'Fluency Friday' gives a voice to students who stutter

Posted at 4:30 AM, Feb 21, 2018

CINCINNATI -- Mindfulness exercises are used in a variety of settings. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center speech pathologist Rob Reichhardt uses them to help 12-year-old Andy Hicks with stuttering.

Christy Hicks, Andy's mom, said he would not raise his hand in school and would "dread" being called on to read out loud.

The therapy helps children communicate despite the stutter.

"What happens when these kids start to avoid is, they build this web, and mindfulness is a way to sort of wake up and see that they have choices," Reichhardt said. 

Mindfulness will be one of the themes of this year's Fluency Friday, an event where children who stutter can bond with others who stutter. 

"With my school, there's 750 kids," Andy said. "I'm the only student at my school that stutters."

This is the 16th year for Fluency Friday, and parents say they're seeing their children find a voice. 

"He can do whatever he wants," Hicks said. "And stuttering is not going to stop that."

Last year, Andy even stepped up to the mic. 

"I just wanted to do something that I knew could help me in the future," he said. 

Fluency Friday takes place this Friday. It is sponsored by the University of Cincinnati, Children's Hospital and the Hamilton County Educational Service Center. Click here for more information about the event.