and those who support and treat them. Many children who stutter, as well as their families, feel deeply isolated and alone in their struggles with this complex, and often misunderstood disorder. This symposium will provide an opportunity for children who stutter, and their families, to discover that they are not alone

Children's workshops will be offered focusing on speech related topics including self-esteem and coping techniques as well as enjoyable hands-on educational activities. Workshops and panel discussions will be offered for parents and professionals, led by nationally acclaimed experts in the field of stuttering.

We would greatly appreciate your distributing the enclosed brochure to any school personnel who might benefit from participating in the symposium. Speech clinicians, teachers and any support personnel are welcome to attend. We would also be grateful if this information could be distributed to children and families in your district.

On behalf of children who stutter we appreciate your support. If there are any questions, please contact Hofstra University at (516) 463-5508.


Carole Ferand, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences

Hofstra University

Lee Caggiano

National Stuttering Project


(Adapted from Six Steps to FREE Publicity by Marcia Yudkin)


  • Something new about your chapter
  • An upcoming event, i.e., workshop or convention
  • Connection between what you offer and current news, i.e., National Stuttering Awareness Week
  • Simple announcement of your chapter
  • Controversial or surprising claim

"Localizing" the content of a release helps to make it more usable by media in a particular city or community. You only need localized material in one or two paragraphs to give it a local edge, but have this information at the beginning of your release.


Talking is something most people take far granted. In Cuyahoga County fifteen thousand children and adults cannot. They stutter.


Answer the journalist's "Five W's": Who? What? When? Where? Why? (Sometimes you only answer the first four.)

Amy Johnson at Gates Mills has found help through the Cleveland Chapter at the National stuttering Project (NSP), which meets at 7:30p.m. on the 2nd Monday of each month at the Cleveland Hearing & speech Center, 11206 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland; and at 7:30 p.m. on the 4th Monday at each month at Southwest General Hospital, 18697 Bagley Road, Middleburg Hts.


Here you quote someone who can back up the basic claim of the release -- you; the Executive Director; or someone who carries weight with your target audience. A quote enables you to bring the story to life, provide perspective, or add star appeal.

"Living with a stuttering problem can affect every aspect of one's life," says Johnson, a member of the Cleveland chapter. "Before I came to my first meeting, I had never talked about my stuttering with another person. I tried my best to hide the problem and felt very-much alone."


What else do you want to communicate? You can continue to quote yourself, quote someone else, or simply report additional facts about stuttering and the NSP. Excellent ideas and information can be found in the sample news release found in your chapter manual or from the many NSP brochures.

Many myths and misconceptions surround stuttering. Often even the person who stutters does not understand the true nature of the problem which confronts him or her daily. The most damaging of these myths, and one that creates a great deal of shame, guilt and fear for the person who stutters, is that stuttering is a nervous disorder.

Some facts to know about stuttering:

  • An exact cause is not known.
  • Research indicates neurological factors are probably involved.
  • stuttering can run in families
  • stuttering almost always starts between the ages of two and five.
  • Boys are four times more likely to stutter than girls.
  • The degree to which people stutter varies greatly.
  • People who stutter experience "good days" and "bad days."
  • For many adults, stuttering can be a chronic, lifelong disorder.


NSP Mission Statement
San Francisco address and "8OO" hot-line
Local chapter address and telephone number(s)

Founded in 1977, the NSP, a non-profit organization operating a network of support groups throughout the country, brings hope, dignity and empowerment to children and adults who stutter, while serving their families and the speech-language pathologists who work with them. Through education and advocacy, the NSP also serves the stuttering community by raising public consciousness of this much misunderstood disorder. For an information packet of NSF literature and a copy of the monthly publication Letting Go, contact the National Stuttering Project at 2151 Irving Street, Suite 1208, San Francisco, California 94122-1609, or call 800-364-1677
For more information on the Cleveland chapter, call 216-473-2426 or 216-234-5779; or write at P. 0. Box 525, Gates Mills, OH 44040.


Go to your local library.
You will probably find local media resources as well as these national publications:
Gale Directory of Publication and Broadcast Media Working Press of the Nation
You will be amazed at the number of local newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations that exist in your own city.
Target your news release.
If you have followed the above steps, you have localized your news release to fit a particular geographical area.

1. Direct your release to the appropriate media that carries news of your featured city or community.
2. Direct your release to persons who are likely to show an interest in the general subject matter.a. Health/Medical editors
b. Living editors
c. Family editors
d. Feature editors
e. Community affairs directors of local tv programs

If you have not gotten the name of the individual from your
media directory, call the newspaper or television station to get this information. *Even if you have a name, it is always a good idea to call to confirm, as there is a high turnover in the media field, particularly television.


After you have done your best to create and distribute your release, always follow-up with a telephone call within a week. Often releases are lost in the shuffle of mail and faxes, and you may have to send it again. If the written release does not peak interest, a telephone call is the perfect opportunity to use your enthusiasm and sincerity to win support--and get publicity!

NSP XII, San Diego
Chapter Leaders Workshop
June 22, 1995


DO put a contact name and number in the upper left corner of the release.

DO indicate under the contact line when you want the story released. If no particular date, type "For Immediate Release".

DO Double space the release, leaving room on top, bottom and side margins for editorial notes.

DO localize the lead paragraph.

DO identify your organization fully and mention its purpose. It is a good idea to develop a standard paragraph that can go at the end of each release.

DO keep the news release brief and to the point. If the release goes into a second page, type "more" at the bottom of the page.

DO type "30" or "##" to indicate the end of the release.

DO proofread the release very carefully for dates, spelling, names, typos, etc.

DON'T type a release entirely in capitals.

DON'T type on both sides of the paper.

DON'T editorialize. To convey subjective ideas, use direct quotes.

DON'T use staples; fasten pages together with paper clips.

DON'T attempt to create a final release in one sitting. The key to a good news release is edit, edit, edit.