Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I have seen my speech therapist, Kay, 3 times, counting the intake evaluation. I am so glad I have seen Kay, as she has given me "tools" that I can call on when I am speaking, and especially if I am stuttering. They are ones I can practice as well, so that they will be more at the front of my mind if/when I need them. Assuming you are all interested, here they are:
1. Proactively I can plan to slow my speech down as I begin talking. For example, I am reading scripture in my church in February. When I begin to read, I will start to speak slowly.
2. If I feel I am about to stutter on a word, or many, I can "pull back" and then ease into the word. An example might be on the word "statistics," (I never could pronounce this word). As I feel the stutter coming on, I will soften, open, and slowly pronounce the word, lingering a tiny bit on the sounds, especially the first one ("st…."). This allows my breath to keep flowing, and my words flow on my breath.
3. Then finally, if I do stutter on a word, say "conference," I can stop, go back, and say the word again by easing into it--they call this "cancelling out the stutter."
My history of stuttering has been so linked in with my fears that I would stutter, which was shameful to me, that that in itself promoted stuttering. At those times, I am fearful, tight and gripping (not good for a nice flow of breath for my words to ride on). So now if I do occasionally stutter, instead of feeling fear and tightening up, I can say to myself, "Oh good, I get to practice my stuttering tools!" I guess I'd call that a little Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Well, I am a psychologist.