DIY Rule Number 04

Identify and eliminate any unusual gestures, facial contortions, or body movements which possibly you may exhibit when stuttering or trying to avoid difficulty.

This does not refer to what you do incorrectly with your muscles of speech which will be carefully investigated later.

Secondary symptoms in your case, as per my observation include head jerks, eye blinking or closings, hand or arm movements, foot tapping. Please add more(if any).

Obviously, they are not necessary for the production of speech. These are bad habits which possibly you may have fallen into, thinking they would help you speak more easily but in fact they only add to the abnormality of your stuttering.

Such irregular movements may have started because at one time they seemed to help you get through a block or enabled you to avoid trouble. But now they may have become part of the stuttering itself. You will be happier when you eliminate any such unnecessary and unattractive actions. You need to get rid of any such habits you do have. It is essential to learn to modify and control them. But before you can tackle them, of course, you need to find out what you do. This involves observing yourself when you stutter or when you are trying not to. These habits are usually automatic and involuntary, and you may not even realize when such symptoms are occurring.

Watch out for any unnecessary movements you make when stuttering or when expecting to. Disregard any normal gestures but make sure they are normal and not used to beat time with the speech attempt or to jerk out of your stutter.

The job is to think and work in a positive manner. The job involves coming to realize that these head jerks, eye blinks, tongue clicks…are not helping to get those words out. They are preventing the words from being said strongly, aggressively and fluently.                                                                –Rainey

Note any or all irregular movements (or postures) associated with your stuttering. Don’t skip any of them. To double check make phone calls which will be particularly embarrassing and will put pressure on you. After each situation, make a list of symptoms in your workbook. You may be surprised to find that you are doing something you would not do if you didn’t stutter or expect to. So while you are working on this rule, make a point of observing yourself as carefully as possible. Of course, if possible, it is even more advantageous in studying your secondary symptoms to have videotapes made of the way you talk. This enables you to both see and hear yourself at the same time.

Getting rid of any secondary symptoms you may have should be a definite goal. In doing so, you will be getting rid of crutches which may have originally helped you get the word out but which can give no permanent relief.

How to Work on Secondary Symptoms

It may not be easy. Sometimes such a habit can be so compulsive that it’s almost impossible to stop.1 But you can stop it if you make up your mind to do so. You can’t stop stuttering by will power, but if you are determined, you can get rid of secondary symptoms by disciplining yourself to do so. But one needs to go about it in a systematic manner. Unfortunately, there are no universal secondary symptoms which are common to all stutterers. You might blink your eyes, swing your arms, protrude your lips, jingle your coins, blow your nose, or make some kind of timing movement, etc. It could be anything.

let’s start by selecting some movement you make which you would like to correct. Even if there is more than one, it is better to work on only one at a time. One way to start bringing it under control is to consciously make such movements purposely while not talking.

  1. The habit of swinging your arm in trying to talk, then it is suggested that you practice swinging your arm intentionally while alone and not talk-ing. And then start talking to yourself and swinging your arm but varying its speed and action so you can feel yourself consciously doing it in a different way. Practice taking control of these habits in anxiety-producing situations until you know you are the master and can skip it altogether. The basic idea is to make the behavior voluntary while it is occurring—then to vary it voluntarily— then to curtail its duration—then to stutter on the word without it. You can stop these mannerisms if you are determined to do so.

Get rid of these artificial devices! This may seem impossible at first, but depend on your own natural resources and you will find that in the final analysis you will be greatly rewarded.                    –Barbara

  1. The habit of tapping his foot while stuttering, sort of beating time to the word or syllable. To find out how bad it was and exactly what you are doing. Pick out some speaking situations and count the number of times you tapp your foot when stuttering. It will be very difficult, but you will finally be able to get a count and discover when they usually come. For eg., on certain words or sounds when  was under stress.

Then experiment with over-tapping more than you ordinarily would. Also practice tapping purposely when you do not stutter, although be particularly careful to be sure it is done voluntarily. The idea, of course, is to bring your compulsive tapping under conscious control. Then you work on varying the way you tap while stuttering by doing it differently than you ordinarily would. You will plan ahead of time how you would vary it so that you could have the feeling of it being under control.

You need to understand what you are doing before you can expect to win the battle against any such habit. As you gain this knowledge, then start to vary your behavior. It is always helpful to purposely act out your symptom (whatever it may be) when you are not stuttering.

If you forget and find that you are not in control, then start over again. As you talk, voluntarily vary the way you do it on purpose. Practice taking over control in anxiety producing situations until you know you are the master and can skip it altogether. The basic idea is to make the behavior voluntary while it is occurring—then to vary it voluntarily—then to shorten its duration—then to stutter on the word without it. You can stop these mannerisms if you are determined to do so.

Pay enough attention to the things you do that interfere with your normal speech, the things that you do that you call your stuttering, to understand that they are unnecessary and to change or eliminate them.                                                                                                      –Johnson



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