Intro to the DIY – Procedures

DIY“The stutterer must conquer his own problems. No one else can do it for him.” —Van Riper

You are like many of the 3 million stutterers in this country. Whatever you do you’ll have to be pretty much on your own with what ideas and resources you can use. ­

The first thing you must do is to admit to yourself that you need to change, that you really want to do something about the way you presently talk. This is tough but your commitment must be total; not even a small part of you must hold back. Don’t dwell longingly on your fluency in the magical belief that someday your speech blocks will disappear. There is no magic potion, no pink pill that will cure stuttering. Don’t sit around waiting for the right time for inspiration to come to you—you must go to it. You must see that the old solutions, the things you have done to help yourself over the years simply do not work. Ruts wear deep though, and you will find it difficult to change. Even though the way you presently talk is not particularly pleasant, it is familiar. It is the unknown from which we shrink. You must be willing to endure temporary discomfort, perhaps even agony, for the long range improvement you desire. No one is promising you a rose garden. Why not take the time and effort now for a lifetime of freedom from your tangled tongue? How can you do this? Break down the global problem of stuttering into its parts and then solve them one at a time. No one said it was easy. Shall we begin?                                                                                                                                    -Emerick

A valuable precondition for a successful therapy is the deep inner conviction of the stutterer in the manageability of his disorder, combined with a fighting spirit and a readiness to undergo hardships and deprivations if needed— hopelessness, pessimism and passivity being the deadliest foes to self-improvement.                                                                                                                                       -Freund

Experience may have caused you to be sceptical about any plan which claims to offer a solution. You may have tried different treatment ideas and been disappointed and disillusioned in the past.

There are no quick or magical answers to your stuttering. However acknowledge the truth “You are the only person on earth who can correct your stuttering.”

Don’t ever forget that even if you went to the most knowledgeable expert in the country, the correction of stuttering is a do-it-yourself project. Stuttering is your problem. The expert can tell you what to do and how to do it, but you are the one who has to do it. You are the only person on earth who can correct your stuttering.                                                                                                         -Starbuck

The stutterer must conquer his own problems—no one else can do the job for him.            -Van Riper

The importance of motivation cannot be exaggerated, and success or failure of therapy will depend on your commitment to follow through. It will not be easy, but it can be done

As per our discussion, you have the most difficulty when embarrassed and anticipating trouble. As one person expressed it, “if you can’t afford to stutter, you will.”

Whoa Facts: “On the whole people who stutter are highly intelligent and capable. Some famous people who stutter have been of above normal intelligence: Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, Jack Welch of General Electric, actor James Earl Jones, etc.”

There are factors that include information on subjects which can have a substantial influence on progress in therapy, such as:

  • Feelings and Emotions: The statement can be made that stuttering is largely what the stutterer does trying not to stutter. As you tense in reaction to your stuttering and your feelings about stuttering, you are likely to stutter more. It is true that the experience of being blocked or not being able to say what you want to say without stuttering can be really frustrating.

When you have little fear, you have less tension and probably will not have as much difficulty. When your fear is strong, it builds up tension in your speech mechanism and you will stutter more frequently and severely.

  • Tension and Relaxation:

The more one stutters, the more he fears certain words and situations. The more he fears the more he stutters. The more he stutters the harder he struggles. The more he struggles, the more penalties he receives, and the greater becomes his fear.”                                                                            -Van Riper

If you didn’t try to force trouble free speech, you wouldn’t stutter as much or at least you would stutter more easily.

How can tension be reduced?

Learning to relax can always benefit your speech. More practical than general relaxation is the relaxation of specific muscles. When you can locate the place where the most tension is, it is possible for you to learn to relax those muscles during speech. This will be particularly helpful. These exercises involve only certain muscles, the ones you use to control your lips, your tongue, your mouth, your breath and to some extent your vocal cords. When you are relaxed and alone, you can practice purposely tensing and then relaxing those muscles. It will certainly be beneficial if you can relax these muscles during speech.

  • Distractions: If there were some way to distract your mind from thoughts of fear so that you didn’t think about your stuttering, you would probably have no trouble.

“If he forgot he was a stutterer and simply went ahead on the assumption that he would have no difficulty, he would speak quite normally.”                                                                                     -Bloodstein

Try tricky procedures such as talking with sing-song inflection, metronome timing, talking while tapping a finger, swinging an arm, or stamping a foot, etc. Just thinking about how to use them when you anticipate trouble shifts your attention away from stuttering.

  • Enlisting help from others:

Sometimes friends with the best of intentions offer unsolicited advice about what they have heard or think you should do to overcome your stuttering. Although such advice may be unwise and unwanted, we suggest that it should be accepted gracefully even though it is based on an inadequate understanding of the problem.

*cough* That’s me talking about me.*cough* Let’s move on to much important things. Ahem.

5) Your determination or motivation: Becoming less sensitive to your difficulty will make it easier for you to retain sufficient presence of mind to carry through on the recommended procedures.

I think you are well aware of the bitter truth.  However this is not where it ends. You will have to be assertive and believe in yourself. I say that you can succeed, and that the pay-off is far greater than the cost. But it will take dedication on your part to change your attitude toward your problem. Stuttering is a stubborn handicap and it will not give up easily. Therapy is a challenge. The decision is yours.

“Men who have achieved in this world have been guided by inspiration, by vision, by faith in themselves and by faith in the unknown.”                                                                                                                                     -Wedberg

Please note– Borrow Thinking and grow rich by Napoleon Hill from me after you’re done with this DIY project!

Let get back to the main business.

This DIY project will involve reducing your fear of having difficulty by disciplining yourself to face your fears and become less sensitive about your stuttering. And it will include:

(1) Analyzing your stuttering behavior,

(2) Eliminating unnecessary or abnormal things you may be doing,

(3) Taking positive action to control your blocks.

It is suggested that you comply with 12 common sense helpful DIY activities or ground rules to improve your speech. They will be gradually shared with you, one by one with practical implementation of each rule for maximum benefit. These ground rules are designed to supply you with practical ways of coping with your difficulty. By complying with the recommendations of these rewarding ground rules, you will be concentrating on reducing both the severity and abnormality of your difficulty and reducing the number of your stutterings. And when you carry out the provisions of these guidelines, you will be gradually laying the groundwork for gaining positive control of your speech.

These rules will urge you to

(1) Talk more deliberately,

(2) Stutter more easily and openly,

(3) Make no effort to hide your stuttering,

(4) Stop all avoidance practices,

(5) Eliminate your secondary symptoms,

(6) Maintain normal eye contact

Your stuttering is something you do, not something that happens to you. It is your behavior—not a condition. There are mistakes you can correct with a little self-study and courage.                       -Sheehan

One particularly important rule will call for you to make a detailed study of what your speech mechanism is doing incorrectly when you stutter. In other words, find out specifically what you are doing when you are having trouble.

You should look upon your stuttering as something you have learned to do—not as something which is wrong with you or which happens to you. You should try to substitute normal speech behavior of which you are basically capable for the undesirable ways of reacting which you have learned.

You’ve got to examine and analyze the act of speaking to see what errors you’re making. You must be making mistakes somewhere or you would be speaking fluently. What are you doing that make your speech come out as stuttering?                                                                                                                                            -Starbuck

For some stutterers simply identifying stuttering as they are being produced is sufficient to enable them to start modifying these very same instances of stuttering.                                                                         -Conture




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