A Speech Therapist Can Help You Overcome Your Stutter
If you’ve ever been called upon to deliver a speech — a eulogy at a family funeral, or perhaps a presentation at school or work — you know how difficult it can be to stand up in front of a group of people you hardly know and deliver a well-timed, well-paced public presentation. Imagine the fear and anxiety experienced by the typical person placed in such a position and then increase it tenfold for somebody who experiences speech disfluency. Fluency, the feature of speech that describes the smoothness, continuity, and rate of speech, is often the first thing listeners notice in a speaker, and a surprising number of people experience one or many disfluencies as part of their daily speech. If you notice that your speaking pattern contains breaks, stoppages, false-starts, non-lexical vocables (such as “uh” or “um”), or other irregularities, you may shy away from public speaking altogether. What is important to remember is that fluency disorders are chronic conditions that can be reduced or alleviated with the right combination of patience, practice, and support from a professional speech therapist.
Stuttering, the most common fluency disorder, is a chronic communication disorder that affects a speaker’s ability to master speech fluencies. Stuttering is often characterized by syllable, word, phrase, or sound repetitions, elongation of syllables, stoppages of airflow, as well as frequent interjections or revisions that affect a person’s fluency of speech. The speech therapy experts at Simone Friedman SLS believe that the characteristic repetitions and prolongations present in stuttering are characteristic coping mechanisms a speaker uses to force a word out. In fact, these coping mechanisms can be understood and overcome through speech language pathology and occupational speech therapy, allowing many speakers to overcome the following speech challenges:
- Stuttering or repetitions of vocables
- Hesitations (lasting over a second)
- Speech blockages
- Interjections (saying “um” or “er”)
- Revisions (such as going back and rephrasing)
- Disordered breathing patterns
- Physical movements
It is important to note that, with the exception on blockages, everyone suffers from minor or infrequent speech disfluencies. However, if you notice that
- the disfluency is notably more severe,
- the frequency of the disfluency is greater,
- the disfluencies carry extra tension, and/or
- the disfluencies are regarded as characteristically stuttering
you may be in need of speech therapy to correct these irregularities. A speech-language pathologist at Simone Friedman SLS can help individuals who stutter work through the complex negative emotions that surround stuttering.
A pathologist will help you reduce fears associated with speaking, and show you techniques and strategies to improve the overall fluency of your speech.The programs used at Simone Friedman SLS are geared toward the elimination or reduction of stuttering in everyday speech situations and the development of self-management procedures that allow the speaker to address problems that may arise in the future.