What is the Lidcombe Program?
The Lidcombe Program is a form of therapy for stuttering that is specifically designed to treat children under the age of 6, though it has also been used successfully with school-aged children as well.
The most important thing to know about the Lidcombe Program is that, unlike many traditional speech therapies, this program contains increased parental involvement under the supervision of a speech-language pathologist (SLP). It is believed that this unique feature is also one of the reasons it produces such favorable outcomes. Instead of treatment being conducted in a speech clinic, which might be stressful for the child, it is conducted in natural surroundings of the home.
It should be noted that a speech-language pathologist is still employed to instruct the parents on how to conduct the treatment.
How It Works
At its core, the Lidcombe Program is based on the principle of positive feedback and support. This program is broken into two stages: In the first, parents will be visiting the clinic with some frequency and administering feedback. In the second stage, parents gradually cut back on feedback and visits to the clinic as instances of stuttering decrease.
With this program, parents will provide different types of feedback to their child in a way that is neither invasive nor intensive. For example, a parent might say something along the lines of “Can you try that again without the stuck word?” While it might seem daunting to have the responsibility on you as a parent, as mentioned before, a speech-language pathologist will provide plenty of training and guidance for presenting feedback in a safe and constructive manner.
At the beginning of the program, all conversations will be carefully structured by the speech-language therapist which will help both parents and the child get used to this form of treatment. Only when the parent is comfortable with providing feedback and the child seems happy with the procedure, then the feedback will be introduced into the unstructured living situations of everyday life.
During treatment, the progress of your child’s stuttering will also be carefully measured to ensure that the instances of stuttering continue to improve or, once mostly fluent speech has been attained, that he or she maintains that progress. The Lidcombe Program will vary in length based on a variety of factors but, on average, it tends to take 3-6 months to progress through stage one, and a further 12 months to complete the monitoring process in stage 2.
Though there is no cure for stuttering, this program can have a significant effect on reducing the instances of stuttering for your child.