Thursday, 1 May 2014

Lexipontix is the first structured intervention programme for school-age children who stutter. It was developed in Greece from two Greek fluency clinicians, George Fourlas and Dimitris Marousos.

Brief outline of the programme:

Lexipontix is based on principles and practices of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Fluency Shaping and Stuttering Modification Therapy. Therapy is about exploring, understanding the stuttering experience and finding alternative ways of management, aiming at communication restructuring. Parents are actively involved throughout.

The basic characteristics of the programme are summarized below:

  • Stuttering simulation through the actions of Lexipontix, the central figure of the treatment programme
    tries to intrude in the “factory of mind” in order to “invade“ the factory or “sabotage” the factory machines: “The machine of thoughts”, the “lab of emotions”, the “body sensors” and the “machine of actions and words”. The “control centre” of the factory is the central control panel of all the machines. It receives and sends information to them and regulates their functioning, production and interrelation. Therapy aims to empower the child to gain, retain, maintain or regain control over the “control center” of the factory.  In this way Lexipontix is kept under control and his invasions have no significant impact on the functioning of the factory of mind.
    Like Superheroes, the child uses powers/tools gained from therapy to counter day-to-day threats namely the experience of stuttering and to combat threats against humanity (that is his own shelf) by super villains, such as the moments of stuttering themselves. Often, one of these super villains will be the superhero's archenemy that is represented in our theme by “Lexipontix”. Most super-heroes have a supporting cast of recurring characters or superhero teams, friends or co-workers. This, in our case is the therapeutic alliance, which gradually gains ground, successfully participating in missions as the treatment progresses
  • Short therapy duration
    The programme develops in two phases. Phase A lasts for 12 weeks. Then progress is assessed and additional therapy may be proposed according to individual needs in phase B. The completion of Phase A of the program in just 12 weekly sessions give impetus of change in a relatively short period of time. After treatment, child and parents have learnt how to manage emotions and speech. Gradual withdrawal consolidates the change achieved.
  • Structured Programme
    The programme consists of a core structure and several optional modules. Modules are distinct entities of inter-related clinical tools and practices adjacent to the core structure. This adaptable modular structure provides the programme with the necessary flexibility to meet individual needs
  • Motivation & Empowerment of the whole family
    By engaging parents in therapy, the generalization of the results in everyday life of the child is ensured. Moreover, parental support in helping their child's attempts and the management of emotions , attitudes and behaviors of parents about their child's stuttering are achieved. Family communication strategies are reorganized and upgraded as a result of intervention. 
  • Child is the regulator
    Child is placed in the center of treatment, becoming a super-hero. Alliances are formed, extended and strengthened. Child is taking charge of his speech and guides people around him in ways that help communication management
  • Emphasis on functional communication
    Speech tools are used for speech fluency but only in a meaningful and functional way to serve communication needs
  • Super-hero & Game
    Kids and parents love treatment. Module board games, missions, experiments and allies give rise, role, progressive structure and motivation to the child to participate and achieve targeted change. Parents are strengthened assuming the role of the "ally" alongside their child.
At the moment, the treatment program is successfully implemented by the developers and their therapist teams in ΚΕΘΤ and EYLEGEIN. Manual publication is not yet available.

Free access to the programme may be possible in the future by ensuring funding to develop a free web application.

The process of setting up workshops for other therapists is running.

Single subject studies have been conducted. Preliminary results of clinical effectiveness are very encouraging. The next step is to implement therapy with more children and families to document outcomes. Data is consistently collected and more evidence on the effectiveness of the programme will be soon available.