There’s a story behind every person that has a stutter. For the sake of quick reading, I’ll use the PWS abbreviation here.
If this is your first time investigating stuttering, you’ll see the abbreviation used frequently. PBS stands for People Who Stutter. Or Person Who Stutters. Depending on the context of the author.
How a stutter develops
• It starts as a behaviour loop
Often this is in early childhood but there are instances with adults who can develop a sudden-onset stutter, often after some form of head trauma or even extreme psychological stress.
Getting the words to flow is next to impossible. From one sentence to the next, there’s a hiccup midway. A pause, a stutter, some form of speech disruption that interrupts the flow of speech mid-sentence.
• The worst stutter develops in childhood and carries on into adulthood
There can be support from a professional speech therapist, even intervention from parents trying to help a child get past a stutter to begin to speak fluently.
It’s hard on parents though because they know the child is suffering. They want the same as the rest of us from life. To move away from pain points and into a comfort zone.
That comfort zone is found in solitude. Away from social circles, away from hearing they are speaking wrong, and away from people reminding them they’re doing something wrong.
Kids learn fast and the intervention of speech therapy, while it is a good thing, it’s also enforcing in the child’s mind that something’s not quite right with them and they need fixing.
School doesn’t help with other kids pointing out the flaws. Some kids may tell you of the hassles, others will choose to keep it to themselves.
We all know what school is like. There’s usually at least one problem child who will go out of the way to victimise the different kid, no matter the indifference. Speech, appearance, colour of skin, how they dress etc.
The stigma is attached from school days and shape how children feel about their stutter, which is ingrained in their minds and carried into adulthood.
• Low self-esteem trashes any chance of getting rid of stutter
The mind is a science in itself. Research study after study holds no answer.
You have to look into the successes of others who have overcame a stutter and learn the different techniques.
When you do though, know that there isn’t a single one going to help you. It’s all about unique situations and trying a combination of techniques to strike the right balance.
The more you try, the more you fail, the more you believe the stutter defines you. It’s no longer a fluency issue, but a personality issue. Some even go as far as to describe it as a disability.
It’s not exactly what I’d call a disability but it certainly puts you at a disadvantage in life.
• Take control with PMA to break the stuttering loop
The only way to turn things around is to get rid of the disadvantage and use fluency shaping methods alongside mental exercise to develop a super strong positive mental attitude.
A positive mental attitude is what will help every PWS break down barriers by first accepting the fluency is a work in progress, and only a part of their personality and not something to define them.
Every single person I know personally and others I’ve learned from and also read about in groups who have shaped fluent speech, have all had a strong positive mental attitude.
Without that, it’s likely not worth trying any fluency shaping methods as it’s likely to get dismal results.
Develop a mind of positivity, believe you can and then give it your best go to break the psychological loop of stuttering.
Image courtesy of getlighthouse.com.