UT to host camp for children who stutter

Eilish O'Sullivan

Beginning this week, Camp Dream. Speak. Live. is helping children who stutter gain confidence through a week of self-esteem building activities.

The annual summer camp is being held at UT from June 12 through June 16. Camp Dream. Speak. Live. is an annual evidence-based, intensive therapy program for children who stutter where the main goal is to increase the self-confidence of the campers, not just their speech fluency.

“I look forward to giving the campers the confidence and support they need to go out and change the world,” said Kelly Woodworth, communication sciences and disorders senior and camp counselor.

The camp is hosted by UT’s Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute, which provides free access to research-based treatments to people who stutter and advanced clinical training opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students.

Woodworth has worked at the Lang Stuttering Institute and has been a student clinician in various other roles.

“I can't wait to experience Camp Dream. Speak. Live because if it is anything like the other opportunities I've had thanks to the Lang Stuttering Institute, it will be unforgettable,” Woodworth said.

Courtney Byrd, founding director of the Lang Stuttering Institute, said the camp provides the children with a more positive outlook on their speech.

At the camp the children get to participate in activities such as theatre, bowling, karaoke, break dancing and other self-esteem building events. The children also have the opportunity to watch a magic show, have pizza parties and attend a UT pep rally.

The camp is free and open to children from all around the world.

“We are presently following our children who have participated in our camps longitudinally and our preliminary results demonstrate that all of these results are lasting and that these children are significantly less likely to experience bullying and teasing,” Byrd said.

Elizabeth Hampton, associate director of the Lang Stuttering Institute, said that 58 children are expected to attend the camp. The children are aged four to 18 and come from all around the world — from Saudi Arabia to Canada.

Twenty UT students will serve as student clinicians and camp counselors.  

Woodworth said she is excited to teach children who stutter to be confident in their speech, even if they are not fluent.

“Each and every person who stutters has the ability to achieve wonderful things, so I am looking forward to being just a small part of these kids' journey,” Woodworth said. “I hope these kids are able to leave camp next week knowing that their stuttering is not going to stop them from achieving their dreams.”