Establishing the consensus: What is stuttering?

This article gives consice explaination as to what is stuttering.

What is stuttering?

When people write to me asking about stuttering, and the precise steps I took to reach freedom, it becomes clear that they have no idea what stuttering is.

And, how can you find a solution if you don’t know what the problem is? How can you reach a destination if you have no idea where you are heading?

You expect to be given “the ultimate recovery guide”, yet another quick fix that will magically free you from stuttering. I have no such guide, no set of exercises, and even if I gave it to you, lacking a deeper understanding of the problem and its mechanisms, any instructions would seem pointless to you, and wouldn’t work anyway.

You don’t need yet another guide, another technique. What PWS’s do need, however, is to firstly, understand what stuttering is and, secondly, adopt an entirely new approach to dealing with it. By doing this you will be able to gradually dissolve stuttering as opposed to being fighting against, “curing” it or trying to control it.

Let’s see if official institutions provide any answers or clarity.

The NHS’s leaflet «Stammering advice for families» reads: “Stammering or stuttering is an overall label for an interruption in the flow of someone’s speech”.

American National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states: “Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by the repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks.”

Worryingly, the authorities too don’t know what stuttering is and only present the list of its observable manifestations. Moreover, they admit that “the precise mechanisms that cause stuttering are not understood. No commons cause is established.

Researchers that have taken the heavy responsibility of explaining everything from a «scientific» point of view, don’t have the answers either.

They explain thatA lot of what appears to be a research on stammering is not research on stammering. Instead, it’s more general research on the speech-motor system, genetics, language and so on, and people who stammer are just one of the groups tested.”

Aimless drifting. Beating around the bush on the global scale. And today it must stop. Let’s establish the common ground, the consensus NOW.

What is stuttering?

The great many faces of stuttering. The way I see it.

Until now stuttering succeeded in stringing us all along. Ha-ha!  A great many disguises of stuttering. It presented itself as autism, asymmetry of brain hemispheres, underdeveloped articulators, and even schizophrenia.

Contrary to “scientific” beliefs stuttering is not a physical [or tangible problem] but is deeply rooted in your psychology.

If there was a “tangible” physical impairment to your brain or articulators, you would not be able to speak fluently on your own, sing, talk effortlessly with children and animals. You wouldn’t experience those glimpses of “unexplained fluency” when you forget yourself for a moment, and begin to speak without a shadow of disfluency.

Having a physical malfunction means you would stutter non-stop, regardless of a situation or setting.

Stuttering originates in your Belief system [or unique set of principles which you unconsciously refer to interpret your everyday reality i.e. good or bad].

One day you came to believe and associate the simple act of speaking with something very unpleasant, distressing, dangerous or even punishable. It doesn’t matter what had precisely happened to you, but since then the prospect of speaking began to cause nervousness, anxiety and/or even fear. More on the subject of beliefs, please click HERE.

Propelled by anxiety\fear, every time you must speak you react anxiously, feel panicky, your palms become clammy, you fidget and feel pressured for time, speak too fast, the heart begins to race. In other words, you are frightened.

Fear is activated as a safety reaction to prevent you from engaging with the activity that “last time” caused a highly emotional and painful reaction. Your reptilian brain that activates fear, doesn’t know if the situation was genuinely dangerous to your life or not. All its registers is the fact that last time you felt very distressed. It knows it because you felt bad, overreacted, felt scared, your heart raced, you were emotionally hurt, frightened.

Fear protects you. If you are afraid of something, you won’t do it. When you do feel scared or nervous, your attention turns inward, onto your inner experience. Feelings self-conscious, you worry about what others might think, find it difficult to concentrate, you feel inferior, become painfully aware of what you say and how you say it.

Added to the equation is your “unconscious” fixation on speech as you obsessively and compulsively try to control it.You madly monitor your every breath, every sound, anticipate, rehearse every word in your mind, what if it gets stuck, what filler words, what crutch shall I employ etc. You virtually orchestrate every finest detail.

Consciously controlling speech, you interfere with the very complex process. In fluent speakers, this task is fully delegated to the unconscious mind. You do yourself great disfavour by attempting to micro-manage speaking. As a result, your speech flow is disrupted. Disruptions manifest in what you experience as “repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks”. In other words, you stutter!

What you focus on expands. You get more of what you so desperately try to avoid.

You believe system sets you up for stuttering even before you open your mouth.

To break the vicious cycle and cease stuttering blocks, you will need to abandon the old Belief system and replace it with a new and effective one. The one that will not interfere with your speech disrupting its nature given flow, pace, rhythm, timbre etc.

Now, that is NOT easy as you have been holding on to your erroneous beliefs for 10, 15, maybe 20 years. Over the years “the programme” has become so ingrained and unconscious you don’t even realise you act and live your life according to it; hence you cannot control your stuttering.

Your stuttering reaction will cease once you alter “your programming” – your Belief system.

In summary:

Stuttering is learned reaction to speaking encounters and is rooted in your psychology rather than being a physical impairment to the brain.

It is unconscious hence you cannot control stuttering and cannot stop stuttering at will. Stuttering is something YOU DO habitually based on your Belief system.

Your stuttering reaction will gradually dissolve once you alter the programming – your Belief system.

P.S. Have you ever considered your stuttering could be caused by your thinking,perceptions and habitual behaviour?

**Please note: Cases where stuttering came out as a result of a traumatic head injury and/or stroke were excluded from my study.

All text is copyrighted. Please include the link to my blog if refer to it elsewhere.

Art work by Tomasz Alen Kopera

My story: from hopelessness and isolation to the unconditional freedom (Part 2).

Beneath the debris of complexity lays the answer. Are you ready to leave the prison?

My ascend began at 26.

Out of despair and not knowing where to turn, I went to the local speaker’s club (see Liverpool Speakers Club). The most unlikely place a person who stutters would go to, and yet I was there. Here, I met people from a well-known speech therapy course, and they advised I try it. Having never been on speech therapy, I signed up.

My life was divided into “before” and “after”.

The course pulled me out of depression. I felt like I left the prison. But the novelty effect and initial euphoria wore off. Now my “freedom” was conditional upon following all the instructions and using control tools. I soon realised that I did not want any forms of control.

And, how would you prefer to speak? Constantly controlling and thinking about your speech or effortlessly and without thinking about it?

Unconditional, uncontrolled freedom was what I wanted. Full stop.

But how? This I didn’t yet know.

All I knew was that the less control I used, the better my speech got. Despite being warned that my fluency wouldn’t hold up for long without control, it was getting stronger every day.

I stayed on the speech therapy. I liked the social element of it, and I think this experience was essential for me to gain greater insight into the problem.

Watching, hearing and discussing experiences of others, I was getting intrigued to find out how does stammering work.

  • Why people still stutter whilst presenting in front of a familiar audience?
  • Why fluency fluctuates?
  • Why people don’t stutter when talking to children or animals?
  • Why stammering sometimes appears in adults (after the age of 20)?
  • Why we stutter whilst speaking to people in authority?
  • Why people stutter less or more when drunk?
  • Why people don’t stutter when on their own?
  • What genetics have to do with stammering?
  • Why feeling confidence makes us more fluent?

I noticed that my stammering followed a certain pattern. At times, I used techniques and still struggled. Other times, I did not and yet spoke fluently. I was intrigued and began making observations. Who would have thought that what started as a personal experiment, went on to become full-scale independent investigation involving over 200 people?

Research into stuttering.

Over last 7 years, I reviewed countless academic journals, experimented, made and recorded hundreds of observations, read multiple books (incl. John Harrison), conducted and participated in over 70 conversations, and analysed personal accounts of PWS’s all over the world with the main contributors being Russia and the UK.

What was eventually uncovered surpassed all my expectations. I wasn’t ready for that. It was a revelation. The new paradigm with the potential to change the way stammering is perceived and addressed.

From all the data collected it transpired that stammering follows and is driven by one single algorithm in 98% of cases [***there were some exclusions]. Circumstances surrounding the onset of stammering greatly vary. The mechanism that triggers and maintains stammering remains the same across all cases. 

All earlier theories, perceptions and speculations seemed to have been magically reduced to one common denominator.

I intend to speak for us all. Be the voice of all of you that were directly or indirectly involved in making this reality.

I am not a Speech therapist but am an extremely inquisitive independent researcher. I believe, this circumstance allowed me to look at the speech impediment from an unconventional angle. Bypassing all the complexity, I simplified the problem and arrived at the solution.

Of course, it will not work for all as nobody can change you unless you are willing and ready to be changed.

Who is my blog for?

My knowledge will benefit:

  • Open-minded people that know there is more to stammering than what is already known.
  • Certain that stammering is not a disease.
  • Believe unconditional freedom from stammering is achievable.
  • Ready to take responsibility for their speech and life.
  • Ready to leave earlier theories behind and built the new foundation.
  • Unhappy with their current situation and are genuinely motivated to change.

Don’t waste your time reading my blog if you:

  • Adhere to «conventional» views on the problem.
  • Believe in “the magic pill”
  • Believe that stammering cannot be overcome.
  • Quick to blame external circumstances (i.e. the society, parents etc) for their “misfortune” and capriciously demand acceptance.
  • Comfortable with your current position and don’t want to change a thing.

I strongly believe that the conceptually new outlook is what urgently needed if we are to ever solve the puzzle and eliminate stammering for good. FOR ALL!

Enough theorising, it is time to show you what you can achieve!

P.S. If you can relate to my story and would like to learn more about my findings, please leave a comment and follow my blog so as not to miss future posts.

**Please note I don’t endorse any courses or therapies.

***Psychogenic cases of stammering were excluded from the study.