Mark Whitney Allen Ph.D. CCC-SLP died March 27, 2018. Mark was born on June 19, 1963, in Connecticut. He is survived by his parents, four siblings, and his three children, as well as many friends. He lived in Connecticut until he was nine when he moved to New Mexico with his mother and step-father. There he reported being bullied for his stuttering and where his family, especially his older brothers John and Ted were a strong source of support.
Mark entered Amherst College and also participated in PFSP speech therapy where he gained strategies for fluency, especially during a junior year abroad in Scotland. Returning to Amherst for his senior year, he had a major relapse of stuttering. After graduation he entered a 2-year program in New Haven, Connecticut, to prepare himself to enter graduate school to become a speech-language pathologist, earning a master's degree and Ph.D. in a program chaired by Hugo Gregory at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Mark had nearly thirty years experience working with people who stutter. He was on the Special Education Faculty at Niles North High School for 25 years, and had a successful private practice where he was the Director of the Center for Stuttering Therapy and owner of Speak Freely Publications in Evanston. He had a passion supporting individuals living with stuttering.
Mark was among the initial cadre of speech-language pathologists to be recognized as a fluency specialist by ASHA's Special Commission on Fluency Disorders. He was also a member of ASHA's Special Interest Group 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders, and has presented at numerous local and national professional workshops on stuttering treatment. He was part of the "Voices Past and Present: Paths Toward Recovery from Stuttering" panel at the 2011 American Speech-Language and Hearing Association convention in San Diego, California. Several professionals who stutter who have dedicated their careers to impacting the lives of others who stutter spoke about their personal journeys and their roads to recovery from the difficulties of stuttering. You can view here the illustrative slides and listen to an audio recording of Mark's presentation. Mark and several of the presenters at the well-attended ASHA presentation were invited to repeat their information at a Fluency Symposium in Los Angeles on October 13, 2012, funded by generous gifts from Dr. Robert and Lois Douglass and the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA).
Using the information about his personal and professional journey that he shared at the ASHA convention in 2011, Mark published a significant article titled "Lessons Learned" in the February 1, 2012 edition of The ASHA Leader. This is the article on the ASHA website. [*] It explains the core of Mark's gaining "fluency freedom," a term used by David Shapiro, which incorporates fluency-enhancing and stuttering modification methods in school-age treatment (ala Hugo Gregory) and decreasing sensitivity about stuttering, reducing negative reaction, and increasing feelings of control, openness, and acceptance (ala Charles Van Riper).
The article is available here as a .pdf file with permission from ASHA. Note that the links implied in this file are not "live" but most of the materials they point to are available in the Handbook and Workbook found on this website. The mentioned list of "Resources and References Related to School-Age Stuttering Therapy" we have preserved here.
Mark lived for many years with Parkinson's Disease and was forced to retire in 2016. His original work, Speaking Freely: Essential Speech Skills for School-Age Children Who Stutter, available on this site, remains a valuable resource. He noted on his LinkedIn page that his experience as a person who stutters fueled his commitment to help those who struggle with this challenging problem. While his Parkinson's Disease prevented him from continuing to treat clients directly, he was gratified by the fact that he will still help SLPs assist people who stutter by making available his excellent therapy materials.
All the materials are free and offer full access to the entire Therapisst Handbook and Student Workbook formatted as PDFs so they can easily be read online or downloaded and printed. Linked to the relevant Handbook chapters you will find extensive audio and video files discussing and demonstrating the various therapy techniques. These components provide step-by-step training that simplifies stuttering therapy.
May this gift from Mark be a lasting memorial to a respected professional, a talented clinician who changed the lives of many people who stutter, and a friend.
Allen, M. (2012). Lessons learned. The ASHA Leader, Vol. 17 (1 Feb 2012).
Laura Johnson (Wisconsin. Primarily school-based) - I remember buying Mark's workbooks and DVDs a long while back and they were some of the first materials that "made sense" to me. As I am waiting for the board's decision on my application to be a BCS-F, I realize now how important many people have been on my path to becoming a better therapist. I am slightly older than Mark and he must have been a student with Kristin Chmela, who has been my mentor for the BCS-F. Like Mark, I also studied a year in Scotland. I feel like I have links to Mark. I wish I had met him.
Joanne Summer (New Jersey, Primarily private practice) - I did not know Mark Allen personally; however, having used his Speak Freely fluency program, I do feel like we have met--as I have seen him on the videotapes conducting some of the therapy. I do feel a sense of loss that he has died. Thank you for adding him to the Stuttering Home Page.
Amy Hadley (New Jersey, associate university professor) - What a wonderful way to continue Mark's legacy. I am actually finalizing my notes for tomorrow's lecture on Children Who Stutter. What a wonderful resource! Thanks for sharing!
Stephanie Hirsh (Illinois, private practice) - I was so so saddened to hear about Mark's passing. He was a tremendous mentor and friend. Ten years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to co-facilitate a Chicago NSAkids and teen group that met monthly for two years. He truly was a kind, generous, and thoughtful man; a true gem. He touched so many people's lives and he will be greatly missed.
Alida Engel (Connecticut, private practice) I just used the Mark Allen's program with a student I meet with online so finding an online program is great. He loved it. It is a great way for him to practice. How generous of Mark to share.
Patricia Keilling (New Jersey, private practice) I just reviewed Mark's program and found it great, particularly with a client with excessive tension. I am grateful for the information and sorry to lose such a valuable person.
Anyone wishing to add a memory of Mark to this page can contact Judy Kuster for consideration.
first posted April 19, 2018
updated January 28, 2022