"Straight From the Heart" Interview Series: Alicia Gundersen
Alicia Gundersen is a successful business owner, personal trainer, wife and mother to her two daughters. Overall, she is the most passionate about her family.
Her oldest daughter, Audri, has a stutter. She is twenty years old and she still goes to speech therapy. Alicia has tried many different avenues for therapy over the years, in order to make her daughter feel confident in her speech. Her wisdom has always been appreciated by her peers, so we were happy to interview Alicia on her experience with raising a child who stutters.
How would you describe Audri?
"Audri is amazing. She is definitely kind, a preserverer, determined, fun to be around, but focused. She is overall a good balance."
When did you first start to notice Audri's stutter? What did she think about it?
"2 1/2 yrs old."
"At her three and a half yr old checkup, she told the doctor that she couldn't talk and that she needed help."
What challenges have come up, while raising a child who stutters?
"Not wanting to punch people in the face. But really, it was hard knowing that they are struggling, and you can't fix it."
What are some good things that have come up from Audri's stutter?
"She is definitely more aware if someone struggles, which makes her not judgmental towards people who have a hard time. She is way more compassionate because of it. She has always had to see the world through a different lens, which makes her take a step back, and see how other people struggle too. It is funny because it has made her more well spoken than not, because she had to pause and think about what she wanted to say."
What has been your experience with speech therapy?
"It's been excellent all around. No bad experiences. Circle Creek has been the best because she is an adult, so she is much more aware of what therapy is."
Has your approach to Audri's stutter changed from when she was a child, to now as an adult? If yes, how so?
"Yeah, I don't really notice it anymore. She admits that she does stutter now, which takes the awkwardness away. She owns up to it more than when she was younger."
What advice would you give to other parents, who have children that stutter?
"Be patient with the process. Don't punch people ;) It's hard not to defend, but let them do their thing. Don't hold them back because nothing is wrong with them. Be confident that you are going to raise them to be alright. Always remember to celebrate and pay attention to the small victories, like talking on the phone confidently."
"If they need a little bit of help, don't feel like it's bad they need to do speech therapy because stuttering is not a disability. You are going to fortify them to conquer the world someday. You are raising an adult, so you should equip them to be the best version of themselves, and the best version of themselves can have a stutter too."
If you’re concerned about your child’s fluency, please call and set up a free consultation. 253.237.3405. We are happy to help and we hope to see you soon!