During a recent blog post, I talked about what does not work. For example, reaching for the almighty stuttering cure does not work, because there is no researched cure for stuttering. However, just because we can’t cure stuttering, does not mean that there are not great treatment techniques and other methods to make our lives easier. Here is a list of things you can do for your stuttering that are PROVED to work.
Stuttering modification is an approach to stuttering therapy where rather than focusing on how to speak as fluent as possible, the focus is more on changing how we stutter. Examples of stuttering modification techniques are pullouts, cancellations and voluntary stuttering. Pullouts are when we change the stutter as it is happening. Normally, we change a hard stutter to an easy stutter so we can finish the word with less tension than when we started the word. A Cancellation is where we learn to correct the stutter by saying the word we stuttered on again, but with less tension and fluently. (ex. P-P-P-Pants, Pants). Voluntary stuttering is where we stutter on purpose. Why would we ever want to ever stutter on purpose? Well, lets face it, no matter how much therapy we receive, there will still be instances where we will stutter, so lets take control of our stuttering from the start. While we can’t necessarily always control when we stutter, we can control how we stutter. We can stutter with less tension, we can throw in a sound syllable repetition on our own here and there proving to ourselves that we can confidently stutter on our own and we aren’t embarrassed about it.
We are who we are. Voluntary stuttering helps us reduce the negative emotions involved with stuttering. When we stutter on purpose, we begin to feel a sense or control, something that we have always strived for. For the first time, WE are controlling our stuttering, we are not allowing our stutter to control us anymore. Once we finally have this sense of control, our negative feelings (below the water line) start to decrease.
The goal of a fluency shaping approach is to use certain techniques to achieve fluency. The goal is fluency. Techniques used to achieve fluency are EASY ONSETS. Simply put, easy onsets are when we start a word with a gentle onset. I usually ask the client to place his/her hand over their voice box and feel the vibrations as their voice turns on. I do not use this technique in words where airflow stops. For example, words which start with (k, g, p, b, t, d) are not candidates for this technique. All vowels, along with (m ,n, s, z, f, v, l, m) are all good candidates to practice the easy onset technique because airflow doesn’t stop with these sounds. Remember: we start the word with as little tension. The LIGHT CONTACT technique is for those sounds where airflow stops. Similar to the easy onset approach, we start these words with as little tension as possible. When we touch our lips together to produce (p,b) or when we touch our tongue to the alveolar ridge (bump behind the top teeth) to say (t,d), we touch it ever so slightly to allow as little tension as possible. Speech rate is also a fluency shaping technique. Remember when those ignorant people use to tell you “just slow down and you won’t stutter as much”, well slowing down won’t make you stop stuttering altogether, but it certainly will help. Try and slow down your speech rate, especially for fluency shaping techniques so you can really think about how to use these techniques
In my opinion, if you are going to use the fluency shaping approach, you need to incorporate the stuttering modification approach as well. As I’ve stated, fluency shaping is used to achieve complete fluency, and remember, there will always be situations where your fluency shaping techniques will not work, especially during those high stress situations. Therefore it is important that we understand how to get through those situations where we do start to stutter. It is important that we understand how to “pull out” of a hard block, and it is important that we continue to prove to ourselves through the use of VOLUNTARY STUTTERING that we are in control, and our stuttering will not control us.
There is no better way to connect with people who stutter than the NSA. There are NSA chapters throughout the US that you can join. During these meetings you can listen to the experiences of others, and share your own experiences. These support groups are in place to help PWS to help build self confidence, practice speaking and a safe and supportive environement and learn learn ways of not allowing stuttering to negatively impact their lives. Click here for more information on the benefits of Self-Help support for PWS to learn about recent research conducted by Trichon and Tetnowski (2011).
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet 800 other people just like you? Every year you have the opportunity to join us at the National Stuttering Association Conference. Workshops, social gatherings and MORE! Check out my recent blog posts “NSA Conference 2012 Memories” and “NSA Conference 2012: Freedom of Speech at the Beach” to learn more about how these conferences can benefit you! Next year it’s in Arizona. Get excited!
Unlike many of people offering unproven quick fixes and “cures” for your stuttering, these techniques and self-help opportunities mentioned above are actually proven. Just read the research! Don’t get wrapped up in those offering cures for your stuttering. There is no cure for stuttering, and these people offering a cure just want your money! Go and find an ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association) certified SLP and get started on the right path towards acceptance and better control of your speech. Better yet, find an SLP who specializes in stuttering. Click here to find a list of SLP’s who specialize in stuttering.