Cure For Stuttering
Does a cure for stuttering sound too good to be true? You’ve probably tried for all your life to overcome your stuttering, so it’s normal to be skeptical.
But in order to stop your stuttering, you need to believe that it is possible to do so first. If you don’t think it’s possible, you’re limiting yourself.
There are many different stuttering treatments that can help you to reduce or overcome your stuttering. For a better orientation, check out this quick overview:
- Fluency shaping therapy
This is a very lengthy and difficult process of overcoming stuttering, and I don’t recommend it. Basically, you’ll be trained in a speech clinic to speak differently, by stretching vowels and consonants, breathing control techniques and by training your tongue, your lips and your jaw. If that sounds like a workout for you, it pretty much is. It’s very time- and energy-consuming, and the result is not really what most people want. With fluency shaping therapy, most people learn how to use intense control to speak stutter-free. However, in many cases people end up stutter-free, but their speaking still sounds very unnatural. When other people listen to people who overcame their stuttering with fluency shaping therapy, they often have a feeling that this person “sounds weird”.
- Stuttering modification therapy
This method was invented in the 70s, and is not really aimed to stop stuttering, but rather to make you feel more relaxed and at ease about your stuttering. If you simply want to be more at easy with your stuttering problem and not be bothered by it so much, but don’t mind staying a stutterer, then this is your treatment of choice.
- Electronic fluency devices
Most of these devices are basically gadgets based on interesting ideas. Using technology, the way a stutterer hears himself is altered, and this can sometimes cause a change in their stuttering habits. However, any objective study found that results of these devices are rather random and unreliable.
- Anti-stuttering medications
I highly recommend staying away from stuttering drugs. It’s natural for human beings to wish that simply taking a pill or getting an injection could solve our problem, but all scientifically-accepted studies have shown that this kind of medication is largely either ineffective, or the side-effects of taking that medication are so severe that it’s not worth it.
- Support Groups and the Self-Help Movement
It’s good to express your feelings and get things of your chest, so I do recommend that you connect with other stutterers. Notice though that some of these support groups can be a bit doctrinal – they are sometimes communities of people who decided that stuttering can’t be cured and will discourage you from believing that you can overcome your stuttering.
- Diaphragmatic breathing
Diaphragmic or costal breathing is a method that can be useful to learn. It will help you in situations where you want to avoid stuttering – it’s kind of like an instant “stuttering minimizer”. However, it’s not a cure for stuttering, but rather a very good coping mechanism.
- Stuttering Hypnosis
You probably know that there is no physiological cause of stuttering. There’s nothing medically wrong with you – the reason for your stuttering resides in your mind, or more precisely: in your subconscious mind. Stuttering is outside of conscious control, and hypnosis is an effective way to make subconscious changes.
There is some scientific research1 that genetics do play a role in stuttering – a certain gene that is associated with recycling of old cell parts in the body. Scientists are kind of baffled by this discovery, because current theories can’t explain a causal relationship between any kind of speech impairment and this gene, but the evidence points that it might influence whether a person might stutter.
However, this doesn’t mean that stuttering is all genetic and you can’t do anything about it. Epigenetics has shown that our environment and our experiences influence our genes and that we can actually alter which genes are switched on or off.
Early Intervention Is Best
Early intervention with kids can be so effective to help overcome stuttering. In the past many people believed that paying attention to a kids’ stuttering would amplify the problem, but we know better nowadays. The sooner a person get’s help overcoming stuttering, the easier it is.
About 68 million people stutter world-wide. In the United States there are around 3 million stutterers. Among the more famous ones were Samuel L. Jackson (who revealed in a New Yorker interview that he was always teased by classmates until he overcome his stuttering problems with the help of a therapist – although he still occassionally hangs on the n-n-n’s and r-r-r’s), James Earl Jones, John Updike, Bill Walton and others.
Many people believe that stuttering therapy doesn’t work, because they have had bad experiences with speech therapists or other stuttering treatments in the past. But that simply means in the past the treatment wasn’t the right one for you.
- Lee WS, Kang C, Drayna D, Kornfeld S. Analysis of mannose 6-phosphate uncovering enzyme mutations associated with persistent stuttering. Journal of Biological Chemistry. Nov. 18, 2011.Kang C, Riazuddin S, Mundorff J, Krasnewich D, Friedman P, Mullikin JC, Drayna D. Mutations in the lysosomal enzyme-targeting pathway and persistent stuttering. The New England Journal of Medicine. Feb. 2010. [↩]