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Jan
21

Speech Therapy, Stop Stuttering and A Widely Used Stuttering Treatment Technique

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I received another reader email, a question, which I thought you also might benefit from since this is somewhat a common question.

Here is the question taken directly from the email…

“…All stuttering and speech therapy programs I went through mainly focus on slowing down one’s speech. Do stutterers need to reduce/decrease their rate of speech/speaking or not? Do decreasing rate of speech/speaking is an essential part of therapy to attain fluency?…
S.S from India”

By the way, I use the initials on purpose to keep the name confidential in case the reader wouldn’t feel comfortable with his name used publicly.

Anyways, here is my take on the question…

The answer depends on the person, his/her stuttering characteristic
and speaking personality. I’ll tell you exactly why, but before
doing that let me ask you a couple questions.

1) Do you have times which you speak fluently and do NOT
experience any speech struggle?(e.g. talking to yourself in the
mirror or talking to your dog, or may be even talking to your
loved one)

2) Is your speech TOO FAST that it makes others hard to
understand what you say and communicate because you can’t
pronounce the words clearly?

If you answer question 2 as “yes” then I suggest you
to work on slowing down your speech. If you answer first question
as “yes” and second as “no” then I personally do not
think decreasing the rate of your speech is essential when it comes
to overcoming your stuttering.

When it comes to being a better communicator, speaking somewhat
slower is important… of course in case your speech is too FAST.
Watch politicians; how many politicians do you know who speak
like a machine gun? I think speaking “not too fast” is important
because it makes you and your communication “cooler” and more
effective/organized/well thought.

On the other hand, when it comes to stuttering and overcoming it…

If you have times that you speak with no speech struggle then it
is obvious that you “KNOW” how to speak fluently with your
current rate of speech. So I don’t think slowing down the rate of
your speech is essential. I am in favor of giving more PAUSES
rather than speaking with a slower speech rate.

Most FLUENCY SHAPING techniques forces you to slow down your
speech. I am sorry but I think those are not realistic…and
anything which is not REALISTICALLY APPLICABLE in the real
world situations cannot be in my “toolbox”. I personally never slow
down my speech unless I feel like it affects the effectiveness of
my communication.

However, as soon as I realize that my speech might give me
trouble, I start to use pauses more often.
For example, I start to use pauses in every 3-4 words.

Let’s say I have a job interview or an important business meeting
or it is the first day of class where I’ll need to introduce
myself.

Instead of saying “Hi everybody my name is Chazzler DiCyprian
and I am …”, I say “(pause)Hi everybody(pause) my name is(pause)Chazzler
DiCyprian(pause)and I am…”

See what I mean?! This is not decreasing the rate of your speech,
because you speak with the same rhythm and everything but you
just give more frequent PAUSES. This counteracts our tendency
to RUSH ourselves to speak and it enables us to resist TIME PRESSURE!

SLOWING down your speech so that every word you use in a sentence
takes you more time to pronounce might relax you a bit but
other than that it requires you to be totally isolated from being
a human being. Why?

Because we as human beings live with our EMOTIONS… and the way
we EXPRESS our emotions, feelings, thoughts,etc. is called
COMMUNICATION.

Now think about it. Can you express your feelings when you speak
like “slooowwllyy”? Speaking is about communication,and if you
feel excited, no matter what it always reflects to your voice
tone, your speech rate, etc. Speaking by slowing down your speech
is like messing with the core of being a human; expressing and
communicating feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc.

My suggestion to you is:
Don’t get OVERLY focused on your speech rate and the mechanisms
of your speech such as how to produce each sound. “Over control”
will drive you AWAY from your desired outcome.

If you can speak fluently and clearly in one context then that means
your rate of speech is good enough. Of course when it comes to
your communication skills it is a different story and we can talk
about that in another time but talking solely about stuttering,
the rate of your speech will not help you to attain fluency
unless you speak like a machine gun where everything is out of
your control and the first time you know what you say is when you
actually heard it after you said it!

So, the answer of your question changes depending on WHO we are
talking about. Some may need to slow down their speech rate
because it is almost impossible to take control of what you say
and how you say it. Think about it, how could you possibly know
what to say in an organized and eloquent way if you speak like a
machine gun and don’t even stop a second to THINK about your
content… let alone thinking about and concentrating on the
physical speaking tools you are using.

But again considering you have a “not too fast” speech rate, to me
speaking slower has no good value. Instead I suggest you to use
pauses. In fact, using PAUSES the RIGHT WAY is one of my TOP 3
STRONGEST and MOST HELPFUL speaking tools/techniques.

Besides, slowing down your rate makes your speech
monotone which also makes it boring and not effective.

Don’t focus on the way you produce the sounds, you already know
how you produce and make those sounds. The problem is finding what
CREATES BLOCKS and DISFLUENCIES when you attempt to say some of
those sounds.

I always mention that stuttering is NOT a definite, straight
forward problem. Even though stuttering has lots of common
elements, every stutterer has his/her own UNIQUE stuttering
iceberg. Therefore, stuttering needs to be addressed and
dissolved uniquely for each stutterer.

Stuttering needs to be UNDERSTOOD very well before you aim to
dissolve and overcome it. You need to go deep and analyze the
core of the problem. Only then you can start getting effective
and permanent results.

That is one of the reasons why “one fits all” speech therapy
approaches have NOT been able to meet our expectations. No two
stutterers are the same, therefore the solution cannot be the
same. For every single stutterer, a detailed CUSTOMIZED approach
is mandatory.

That is also why even with some effective speech management
programs people improve their speech but never seem to get pass
a level and reach “the desired outcome”!

If you invested on Stuttering Dissolution Multimedia Program you
already know what I exactly mean by that and HOW you can overcome
all those challenges in the most complete and effective way. This is
the package I wish I had when I first decided to do something about
my speech. It took me 6 MONTHS to put all those material
together… and I stand behind it! I know that you’ll find EVERYTHING
YOU NEED in there.

Stuttering Dissolution Multimedia Program

This turned out to be a LONG email but hope it answered your question.

Talk soon,

Chazzler

P.S: do not hesitate to send me any questions you have. I’ll
try to make some time and answer them by replying your email
directly or for more common questions answering them on Stuttering Dissolution Blog.

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