I know that you are not going to want to hear this, but sometimes it is impossible to eliminate speech issues. Everyone messes up, and while most do not think anything of a mumbled word or stuttered syllable, those kinds of people don’t understand your frustration. Nobody shames them; nobody stares at them. They will say things like, “There are plenty of people who fix stuttering problems. Maybe you should just go to the doctor.” Maybe you would, except that receptionists have a tendency to hang up right as you are trying to set an appointment. They’ll say you’ll have to come in to the office, because they can’t understand you. What do they think is going to happen; their judging eyes will somehow make it easy to talk?
Even though it is frustrating, there is still hope. Even if you cannot completely eliminate speech issues, many people learn how to manage them. Some of the basic methods do not even require you to leave your home. It should be noted that these are only a few ways to treat stuttering, and a speech pathologist may be able to give you specific guidance into stuttering treatment.
Two Basic Ways to Treat Stuttering
Altering Speech Patterns: The most common piece of advice when one is looking to fix stuttering problems is to adjust the way that you speak. People who stutter are not any less intelligent than those who do not, but it is theorized that a stutter can be caused when the brain’s nervous network is overloaded with signal.
Imagine that your mind is trying to find a file that tells your mouth how to form a word. If you are frantically searching through the files, it is possible that you will miss what you are looking for. One simple way to alleviate this cause is to slow the pace in which you speak. Your mind will be able to relax and better find the file that it needs to tell your mouth how to pronounce a sound.
Emotional Support: Anxiety is also a common trigger for a stutter. Research shows that a stuttering treatment should have a component that helps improve the emotional state of those afflicted. Anxiety, frustration, and anger all overload the brain with signals that can interfere with its ability to process correct phonetic sounds. When a stutter occurs, it exacerbates the emotions and makes it even harder to stop. Being comfortable with how you speak is one of the foundational pieces required to eliminate speech issues.
Acceptance: The last of the three major tactics involves accepting the problem in order to alleviate any stress that is involved with it. This does not address stuttering directly, but by being comfortable with how you speak it can relax the mind and allow clearer signals to pass, which ultimately mitigates major aspects of the problem. People who primarily utilize this method will often relapse in to fits of stuttering when they become emotionally distraught. In order to best treat this problem, is to combine each into a plan that works as a whole.
Comprehensive Method to Fix Stuttering Problems
While the above methods are great ways to manage a stutter, it will likely take deliberate effort and is not the best approach to truly change how you communicate with others. Speech Modification Therapy is one of the many ways to treat stuttering. It takes these two, basic, core components and integrates them into a four-step approach with an aim at not only changing your speech patterns, but also promoting acceptance from everyone you interact with. It is highly recommended that this therapy be undertaken with a professional in order to achieve the best results.
Identification: The first step involves trying to figure out what sounds or words frequently cause a stutter. Most speech pathologists will run tests to pinpoint problem areas and use this data to structure the rest of the therapy. The goal of this step is not fix stuttering problems, but to see all of the areas in which it affects.
Desensitization: Once the trigger sounds have been identified, the patient should practice making the sounds and stuttering with them. While this may seem counter productive to a stuttering treatment, it allows the patient to become more comfortable with the words rather than trying to avoid them altogether. Once a patient has become comfortable with the initial phases of this step, they will want to highlight the issue to people when they talk. This allows individuals to be more understanding while communicating with the patient.
Modification: This is the first place in which a patient will actively try to manage their stutter. There are two major ways to treat stuttering through modification. Instead of trying to force the word, patients should stop and take a short pause before attempting the sound again. If the word is incredibly challenging, this step also teaches stepping words that can help prepare the patient to correctly vocalize the intended word. At first, the breaks may be frequent and long though eventually, they can become second nature. Modification does not intend to completely eliminate speech issues, but rather help people control the problems when they arise.
Stabilization: This Is not so much of a separate step onto itself, as the continual practice of the above steps. The biggest change is the shift in the patient’s mindset that they no longer are afflicted by stutters, but they are rather someone who stutters on occasion. Eventually, it will get to the point, where they will not feel the need to identify themselves as having a stuttering problem.
Since this is a comprehensive therapy that incorporates many different aspects, it is important to work with a licensed professional. They will have the experience and education to avoid situations that can make the problem worsen. They will provide you with support and be able to adjust your goals when it becomes apparent that you have grasped a previously problematic sound, or if a new stutter manifests. A professional will also know if this treatment is not right for you and will have experience with many ways to treat stuttering.