Can You Use Stuttering Therapy Techniques and Still Sound Natural?
Are you a person who stutters? Have you learnt your smooth speech techniques but something still doesn’t feel or sound, right? And because of this, you have stopped using your techniques?
Or maybe you are curious about Stuttering Therapy Techniques and how they can help your speaking.
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Let’s go back to the beginning and take a look at what stuttering is, your treatment options, and how to assist with your speech naturalness.
Stuttering Therapy Techniques Are Based On Research
Those who have a stutter know this all too well, but, often members of the public may be misinformed about what a stutter is and isn’t.
Sometimes your family, close friends and even strangers, may feel inspired to coach you on how to stop stuttering.
We figure they want to help you. They see you struggling. But the problem is, there are better ways to help your stuttering.
Stuttering Therapy Techniques are more effective than advice from strangers.
Prompts to “slow down” or to just “spit it out” or “calm down” are not based on research. They actually will not stop you stuttering. So if you are feeling frustrated by these comments, perhaps it’s time to advocate for yourself and get your stuttering therapy technique stack down pat.
Stuttering Therapy Techniques Pivot Around What The Researchers Know So Far About Stuttering
Stuttering is defined as a speech disorder where the flow of speech or rhythm is interrupted (Ward, 2017). Many TV shows or movies depict a stutter as repeated sounds (t-t-tuesday) or repeated words (but-but-but) BUT, there are many other interruptions that occur in stuttering. These may include blocks, where a person looks and sounds like they are stuck, or prolongations where a sound is stretched out (Ward, 2017). We don’t know exactly what causes stuttering, but it is thought to potentially be a disorder of the speech timing and planning of speaking. Strong genetic links are also suspected.
In fact, while we are on this topic there is a very big study happening right now that you could personally assist with. If you are a person who stutters, check out https://www.geneticsofstutteringstudy.org.au/ to help progress research into the causes of stuttering.
Stuttering Therapy Techniques Are Designed To Address Dysfluencies
Which is Your Pathway?Stutter more fluently or Speak more fluently?
Pathways to Managing Stuttering
Different approaches can be taken to assist your speech fluency IF you choose to. The two main treatment pathways include speak more fluently OR stutter more fluently. Both methods are evidenced-based and have shown positive outcomes. As always, not all approaches suit all people, and it is essential to communicate your goals so that the appropriate pathway can be taken.
Stutter More Fluently
Stutter more fluently aims to modify moments of stuttering so that it is not as effortful and targets negative thinking patterns concerning stuttering. One significant component of this approach is to reduce the fear of stuttering by removing any avoidant behaviours, because the more you stress, the more you stutter and vice versa (Van Riper, 1973 in Ward, 2017).
Speak More Fluently
Whereas, speak more fluently uses a range of Stuttering Therapy Techniques to speak with increased fluency. This is the approach we use at Voice Science.
This approach is based on operant conditioning and the belief that fluency can be achieved by using motor control techniques (Ward, 2017). Speech restructuring, using smooth speech techniques, is an incredibly effective evidence-based method for reducing the frequency and severity of stuttering behaviours. However, some clients find that when they use their Stuttering Therapy Techniques, they do not sound NATURAL. Research has indicated that following smooth speech intervention; clients may sound breathy, monotone, slightly slurred or have impacted speech rhythm (Ward, 2017). So what does this result in?… Relapse and a hesitancy to use the strategies in day to day life.
The Key to Smooth Speech
The key to smooth speech is to master your Stuttering Therapy Techniques in isolation and then implement them with naturalness goals (Ward, 2017). Your clinician will help you to track your naturalness as part of therapy. Goal setting will also help you to work towards sounding natural during everyday tasks.
What Are Your Speech Fluency Goals?
Take a moment to think about your goals. Perhaps you need to use a more exaggerated version of your stuttering therapy techniques techniques to control your stutter. While this may sound slightly unnatural, Cream, Onslow, Packman and Llewellyn (2003) found that some participants were happy to sound unnatural to ensure that they did not stutter. Whereas for others, sounding unnatural was not socially acceptable for them. Essentially, smooth speech techniques are your toolbox and provide you with the knowledge to control the way you sound.
Insuring Against Relapse
6 Factors That May Be Affecting Your Naturalness
2. Word stress
3. Voice Quality
Sneaky Voice Tip… If you want to sound more authoritative, work towards a resonant voice quality and reduce your vocal fry.
4. Intended Vocabulary
5. Eye Contact
Communication Is Not Just About Fluency!
- Voice Therapy
- Social Communication Strategies
- Elocution Strategies
- Pronunciation Training
After reading this blog, maybe you feel a refresher session is in need, or are worried that you do not sound natural. Hopefully, this has inspired you to consider smooth speech, so reach out if you have any questions.
Book an assessment appointment today if you are new to Voice Science and we will provide you with the best evidence pathway.
Book a refresher session here if you are already one of our clients.
Cream, A., Onslow, M., Packman, A., & Llewellyn, G. (2003). Protection from harm: the experience of adults after therapy with prolonged‐speech. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 38(4), 379-395.
Erickson, S., Block, S., Menzies, R., O’Brian, S., Packman, A., & Onslow, M. (2016). Standalone Internet speech restructuring treatment for adults who stutter: A phase I study. International journal of speech-language pathology, 18(4), 329-340.
O’Brian, S., Carey, B., Lowe, R., Onslow, M., Packman, A., & Cream, A. (2018). The Camperdown program for stuttering: Treatment manual. Australian stuttering research centre.
Ward, D. (2017). Stuttering and cluttering: frameworks for understanding and treatment. New York, NY: Routledge.
Winner, M. G., & Crooke, P. (2016). Good intentions are not good enough. Santa Clara, CA: Think Social Publishing Inc.