Who am I?
Hi, I’m Glenn Weybright. I’m a speech language pathologist in private practice in Portland, Oregon. I have been in this field for over forty years, beginning with ten years on the campus of Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) at the community speech and hearing clinic. In 1984 I began a private practice in speech language pathology which continues to the present day. I have a master’s degree from Portland State University, hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and am licensed by the state of Oregon to practice speech-language pathology. I also hold the BCS-F certificate from the Specialty Board on Fluency Disorders in association with the American Speech Language Hearing Association, indicating I have additional training and expertise in working with people who stutter.
Not just a job but a calling…
I was led to this profession I love because of my own stuttering. I began stuttering as a fifth grader and regained significant fluency as a junior in college after speech therapy at Portland State University under Dr. Robert Casteel. My mother helped me see my problem of stuttering as an opportunity and encouraged me to enter this profession. Because of my experience with stuttering I understand what it feels like to have trouble talking and to experience the embarrassment, frustration, and shame that can accompany a communication problem. Because of my experience with stuttering, I am a more effective clinician. Visit the Stuttering Foundation for a wealth of information and help for people who stutter, their families, and speech-language pathologists.
As a speech-language pathologist, I see children and adults with a variety of communication disorders, including those with articulation and phonology disorders (speech sound problems), delayed or disordered language development, problems with voice (tone, quality, loudness, and resonance), and of course stuttering. Communication disorders may exist alone or they may be a part of congenital conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, and cleft lip and palate, among others. I have special interest and extensive experience in working with children with autism spectrum disorder, with childhood apraxia of speech, with children who have word retrieval issues, and a great interest in children and adults with Down syndrome. In the 1970s and early 80s, when Fairview Hospital and Training Center, the Oregon state institution for people with developmental disabilities, was being downsized, I worked directly with formerly institutionalized adults, many with Down syndrome, who were being released to small group homes in local communities. My job was to encourage and enhance their communication skills which were very much atrophied by living for most of their lives in an institutional environment. Based on that experience, I wrote a book called Listen: We Are Beginning to Talk (Ednick Communications, Inc., 1988) and developed an accompanying training video, useful for staff members working with adults in group homes. Thankfully, children with Down syndrome in Oregon and across the nation have not been institutionalized for many, many years. Instead, in most cases they are raised at home and in their communities. Research and experience has taught us that children born with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities can reach their highest potential if they receive speech and other therapies as early as possible. Recently, I have had the great pleasure and privilege of helping two very young children with Down syndrome maximize their potential to learn to talk.
One of my areas of interest has been in parent education. In the early 1980’s in Portland, I and another speech language pathologist, Jo Rosenthal Tanzer, helped introduce to the Portland area skills and techniques that parents could learn to facilitate their child’s speech and language development. We called these methods Indirect Language Stimulation. We worked with parents of very young children with speech and language delays, children too young to benefit from direct speech therapy. We taught these parents to encourage speech and langue development by reducing questions, by using descriptive phrases, and by taking the child’s lead. Out of this work came another book, Putting it into Words: An Introduction to Indirect Language Stimulation (Glenn Weybright and Jo Rosenthal-Tanzer, Communication Skill Builders, 1986). This book and a subsequent video program led a Portland company, Educational Productions, to develop and produce a video series for parents and educators called Good Talking with You (Educational Productions, 1987). This series was widely distributed and influenced a significant number of parents and professionals. Parent training, support, and encouragement continue to be essential parts of how I provide speech therapy. I see my role as one of coming alongside families with support and encouragement and specific training for them as I provide speech therapy for their child. New communication skills may be learned in a speech therapy room but they are practiced and used for real purposes by families in the home and other real world environments. It has been my joy to meet many, many amazing families as we have worked together to help over 2,500 children to this date.
I am an adjunct instructor in the Speech and Hearing Sciences Department at Portland State University, where students train to become speech language pathologists. As needed, since 2002, I have taught or co-taught the graduate class in stuttering. I love the challenge of teaching and find it very rewarding to help new clinicians learn to work confidently with people with fluency disorders. I have also found that teaching makes me a better practitioner. In order to explain a particular type of therapy to students I have to understand it very well myself. I am also forced to stay current on the latest developments and trends in stuttering therapy.
As a young person growing up with stuttering, talking in public was the last thing I wanted to do. So, I avoided as much in-class talking as I could and of course stayed away from speech and theatre classes. Once I regained fluency, I realized that I actually liked talking in front of people, so making oral presentations has been a part of my professional career for years. I have spoken to over two hundred gatherings across the Pacific Northwest, including parent and teacher groups, grade school and high school classes, men’s fraternal organizations, and many different professional groups, including speech language pathologists, pediatricians, dental assistants and dental students. I have talked about my experience with stuttering, about speech and language development and specific communication disorders and about many other topics in speech language pathology. I have also led workshops in language stimulation techniques for teachers and recently have begun providing day-long workshops for school speech-language pathologists in the area of stuttering. The joy of talking, after years when I could not is still very real to me today, years after my own speech therapy. In 2007, I spoke to a regional National Stuttering Association meeting of adults who stutter about my own experience: The Story of My Stuttering. Currently, I am a member of the Portland chapter of the National Stuttering Association support group for adults who stutter.
From 2012 to 2015, I participated in the development of a feature length documentary film about the challenges of stuttering called The Way We Talk, released in June, 2015, and seen since then at various locations across the US (also available online).
My community service includes 8 years on the board of directors of Meadowood Springs Speech and Hearing Camp. I also volunteered for several days for each of seven summers as a master clinician at the camp. Meadowood is a non-profit residential summer camp near Pendleton, Oregon for school age children in the Pacific Northwest with communication disorders (see link). For over 40 years, Meadowood Springs Speech and Hearing Camp has given children with communication disorders a chance to participate in a traditional summer camp and receive quality speech therapy at the same time. In July of 2015, I served as a staff member of the first annual session of Camp More, a residential week-long summer camp for teens who stutter, located on the Oregon coast. Campers worked toward goals leading to more talking, more openness about stuttering, more saying what you want to say even though there might be stuttering.
My private practice continues to exists and thrive because of the encouragement and support of my wife, Debbie Weybright. We have four grown children, Eric, Amy, Matt, and Emily, and six grandchildren. I am blessed to have a profession where I can earn a living to support my family and at the same time make a significant difference in the lives of children and adults.