DIY Rule Number 03

Stutter openly and do not try to hide the fact that you are a stutterer.

Yes, I am a stutterer, and I hope that it will help any stutterer who may read this to know that I was such a severe stutterer that I could not put two meaningful words together until I was twenty four years old. Do I still stutter? Oh, I call myself a stutterer because I still have small interruptions in my speech now and then. But, there’s another more important reason why I call myself a stutterer. I’m not trying to hide the fact anymore! —Rainey

 

The third therapy guideline calls for you to adopt an attitude of being willing to openly admit and not hide the fact that you are a stutterer. You may ask why you should do that when you are trying to not be one. In order to make headway, it is advisable that you first adopt an attitude of being willing to talk frankly to others about your problem. By doing so, you will be lessening the fear of difficulty you have when talking.

This fear of difficulty usually builds up tension or tightness in your speech organs which aggravates your trouble. Unfortunately, one’s speaking apparatus operates in such a delicate, complex and complicated manner that it is most difficult for it to operate under tension. So the frequency and severity of your difficulty is usually in proportion to the amount of fear and tension you have

          You will remain a stutterer as long as you continue to pretend not to be one.  –Sheehan

 

Where does all that anxiety and worry get you? Nowhere. It only makes matters worse since it just builds up more fear and tension. So what can or should be done about it? Even if you are not obsessed with hiding the fact that you stutter, it will be helpful to get rid of what worry you do have on this point. The answer is simple but not easy. You can counteract a lot of that worry and concern by just telling people that you are a stutterer and stop pretending that you are a normal speaker. You should not shirk this assignment. Make occasions to freely admit to those with whom you associate and with whom you normally talk that you are a stutterer and be willing to discuss it with anyone.

This will take courage on your part, but it needs to be done to reduce your sensitivity. Changing the mental approach toward your problem cannot be done easily and quickly, but the more you work at it, the more you can accomplish. It will pay off to do so. It is no disgrace to be a stutterer anyway. You may think so, but you are wrong if you do. Please don’t allow your feelings to defeat your efforts.

Voluntary Stuttering

Now I am going to ask you to do a strange thing: to stutter on purpose. I know it sounds weird but it works. Why? Because it helps drain away the fear (what have you got to hide if you are willing to stutter on purpose?) and it provides a lot of experience practicing the act of stuttering in a highly voluntary and purposeful manner. The more you stutter on purpose, the less you hold back; and the less you hold back, the less you stutter.

When working on this third rule, it is suggested that you be willing to try experimenting with stuttering voluntarily. Stutterers can usually get some relief from fear and tension by doing this. If you deliberately stutter, you are directly attacking the tension which is aggravating your problem by voluntarily doing that which you dread.

Voluntary stuttering, sometimes called fake or pseudo stuttering, should take the form of easy, simple repetitions or short prolongations of the first sound or syllable of a word or the word itself. It should only be done on non-feared words in a calm and relaxed manner.

Do not imitate your own pattern of stuttering but stutter smoothly and easily in a different way. asked to study and learn about your own pattern, but it is better to stutter in an easy and relaxed way when doing it purposely. Whatever type of easy stuttering you decide to use, you must be sure to keep it entirely voluntary. It is not advisable to let it get out of control and become involuntary. Experiment by talking slowly and deliberately with easy repetitions or prolongations that differ from your usual pattern. It will give you a sense of self-mastery when you can control the uncontrollable. Start when alone by reading aloud and calmly, making easy repetitions or prolongations. Then later, work it into conversations with others. Make up assignments for yourself in which you are required to stutter voluntarily. For instance, go into a store and ask the clerk the cost of different items, faking blocks on some words. Make the blocks easy but obvious. Maintain good eye contact while stuttering and be sure to purposely stutter only on words you do not fear. Voluntary stuttering can help eliminate some of your shame and embarrassment. The more you can follow through and practice doing this, the easier it will become.

Aim toward the goal of being willing to stutter without becoming emotionally involved.

Work at it for several reasons. It is one way of admitting that you are a stutterer. It is also a way of finding out how people react to stuttering and will help you realize that they are usually kind and tolerant. And it will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you have the courage to tackle your problem in an obvious way.

It is also helpful if you inject a little humor or even are willing to joke about your stuttering. Doing this also helps reduce sensitivity. It is helpful to develop a sense of humor about your difficulty.

Your willingness to stutter, particularly in a modified way, is a very powerful aspect of therapy that can help lead to a most lasting and satisfying change in fluency.

Avoidance is the heart and core of stuttering. Avoidance behavior—holding back—is essential for the maintenance of stuttering behavior. Stuttering simply cannot survive a total weakening of avoidance, coupled with a concerted strengthening of approach tendencies. If there is no holding back there is no stuttering.                                                                                                                                       -Sheehan

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