I want to answer our top of mind questions about stuttering. If I haven't covered something that you want to talk about - let me know!
So, let's get started!
Stuttering is a speaking and communication disorder. It's a certain automated speaking pattern and a certain state associated with it.
We usually neglect the emotional part of stuttering. Yet, the invisible part of stuttering is huge. That's the real reason why we want to do something about stuttering or about our attitude to stuttering.
Genetics, heredity, neurology, traumas, repression of emotions - all can contribute to the development of stuttering. Yet, once stuttering is formed it becomes an automated muscle and emotional memory. It starts to reproduce itself.
From this perspective, we can say that stuttering becomes the main cause of stuttering in and of itself.
No. Medications tend to try to relax our bodies. Devices and apps tend to try to correct our speaking while we use them. They don't promise to change our speaking pattern.
Actually, nothing can "cure" stuttering. Stuttering treatment mindset, when we expect somebody to do something magical to us or to teach us some magic trick, doesn't get us far. Instead, it gets us further away from real change.
Stuttering is an automated speaking pattern. "Automated" by definition means that there's no way to just "stop" stuttering.
But what I'm preaching about and what we do with my students in Free From Stutter Program - we can first learn the training speech using the hand stuttering technique and then start using it in real life building a new speaking pattern this way. By creating new automated muscle and emotional memory we remove the anticipation, anxiety, and tension associated with speaking. You can learn more about it in my Free From Stutter Masterclass.
That's a very popular question. Many people who stutter don't stutter alone or at least stutter much less speaking to themselves.
Speaking is interaction. It's not only articulating sounds. The invisible part of stuttering becomes visible when we speak in front of new people. An oral answer at school, exam, job interview, or even being around friends when we want to be our best.
Stuttering is a certain structure of speaking. Or to be more precise, the lack of structure. We don't quite feel the structure. Speaking seems to be an endless effort to get through the speech impediments.
Breaks in breathing and voicing, no pauses, hard sounds, and tension both physical and emotional. The rhythmical structure is impaired. So, we want to bring some elements from singing to our speaking - more substance, the rhythm, the stresses, the music.
Even though we often have our "favorite" sounds and words they just represent stuttering. Any sound can become "hard" especially when we can't replace it (like in the name, address, etc.)
I suggest playing with the hard sounds and words in two ways. First, detach the "hard" sound when it's the first sound. Like playing with "esent - present," "ositive-positive." Trying to feel that we want to say the vowel sound rather than the consonant. And second, we want to feel the connection between the words, we want to feel one airflow in the speaking piece, like in "when we stop speaking" we don't want to stop the airflow after "stop," we want to say "sto-psreaking" getting from "o" straight to "i:" in "speaking."
These are great exercises, but a more important thing is the general structure of our speaking. I'm preaching about creating a more secure training speech where we just don't give any ground for sounds and words to become "hard."
There are great tips - to breathe, to make pauses, to change our mindset and concentrate on the message, to open up about stuttering, etc. But we want to be clear that stuttering anxiety and tension actually represent stuttering. If there's no anxiety and tension, physical and emotional tension, attached to the speech impediments then there's no stuttering.
So, again we want to consider the path of building a training speech and a new speaking pattern rather than fighting the anxiety. We don't want to give ground for that anxiety and tension in the first place.
I'm a big fan of both. Reading out loud, talking to the mirror or the exercises that I suggest doing below. Yet, we want to realize that speaking is interaction. So, we want to move from speaking to ourselves to speaking to other people.
And speech therapy (good speech therapy) does exactly that - gets us to speak to other people. And makes that process step-by-step where we attach confidence to the very act of speaking step-by-step.
The main idea about the techniques is that when we apply the techniques to our current speaking pattern, in fact, we're just trying to escape stuttering, we're running away from it.
Instead of avoiding stuttering, I would suggest thinking about creating a new speaking pattern. Feeling the security and confidence in the technique that you use. And of course - enjoy it!
Yes, we do want to play with our breathing, voicing, articulation, engaging our body and eye-contact, but at the same time, we don't want to stay with ourselves when doing those exercises. We want to move that great feeling to interaction.
And the best way to start is to begin recording yourself and share your practices and speeches in the Free From Stutter Facebook group.
We definitely want to get more positive about ourselves (and about stuttering because it's part of us right now)! We want to focus on the things that we love doing. We don't want to hide stuttering. Because as we hide stuttering we hide ourselves. We have something to share. We have a message.
This way we create space in our life that doesn't belong to stuttering. We become open, active and positive about speaking interaction. That's the best start to overcoming stuttering and getting free from stuttering.
And if you want to explore deeper how we can create a new speaking pattern for ourselves - join my Free From Stutter Masterclass that I'm running this week. See you there!
Thank you so much for staying in touch! Let me know what questions about stuttering come to your mind! I'd love to know!