Recover From Stuttering - Airflow is the Key

Newsletter 46: December 2013

Constant airflow is vital for our survival. We need airflow to ensure effective functioning of all our body systems. Human existence depends on the inbreath and outbreath cycle. This airflow is the rhythm of life – it needs to be continual, smooth and relaxed.

We can compare ourselves to an internal combustion engine. What happens if you pull the air cleaner off the motor and block the air intake pipe when it’s running? - the motor stops running. As with us, our motor would stop running if we blocked the air intake.

To say that airflow is the key, or that management of airflow is the key, to the control of our fluency is a big understatement. Fluent speakers talk with continual, smooth and relaxed breathing. They drop sounds onto rhythmical airflow without thought of the complicated process at work. Many people who stutter (PWS) find verbal speech difficult, with blocks and/or repetitions common occurrences. When communicating verbally they tend to have breathing patterns that are not rhythmical. That, coupled with cognitive issues, can lead to obvious dysfluency.

In terms of a therapy program, when using Smooth / Prolonged Speech the importance of ‘the pause’ is paramount. The phrase-pause technique is designed to retrain the PWS to use effective rhythm-of-life breathing patterns through periods of verbal communication. No matter what talking speed (syllables per minute) the PWS is using, it is very important that the phrase-pause rhythm is maintained.

Remember the motor in our cars. Block the air intake pipe on the motor, and the motor coughs and will eventually cut out. Give it an even supply of air and it will run smoothly. Like running the motor, our vocal chords require the smooth flow of air for them to operate efficiently.

The Ezy-Speech technique relies on uninterrupted airflow. Fluent speakers have smooth airflow and, to them, speaking is as easy as breathing. Speech is simply the dropping of the sound on the outgoing breath in a natural rhythm. We cannot make a sound without airflow.

For Smooth Speech to be effective, it must be rhythmical (phrase-pause, phrase-pause). The pause is crucial and is used to generate the airflow that carries verbal sound. If the pausing is uneven or inappropriately placed in the body of speech, then it can lead to uneven airflow and stuttering.

The pause - the breath - especially targeting the breathing to the lower part of the lungs (the diaphragm), is what drives our technique. Airflow is the key. With an effective fluency technique and cognitive retraining, fluent speech is achievable.

Ezy-Speech Affirmation of the Month


I speak with smooth, rhythmical airflow.

Merry Christmas from The Ezy-Speech Team

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