Recover From Stuttering - You Don't Have to Say a Word to Practise Your Fluency Technique

Newsletter 31: September 2012

Therapy methods aimed at improving fluency for people who stutter (PWS) are largely about using regulated speech systems that allow us to form fluent speech instead of stuttering. The idea of practising these systems in silence doesn't really make sense? Or does it?

The standard way we practise our fluency technique can include:
  • sitting around a table face to face using perfect technique at an agreed rate
  • having a Skype session where two or more like-minded people agree to engage in solid verbal practice
  • having a phone buddy system where you phone each other on alternating days to have 5 minutes of perfect practice to help set you up for the day
  • practise out loud for 10 minutes in the morning
  • sit in silence

You may think that all those make perfect sense except perhaps the last one! How is sitting in silence going to help anyone develop their fluency technique? Actually, research has shown through brain scans that silent practice on either physical or verbal processes can be as effective or even more effective in laying down stronger neural pathways for that said process.

Perhaps you find yourself sitting on a train or a bus on the way to work. You may be thinking, 'I don't feel confident with my fluency at the moment.' This is probably a situation that's not conducive to verbal practice. As there is strength in silence, practise in silence. Use your technique as you were instructed:
  • draw a slow in-breath into the diaphragm
  • drop the sound onto the outgoing airflow
  • meter the syllables evenly across the airflow
  • continue the airflow after the sound ends
  • repeat the process

The only difference to this would be not to make a sound. Imagine the sounds, syllables in your mind, imagine the sounds are coming from your mouth, only they're not. Try this silent practice. It's empowering, confidence-building and strengthens technique.

Many of us have wonderful strategies to help us with the management of our fluency. The maintenance of our technique and the ability to have it right there when you need it doesn't just happen, you have to work for it. You know the old sayings: 'If you don't use it you'll lose it', 'Practice makes perfect', 'The more you train in practice the less you bleed in battle.' All these quotations are true to a lesser or larger extent, depending on the way you think or how important it is to you. Let's face it, if practice is low on your list of priorities then you can't really complain about the fluency technique not working. How many times do you hear, 'I spent thousands of dollars on a therapy program and I'm still stuttering'?

If you put time and effort into your technique then the payoff can be huge in terms of fluency management. When you can see that the effort is beginning to translate into confidence and results, fluency management can be self-perpetuating. You may even become a fluency gym junky.

Ezy-Speech Affirmation of the Month


Regular practice helps me achieve my fluency goals.

The Ezy-Speech Team

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