Treatment Options

Stuttering Therapy

More than 30 years of research and experience underlie our therapy approach. First published as the Comprehensive Stuttering Program in 1985, the program is continually evaluated and improved. Results of treatment are very positive and rigorous studies evaluating long term outcomes have been published in scientific journals.

Treatment is provided by a professional staff or registered speech-language pathologists with expertise in the treatment of stuttering. Each therapist has a minimum of a masters degree in speech-language pathology. Since 1986, we have treated more than 3,900 clients from over 25 countries around the world, including Canada and the United States. Client ages have ranged from 3 to 82 years.

Stuttering therapy is offered year-round for clients in individual and group formats. We design treatment to meet the needs of each client, depending on the age, severity and impact of stuttering on the individual.


  • Assessment

    Before enrolling in treatment, you will need an assessment to determine your needs and the therapy approach best suited for you. During the assessment, staff will evaluate your speech and communication skills, probe your responses to treatment techniques, and discuss what therapy involves.

    Young children are assessed through an enjoyable play format which does not draw negative attention to their speech.

    If you are not able to come to Edmonton, please contact ISTAR for other assessment options. You may seek an assessment without enrolling in therapy.

  • Clinic Dates

    Intensive Treatment Clinics

    Child (7-13)
    Child (7-13)
    January 14-25, 2019 (2 week + 10 hours prior)
    June 3-21, 2019
    July 2-19, 2019 (no session Monday, July 1)
    July 2-12, 2019 (Calgary)
    July 29-August 9, 2019 (Edmonton)

    Refresher Clinics & Other Maintenance Offerings

    To help you maintain your fluency gains, we suggest follow-up visits to a local speech pathologist in your area. If this is not possible, you can attend refresher clinics at ISTAR, as listed below, or arrange for individual sessions at the clinic or on the telephone.

    Refresher clinics: Held in Edmonton, unless otherwise noted.

    Adult 5-day - December 3-7, 2018  
    Adult 3-day - February 1-3, 2019
    Children's 4-day camp (7-13 yr olds) - March 26-29, 2019
    Adult 2-day - April 5-6, 2019 (Calgary)
    Adult 2-day - May 25-26, 2019
    Adult/Teen 5-day - July 22-26, 2019
    Child 4-day camp (7-13 yr olds) - July 15-18, 2019 (Calgary)
    Child 4-day camp (7-13 yr olds) August 13-16, 2019 
    5-day Social Communication August 20-23, 2019
    Adult 3-day - September 20-22, 2019
    Adult 5-day - December 2-6, 2019

    *Please note, registration closes 4-6 weeks prior to each Intensive or Refresher start date. Please register early to avoid disappointment. Group sessions are held pending minimum enrollment levels.


  • Financial Assistance and Fees

    ISTAR is a self-supporting organization which does not receive funding from government. Fees charged cover only part of the cost of providing therapy. The remainder is covered by donations from the Elks and Royal Purple of Alberta and Canada, private foundations, businesses, and many generous individuals who wish to make therapy available to as many people as possible.

    Funding programs, including the ICAP Fund (ISTAR Client Assistance Program), are available for speech therapy to help make treatment as accessible as possible to clients and their families. Private speech therapy fees are also tax deductible as a medical expense. Please call us at 780.492.2619 for more information.

    Speech Therapy as a Tax Deduction

    Private speech therapy is tax deductible as a medical expense, however a medical referral is required. Please keep your treatment invoices and receipts as evidence of payment. We encourage you to consult your tax advisor for more information.

    Disability Tax Credit for People who Stutter

    Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recognized stuttering as a disability entitling taxpayers to a tax credit of $7,196 (2010). To apply for this credit, obtain a T2201 form from your nearest taxation office.

    ICAP Fund (ISTAR Client Assistance Program)

    The ICAP Fund (formerly known as the FAST Fund) has been established to help adults, teenagers and children obtain speech therapy at ISTAR. Supported by donors, the fund is intended to help those who, due to their financial situation, would otherwise be unable to enter a treatment program.

    Whether you are eligible to receive funding from the ICAP Fund depends on the size of your family and your income. The family is defined as all those supported by the family income, whether adults in the home or children or adults 23 years of age and under who are attending a post-secondary educational program and living away from home.

    Applications for subsidies from the ICAP Fund will only be considered when clients have exhausted all other avenues of funding. Please contact ISTAR at 780.492.2619 for more information about the ICAP Fund.

    The ICAP Fund exists because of the generosity of donors and volunteers at ISTAR. Individuals contribute their dollars directly to the fund and their time to activities that raise money for the fund. Foundations provide grants and gifts directed specifically for use in the fund. The ICAP Fund would not exist without these caring contributors.

    The ICAP Fund is administered by ISTAR volunteers, and operates independently of the clinical program at ISTAR.

    Please help support the ICAP Fund by making a donation today. Your cheque should be made payable to "University of Alberta - ISTAR" and can be mailed to ISTAR at:

    Institute for Stuttering Treatment & Research
    Suite 1500, College Plaza
    8215 - 112 Street
    Edmonton, AB
    Canada T6G 2C8

    Or make a donation using your credit card, calling us at 780-492-2619, or giving online.

  • SpeechEasy

    SpeechEasy, a device used to treat stuttering, is available through ISTAR. This tiny electronic fluency aid fits into the ear like a hearing aid. It picks up the speaker's voice and plays it back with a slight delay and/or with a change in pitch. This change in auditory feedback can facilitate fluency in some people.

    The effect of the SpeechEasy varies, with some people responding very well and others hardly at all. An assessment is needed to determine whether the device is suitable for an individual who stutters.

    Please call ISTAR at 780-492-2619 for more information.

  • Therapy

    Pre-school Therapy

    Early assessment and treatment are important to prevent stuttering from becoming established and interfering with social and emotional development. If you are concerned about your child's fluency, we encourage you to contact us to find out if an assessment or treatment is advisable. In general, the earlier the treatment, the better the results. Your family's involvement is a vital part of therapy. Guided by assessment findings, you and your clinician together may choose one of several options:

    • monitoring your child
    • indirect treatment where you learn to change aspects of your child's communication environment
    • direct treatment to help your child build fluency

    Extended individual sessions (generally the most effective for pre-schoolers) include:

    • 1 or 2 sessions (30 to 60 minutes each) per week over several months
    • home practice
    • extensive parent training

    Semi-intensive sessions may be arranged for out-of-town families.

    School Age Therapy

    Your child will learn to handle stuttering through fluency skills related to voice initiation, articulation, speech rate and sometimes breathing. They are also helped to overcome any negative feelings and avoidances they may have.

    If teasing is a concern, a special program developed at the institute will help your family address this issue. Treatment is family-based and emphasizes strategies to develop both the child's and the parent's abilities to manage fluency over the long term. Because therapy is not a cure, ongoing effort and commitment are necessary to maintain new speech patterns and attitudes.

    Extended and semi-intensive programs are available throughout the year. Intensive clinics, offered each summer, include:

    • 3 hours of therapy daily for 3 1/2 weeks
    • small group format with 2 clients per clinician
    • daily home practice
    • extensive parent training
    • special meetings for other family members

    Teens & Adults

    Therapy is the beginning of a long rehabilitation process because stuttering has been a part of your speech for so long. But a beginning it is - a solid and supportive step toward increased communication effectiveness and confidence.

    You can learn to manage your speech through fluency skills related to breathing, voice initiation, articulation, speech rate and tension modification. You will work to overcome speech fears and avoidances and build confidence, social skills and self-management abilities. Great emphasis is placed on transfer and maintenance of skills learned in therapy. Although the general treatment approach is similar for teens and adults, specific strategies and exercises are designed to match the needs, abilities and interests of the particular age group. Since therapy is not a cure, ongoing effort and commitment are necessary to maintain new speech patterns and attitudes after therapy.

    Intensive clinics offered throughout the year include:

    • 6 hours of therapy daily for three weeks
    • small group format with 2 to 3 clients per clinician
    • daily home practice
    • special meetings with family members
    • individualized planning throughout

    Extended and semi-intensive therapy is also available.