Help available to children who stutter

Published 8:32 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012

To the editor: 

Your article “Speech therapist to attend stuttering workshop” underscored to me how important speech therapists are in our society. That Beth Ann Brant, a speech therapist in the Suffolk Public School System, is attending the special workshop sponsored by the Stuttering Foundation will serve to help children in her school district.

I have always supported the Stuttering Foundation, because they are the only stuttering organization with a global outreach, reaching more than 130 countries each year. The vast majority of these countries are in underdeveloped nations in which access to speech therapy is faulty or non-existent. It makes me feel good that the work of this nonprofit organization is helping young people in poor nations who would not have any help if it were not for the global outreach.

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Closer to home, I was amazed to learn from the Stuttering Foundation last year that every child in the U.S. has the right to free speech therapy, regardless of their families’ economic status. Federal legislation almost 40 years ago guarantees this amazing benefit of free speech therapy from pre-school throughout high school. This free speech therapy applies to all the speech problems.

It is a shame that more people do not know about it, because more kids with various speech problems could get help and improve their lives and their speech. The Stuttering Foundation is trying to educate the public about this little-known component of our national health care policy through a brochure called “Special Education Law and Children Who Stutter,” which explains in detail the free speech therapy.

The brochure is available on the Stuttering Foundation website (www.stutteringhelp.org), which also offers many other free resources. This national policy of free speech therapy serves to help children with all speech problems, and not just stuttering.

Daniel R. Sweeney
Newport News