Don't let speech challenges hold you back

Do you stutter and feel it's a barrier to achieving your full potential with your studies?

Speech Pathology at the MQ Health Speech and Hearing Clinic is offering Macquarie University students an extra 20 per cent off the cost of up to 10 sessions a year to learn strategies to support successful communication.

This is on top of the usual 40 per cent student discount, making a total of 60 per cent off the full price.

Speech Pathology Manager Prue Gourley says the clinic wants to make the service as affordable as possible to help students excel in their studies and careers.

“About 1 per cent of adults stutter, and it can make public speaking feel like an insurmountable challenge, but as US President Joe Biden and singer Ed Shearan have proved, the condition can be managed,” she says.

“Presenting to groups is a big part of academic life, whether you’re an MRES or PhD student, a lecturer or a researcher who wants to speak at conferences.”

“We regularly help Macquarie staff and students who stutter and want to learn strategies so they can feel more comfortable presenting.”

Stuttering tends to be made worse by anxiety, so the situations where we feel the most pressure to perform can also feel like the hardest to overcome.

There is no cure for stuttering, but speech pathologists can support people to manage their stuttering when they want to, and educate communication partners to reduce internalised stigma.

Ms Gourley says being disempowered from communicating is harmful, but there are options.

“Stuttering doesn’t have to hold you back from what you want to achieve.”

Learning to take control of stuttering

For adults who stutter, different strategies will work for different people, with two of the most common being self-imposed timeout and speech restructuring.

In self-imposed timeout, the person learns to pause when they feel a stutter coming on, while speech restructuring involves learning to speak to a different pattern, slightly elongating words. This latter strategy is the one used by President Biden.

To learn these strategies, clients do a block of intensive weekly sessions with a speech pathologist, followed by refreshers as required.

Services at the MQ Health Speech and Hearing Clinic are provided by Masters of Speech Pathology students under the supervision and guidance of Certified Practising Speech Pathologists.

Therapy can be provided face-to-face, by phone, or by Zoom or Teams if needed.

For more information about the clinic’s services, or to request an appointment: