7. Understanding stuttering better

Understanding stuttering better is the key to developing an efficient strategy with stuttering. 

If you're not quite satisfied with your speaking, with your clients' results or with how you feel about your kid's stuttering - start with understanding it better. 

  • Stuttering is not a dot. It's not something that "just happens." It's a cycle that reproduces itself. 
  • The first part of that cycle is insecure speaking structure. Which is basically lack of coordination, a mismatch between how our brain processes speech and speech mechanism. 
  • The insecure speaking structure is the first big blind spot we usually don't quite recognise. We usually focus on speech impediments created by this insecure speaking structure. 
  • "Everything is fine with me in general" - that's a very common deep feeling and belief among people who stutter. And it makes sense because most people who stutter would say that "I don't stutter alone."
  • This belief leads people who stutter to inaction, to not accepting the problem, to not working on the speaking structure. 
  • Ironically, the opposite belief that "I have a predisposition so why bother?" also leads to the same inaction. 
  • The third element of the cycle (after speaking structure and speech impediments) is negative colour attached to speech impediments. 
  • It's pretty natural to feel physical and emotional tension when you want to say something fluently and it's not happening, when we feel out of control. 
  • The more effort the more tension, embarrassment and negative feelings are attached to the very act of speaking interaction. 
  • The fourth element of the cycle is anxiety and anticipation of stuttering. It's the background emotional state where we filter all our actions through the lens of risk and "danger" of stuttering. 
  • This fourth element gets insecurity in the speaking structure to the whole new level. It's when we pick up the phone but we can't even say "H" in "Hello!" 
  • So, here's the full cycle:  insecure speaking structure —> speech impediments —> bad feelings about it —> anticipation and anxiety.
  • We want to see the cause-and-effect chain of the cycle. The anxiety is not coming out of the blue, our brain knows better. It's going to produce tension and anxiety as long as the speaking structure is insecure.
  • I put neurological predisposition in the very centre of this cycle. Insecure speaking structure comes from that predisposition. 
  • Neurological predisposition is not something we can fix but that doesn’t mean that we can’t unlock this cycle.
  • We can create a new cycle where we feel great about speaking interaction. A new cycle that starts to reproduce itself. 
  • For that, we want to bring security to the speaking structure and we want to feel proud of our improvement efforts. 
  • Largely, it comes down to openly and proactively using the training speech and creating new real-life experiences.
  • This way we can create a totally new emotional state where we actually like being the spotlight, express ourselves fully and enjoy speaking interaction.
  • Creating this new cycle is a path of acceptance. Acceptance of insecurity of the speaking structure. Acceptance that it's OK to make a mistake. Acceptance that it's OK to be different. 
  • Ironically, as long as we want to be "normal" we stutter. Only once we embrace being different that's when we finally can start feeling as a "regular" and "normal" person.

As an action item and as a way to visualize the cycle we talked about go to this page and download the image of the Stuttering Cycle. 

And if you want to go deeper into understanding stuttering better sign up to watch the first part of the Free From Stutter Masterclass.

https://www.freefromstutter.com/stuttering-cycle 

Full episode description: https://www.freefromstutter.com/podcasts/free-from-stutter-team/episodes/2147802429