The Lidcombe Program
The Lidcombe Program is a behavioural treatment program for children who stutter. It consists of two phases and is conducted by parents. The Lidcombe Program utilises speech measures to track progress and has been proven in independent trials to be successful.
Phases of the Lidcombe ProgramThe Lidcombe Program is conducted in two phases. The first phase, called Stage One, involves treatments each day and a visit with a speech therapist or pathologist once a week. This phase continues until stuttering has either been eliminated completely or reduced to a very low level. The second phase, Stage Two, then begins. The aim of Stage Two is maintenance, or keeping stuttering away or at a very low level for one year. During this phase, treatments and visits with the speech therapist or pathologist are reduced.
Parental Lead in the Lidcombe ProgramIn the Lidcombe Program, treatments are administered by parents. These treatments take place in the child's normal environments, such as their own home or other settings in which they spend a lot of time. The speech therapist or pathologist will teach parents how to administer treatments, but parents must be ready and willing to work with their children every day.
The Lidcombe Program uses direct treatments, which means that parents must address their children's stuttering head-on. Parents must comment directly on their children's speech and these comments should be incredibly positive. This does not mean that a parent must comment on or give praise for fluent speech at all times, but rather at specific times each day. For the most part praise should be given when there is no stuttering and only rarely should parents comment on the stutter itself. Parents may also choose to ask their children how they themselves feel about their speech.
During Stage Two this feedback is gradually reduced. Parents are taught how best to make these comments and do the treatments by the speech therapist or pathologist, and they will be asked to demonstrate their techniques so that the speech therapist or pathologist can give feedback as well.
Speech Measures and the Lidcombe ProgramThe Lidcombe Program relies heavily on speech measures to track the progress of eliminating a child's stutter. These measures help ensure that progress is being made or that adjustments can be made if there is no measured progress. These measures also allow for quantifiable proof that a child has met his or her speech criteria for success, and that the child can continue to meet these criteria in the future even after the Program has ended.
The parent is the one who uses speech measures, and assigns numbers to the fluency of the child's speech. For example, "1" means that there is "no stuttering" and "10" means that there is "extremely severe stuttering". Throughout the Program, the parent and speech therapist or pathologist will review these measures at each visit in order to better assess how well the current program is working and if it requires any adaptations.
The Lidcombe Program provides parents with a positive, effective way to treat their children's stutters. This two phase Program allows parents to help their children concentrate on fluent speech and measure their progress towards to the elimination of a stutter. Speech therapists and pathologists help parents best prepare for treatments, review speech measures and gradually help parents phase out treatments as the child's success criteria are met.