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Breaking Boundaries in Speech Therapy


Sixteen-year old Jared had one goal when he resumed speech therapy after a long break: to be comfortable speaking in all places at all times. He had stuttered for as long as he could talk. He worked with speech-language pathologist Tommie Robinson, Jr., chief of our hearing and speech division at Children’s National Hospital.

Jared made great progress, but there was a problem. “I was getting too confident and comfortable in the clinical environment,” he says. Dr. Robinson challenged him to speak at the graduate seminar on stuttering that the doctor taught at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

“I was nervous,” Jared recalls. The experience, however, boosted his confidence. Dr. Robinson gave him another idea to push beyond his comfort zone: start a podcast about the challenges of stuttering from a kid’s point of view. “I learned from Doc, just go for it, full send.”

Jared started recording “Stuttering Since ’02” three months later. The project turned into an outlet to help other kids who stutter. Dr. Robinson says Jared’s experience is an example of “how we have learned to listen to our patients and include them in the in goal-setting process.”

“Doc is at the nucleus of all of this success,” says Jared, who’s now 18 and in college. “He and his staff actively care. I would never have spoken in front of a class or started a podcast without his support. It all goes back to Children’s National.”