If you have a speech problem that has been described as a stutter or stammer, repeating words or parts of words, you are far from alone. Reaching back into history, Winston Churchill overcame a stutter to become perhaps the best-known orator in the world, and singer Mel Tillis put out many country albums and was very popular, in spite of a speaking stutter (which did not appear when he sang).
If you have a stutter, sometimes called a stammer, and you feel self-conscious about it, clearly knowing about Winston Churchill and Mel Tillis will not cause you to suddenly speak fluently. But hopefully knowing that a stammer can be reduced or completely removed will help you have more confidence in your own ability to overcome your speech impediment.
Many people who stammer don’t stammer constantly, even if they think they do. If you’re like most people, you probably speak fluently sometimes, and perhaps have specific “triggers” that help you speak without stammering. For some people, drinking alcohol may help fluency; for others, being in a group of friends reduces stammering, but the presence of strangers may induce stuttering.
If you’ve been seeing a speech therapist, and the therapy is working for you, then by all means continue the therapy. But make sure you understand whether the therapist is really helping, or whether you are just more fluent during your therapy sessions. If you are continuing to stammer just as much outside of therapy, obviously the therapy is not having the desired effect.
The good news is that you can help your speech therapist help you with your stuttering. You may wish to go without speech therapy, and work on your own, or you may wish to use other techniques in combination with speech therapy. Whichever mode you choose, understand that you do have a lot of power to help yourself.
One of the most important things you can do is understand the role of stress in your stuttering or stammering. Most people who stammer tend to do so more when they’re nervous, and may become quite fluent when they’re with people they know well. This is a part of the “fluent while drunk” phenomenon. Relaxing may not be the only solution to your stammering problem, but it certainly can help you overcome your stuttering.
In combination with your relaxation techniques, you may wish to try home study courses, DVDs, exercises, or group or individual speech coaching. These techniques help many people who use them, either with or without therapy.Continue to pursue progress in your stammering until you find something that works.
One thing you should understand about stuttering is that it is not a weakness or a fault. It is a difficulty speaking, and it can be corrected. You may not find the answer to your stammering problem with the first thing you try, but you can, and should, continue to search for a solution to your difficulty. If your speech is troubling you, it is important that you take the time to find a way to improve it.