If you, or someone you know stutters, you are not alone. Over 3 million people in the US stutter and over 68 million world wide.
Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks. An individual who stutters knows what he or she would like to say but has trouble producing a normal flow of speech. These speech disruptions may be accompanied by secondary behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips.
In speech therapy, we teach our students to use their "speech tools". We often reference a "speech tool box" which contains various strategies. Some tools work for some children and some do not. We experiment with different fluency tools in speech therapy to help improve our speech.
Here are some helpful tools our students use to increase their fluency:
- focus on your belly breathing
- run your words together (ride the stream of air)
- focus on the rhythm of your speech
- use easy bumps or stretchy sounds
- speak at a medium speed
- chunk your thoughts or add pauses
- use gentle sounds and keep your tension low
- make a plan before you talk
- when you get stuck, stop and re-start with less tension
To learn more about stuttering, here are some great websites for you to check out:
Stuttering Homepage: http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/
Personal Stories from People Who Stutter: http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/PWSspeak/PWSspeak.html
National Stuttering Association: http://www.nsastutter.org/
(click on CHILDREN or TEENS on the left side to find links about kids who stutter and fun facts)
The Stuttering Foundation: http://www.stutteringhelp.org/