In this article, I will briefly explain the different techniques that I have incorporated into my everyday speech, why I want to get help with my fluency as well as discussing how it feels when I stutter.
At present, I am receiving weekly speech therapy from both the NHS and privately. At the moment, my mindset on my speech is negative. I would much rather not say anything at all, rather than attempting to say a word that I know I might stammer on.
Therefore, it is my therapist’s task to help change my mindset and to get me thinking more positively. I believe they can really help me build my confidence back up, as well as improving my fluency techniques.
The reason I have taken on regular speech therapy is primarily because I want to improve my confidence. Communication plays an important role in virtually every job. I need to improve my confidence when speaking, as I am enrolling in September on an MA Sports Journalism course at Salford.
In terms of fluency, I have always struggled to pronounce plosive sounds, particularly when starting a sentence. Also, I predominantly struggle with the bilabial plosive sounds, which are words that begin with /b/ and /p/.
I also particularly struggle with the bilabial nasal sound /m/ and the voiced labio-velar sound /w/.
Below are the techniques that I use when coping with my stutter.
Note: The techniques that I use are primarily bad habits and wouldn’t necessarily be recommended by a speech therapist. The techniques that I refer to are also not the scientific terms that a speech therapist would use:
- Adding extra words into a sentence in order to get round the word that I think I may stutter on in order to gain fluency.
- Avoidance/changing words in a sentence that I know I will be unable to say.
- Lying. Sometimes it is just easier to tell a little white lie.
- Pausing. This is the main technique that my speech therapists are trying to encourage. When I stutter, I must stop immediately and not carry on trying to push the word out. When I stop, I must take a breath and try saying the word again.
- ‘Running up’. This is the technique that I use the most. I will use a sentence starter in order to get the fluency to say the word that I can’t.
- Talking faster. I have a tendency to rush my words in order to get them out when I think that I have fluency in spoken discourse.
Recently, I have turned down work experience opportunities to work at the Blackpool Gazette, as well as having opportunities at other regional newspapers, because I didn’t feel like I had the confidence to take part in spoken communication.
Every time that I stutter, my confidence drops just that little bit more. This, especially happens when I have to talk in a situation with individuals who I don’t know. This could be, for example in an interview scenario, ordering food at a restaurant, or even just talking with friends. When someone is unable to decipher what I am trying to say, my confidence drops dramatically.
My confidence is currently at an all time low. However, I am hopeful that – with the help of my speech therapists and encouragement from friends and family – I can turn this around and in the long term boost my confidence back up to where it needs to be!