Speech Pathology Australia Members Share Concerns about Association’s Stuttering Proposal (Ep. 508)

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Janet Beilby, Ph.D

Janet Beilby and Kathy Viljoen join Peter Reitzes to discuss a recent proposal by Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) which has many professionals and people who stutter concerned. In an ASHA blog post, Craig Coleman explains this serious issue:

“Recently, Speech Pathology Australia (the national speech-language pathology association of Australia) submitted a proposal to the Australian Government Department of Treasury that would require Medicare rebates be made available for children who stutter, but only if they are treated using the Lidcombe Program.”

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Kathy Viljoen

StutterTalk covered this issue at length on Episode 502. For a brief and creative background on this issue, check out Katie Gore’s amazing summary The Australian Budget Lidcombe Proposal Debate: A Primer in Memes. Today, Dr. Beilby and Ms. Viljoen discuss much, including their experiences with a number of preschool stuttering treatments which have benefited children and families. They also share that Lidcombe treatment does not “work” for all preschoolers who stutter and that the current Speech Pathology Australia proposal may have the effect of discouraging other treatments which may be beneficial and appropriate. Mr. Reitzes asks Dr. Beilby and Ms. Viljoen about a submission made to Australia’s Community Affairs References Committee of the Senate, on University of Sydney letterhead, which concludes in part, that the Australian government should consider the informed choice of parents regarding speech-language pathology services. Ms. Viljoin shared, “I would like to see the SPA proposal be amended to extend coverage to children presenting with the disorder of stuttering rather to a specific treatment per se.” When asked how she might respond to a person who states, “It is only ethical to use Lidcombe treatment with preschoolers who stutter,” Ms. Viljoen responded, “I would ask them if they have had a child who stutters, if they think it is ethical for a program to offer the client to fit the program as opposed to the treatment approach to fit the client.”

Janet Beilby, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer and Clinical Educator at Curtin University in Western Australia and has been a lecturer, researcher and clinician in the field of stuttering for over 30 years. Dr. Beilby has treated thousands of clients, trained hundreds of students and been awarded over half a million dollars in research funds investigating varying aspects of stuttering disorders.

Kathy Viljoen is the mother of children who stuttered and a Clinical Educator at Curtin University in Western Australia specializing in the management of stuttering. Ms. Viljoen supervises both undergraduate and Masters students at Curtin University in their stuttering placements. The Curtin Stuttering Treatment Clinic is the largest treatment facility for individuals who stutter in Western Australia.

Related Links:

  • Kathy Viljoen’s letter to Speech Pathology Australia – link
  • Janet Beilby’s letter to Speech Pathology Australia – link
  • Speech Pathology Australia’s proposal/budget submission to the Australian Government for 2015-2016 – link
  • The Stuttering Foundation’s Response/Statement titled Another Blunder from Down Underlink
  • Craig Coleman’s post/petition – A Dangerous Precedent from Australia: What It Means and What Happens Nextlink
  • Speech Pathology Australia’s Response/Statement – link
  • Problem with “One Size Fits All” – link
  • Craig Coleman’s ASHA blog post, A Controversial Proposal on Stuttering Treatment from Speech Pathology of Australia: What It Means and What Happens Next – link
  • ASHA blog post by Ann Packman, Mark Onslow and Deborah Theodoros – link
  • International Fluency Association Press Release – link
  • Lidcombe the only effective treatment in Australia? – link
  • Submission to the Community Affairs References Committee of the Senate – “An inquiry into the prevalence of different types of speech, language and communication disorders and speech pathology services in Australia” – link
  • A very important question to Onslow and Packman – link
  • Deborah Theodoros has been misinformed about the efficacy of Lidcombe – link
  • The Australian Budget Lidcombe Proposal Debate: A Primer in Memes – link
  • Chickens are Coming Home – link
  • StutterTalk Episode 502 – link