Hello, my name is Garrett and I have just celebrated my eighteenth birthday. I was born in Merced, California and now reside with my family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Along with reading, I also enjoying running, being with my family, and I am a diehard NASCAR fan.
Because the help I sought in becoming fluent is proving successful, my therapist thought perhaps others could benefit from reading about my experience and encouraged me to answer the following questions for the reader of this article.
What did I think about myself before beginning therapy?
Before I started therapy a year ago, I did not really think of myself as a stutterer, per se. I knew that there were instances where I really could not get sounds out, but other than that, I really just thought of myself as having no problems at all. My circle of friends, from the age of 11 when my stuttering began, never drew attention to my disfluency. Because I was unaware of my own stuttering and was not exposed to it through other people, I knew very little or nothing about this problem. Through my therapy, I have learned much.
What strategy has worked the best?
The one that has probably helped me the most is taking a deep breath from the diaphragm before speaking. It has especially helped with words that begin with “wh”, “y”, “h”, etc. Along with that, it has assisted me in slowing down my speech and making it more even.
Easy contact and easy onset, along with the one above, have most likely helped me as well. If I get nervous, I tend to press harder with my lips and tongue. So, with the easy onset and contact, I am able to “get the sounds out” during occasional stressful moments.
What advice would I give to others?
I would most likely just explain some of the misconceptions of stuttering and present the latest scientific findings.
These are only a few of the concepts and strategies I’ve learned since starting therapy, and I will continue to use and practice them well into the future. Though I have provided only brief explanations, I hope they will help and encourage any who might be reading this. I offer these four words in closing: “Keep working at it.”
Garrett is a fluency client of Maureen Eaton, M.A., CCC-SLP.