Help With Stuttering – Advice From An Educator

As a teacher of primary aged children, there were times when I had a student who stuttered in my classroom. I was always determined to give whatever help with stuttering that I could so they would find school a positive experience. Here are a few of the things I did as well as some suggestions that you as a parent can do.

One of the first things I would have had to arrange to have a meeting with this child's parents to talk about the speech disorder. The meeting completed two things.

First, it gave me insight into the problem from his parents, the two people who know him best, along with a better understanding of their child. Second, I feel the meeting was also helpful for the parents because I was able to let them know that I was going to be supportive of their child and that I really wanted to help.

If your child's teacher does not suggest a meeting it does not mean they do not care. Lots of teachers like to get to know individual students before getting in touch with parents. But when the problem is different it's probably best not to wait. Instead, call to request a face to face meeting with the teacher.

Pass along whatever information you have. You are sharing a partnership and you'll want to know strategies that work as well as those that are not effective. You can not get a better source for this information than parents.

For example, you might be surprised to find out that a lot of youngger kids who stutter still enjoy participating in their classes by answering questions and taking part in discussions. And they are not embarrassed about their stuttering.

Teachers do not like to center out a stutterer so will avoid calling on them. If your son or daughter feels comfortable taking part, be sure to let her teacher know.

It was fortunately that my school district hires speech and language personnel. They are there to work with students who are referred by the teaching staff. Unfortunately this service is not available in all districts. So be sure that you get in touch with your school to see if there are speech services offered. If there are, inquire as to how to get a referral going.

Because I always made it a point to schedule a meeting with parents early in the school year, I could start a referral quickly if the youngster was not already involved in a speech program outside of the school. If the child was in a speech program in the community, I got permission from the parents to request recommendations and reports from the outside agency.

One thing to be aware of is that community based services are quite often discontinued when a child enters school, if the school district offers the same service. Services at the school level are not always automatic, so you may need to request that your child continues to receive help.

Once your child starts to work with the speech pathologist or therapist, there will be certain drills or activities that you can use at home. This will reinforce what the speech personnel is focusing on in their sessions.

For instance, the therapist may be working with your child on a different way to breathe. This type of thing requires a lot of practice before it becomes automatic. That's where you come in. It's vitally important for you to work on these follow-up activities with your child because sessions at school will be limited.

If your child stutters, know that there is help with stuttering available at the school level. The best case scenario is when teachers and parents work together as a team to give the child encouragement and support.

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Stammering and Stuttering Help – How To Speak to Authority Figures With Ease and Confidence

Most of us PWS (people who stutter) who grew up with a speech impediment called stuttering have feared sounds, words and situations.

One of those feared situations for a lot of PWS is “speaking to authority figures”. Authority figures are but not limited to police officers, lawyers / judges, security guards, a tough looking stranger, even a family member or a professor at school who INTIMIDATES us.

For some reason, when it comes to COMMUNICATING with people who can be considered as “authority figures” we face speech difficulties. In this article, I am going to address this specific situation and discuss what you need to do so you can manage your speech better and be able to speak to “authority figures” with EASE and CONFIDENCE.

As I always say, there are 2 main factors involved in this process. The inner and the outer game of stuttering. Let's take a closer look at those 2 factors for this specific situation.

Inner game;

I bet there is a psychological factor behind this behavior of yours. Approval seeking, feeling less, feeling powerless, feeling judged, urge to be liked, respected and valued … the list can go on and on depending on your unique case. May be authority figures remember you a person from your past who had that tough look and used to JUDGE you cruelly because of your speech. Who knows may be a popular, tough classmate of yours who used to bully you at school still has some psychological effects on you when it comes to speaking to authority figures with a similar tough outlook.

It could be any of those or something totally different. However, if you can go ahead and speak to a 2-yrs old kid with no problem and then stutter severly when it comes to speaking to an authority figure, then I think it is obvious that there are some psychological factors involved in the process.

On the other hand, there are also outer game factors. Suppose you are using some effective physical and mental speaking tools and techniques. What is it that makes you NOT use those successfully while speaking to an authority figure?

Below are 4 tips and advices which you can use when it comes to being able to use your speaking tools effectively and speak successfully in such situations.

Advice-1) Speak to him / her with a DEEP and STRONG voice tone. Make sure you do not put yourself “less than” him. Act as if he is working for you. This is only for to get your psychology and mindset to a resourceful state though … so make sure you keep it cool and you do not give them orders left and right πŸ™‚

Advice-2) Use pauses to TAKE control of the conversation. You know that I am a huge fan of using PAUSES. In this case, using pauses (in fact extended pauses) with dignity will give you a psychological advantage as well. It'll make you send subconscious signals that you are the one in control in the conversation. Do you think you can be in control if the other person is superior? Exactly! Of course not.

So being in control of the conversation will enable you NOT to position him as SUPERIOR and that will reflect positively to your speech. Pauses have both great PHYSICAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL benefits in those type of situations.

Advice-3) What do people do when they are being judged? They try to impress others and try to convince them to like them, right?

People will construct an idea about you and as a result respond you accordingly in the first 30 seconds of any conversation. If you send messages to him / her both physically and psychologically that he is not superior, that you are not seeking his / her approval, etc. you've been positioning yourself for success. By the way, it's not that the authority figures see you as a less and uniquate person. That's only in your mind, it is a limiting belief. These tips are for you to challenge that limiting belief and BREAK that mindset of yours. So, let's make sure we do not start hating authority figures after reading this article πŸ™‚

Advice-4) Smile slightly and do not let their “poker face” or tough attitude scare you. Do not match your mood to their '. Live in Your reality. Keep the conversation in your terms. Do not try to speak faster if he is a fast speaker, do not try to answer his questions immediately without taking your time. That would make you rush your speech … and not being able to resist TIME PRESSURE has very bad effects when it comes to your speech fluency.

Now, keep these points in mind and by the support of your outer game (which would be your specific physical and mental speaking tools and techniques) go put yourself in those situations to DISSOLVE your stuttering iceberg.

When it comes to speaking to intimidating authority figures, it's normal to feel the time pressure and the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty. The reason is they usually do not give you much clues about their feelings and what they are thinking while you are speaking to them. To be honest it is not easy to handle those situations. You just do not know what's going in their mind and this creates uncertainty. However that being not easy does NOT mean it can not be achieved. The more you do it the easier it'll get … and the positive real life outcomes regarding to “speaking to authority figures” will follow!

I am positive that the tips and advices in this article will enable you to face and manage those situations in a lot better way. Speaking to authority figures with ease and confidence is not a dream, it is something you can achieve!

I hope you take what you learn in this article and put them IN ACTION to get positive real life results in your daily situations.

Before concluding this article …

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You Might Be Surprised To Find That Important Persons Sometimes Stutter And Stammer

In case one is questioning, stammering and stuttering are communication obstacles, which have caused some persons to lose self-worth or feel bothered, embarassed and anxious when talking before an audience. The two terms are really used interchangeably, with the first being more commonly used in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, while the latter in the US. Both stammering and stuttering are described by obstacles in the flow and timing of speech. These may possibly be accompanied by obvious signs of discomfort in the presenter like constant blinking of the eyes, trembling of the lips, beating of a foot, stiffening of the face or jaw or tensing of the body. These usually take the form of a repetition in the syllables or words; a prolongation in the sounds; or blocked sounds for particular syllables or words. In effect, the words or speech may sound unsure, erroneously pronounced, strained, edgy or irregular. There are three types of stammering and stuttering.

First, there is Developmental Stuttering, which happens when a young person is learning to speak and develops during maturity.

Second, there is Neurogenic or Acquired Stuttering, which comes to light when there is a disturbance in the flow of the signals involving the brain and speech nerves and muscles, usually resulting from a stroke, head shock or any other brain casualty.

Third, there is Psychogenic Stuttering, which develops as a result of thought or reasoning problems or emotional distress, such as weariness, embarrassment, agitation and stress- involved problems.

Fourth, there is Metabolic Stuttering, which isoted from variations in a person's genes.

Studies state that stammering and stuttering are widespread among children who also have present communication, educational or motor incapabilities. For others, congenital factors like cerebral palsy or retardation may likewise play a role. Hearing processing deficits have as well been mentioned to be a ground. Yet, some causes are attributed to the surrounding events when one is speaking, such as: he is required to talk hurriedly; he is occasionally interrupted while speaking; the individual he is speaking to does not seem to be listening; he is apprehensive of the consequences of what he states; he is strained to communicate and he does not know what to utter; he is talking when he is weary, troubled or unwell; or he speaks hurriedly as he has too many ideas to say.

One need not be bothered, though. The following have been used and proven to be efficient treatment for stammering and stuttering:

1. Fluency Shaping Therapy – The breathing, phonation and enunciation of an individual are controlled using lips, jaw and tongue practicing techniques.
2. Stuttering Modification Treatment – Aims to make stammering and stuttering less difficult, less noticeable and less taxing.
3. Electronic Fluency Tools – The use of altered hearing response method.
4. Anti-Stuttering Medicines
5. Support Organizations

Among all these therapies of stammering and stuttering, it is assumed that the last one is the plainest yet the most significant of all. In order to get well, a stutterer purely needs all the aid and understanding he can obtain, particularly from the people dear to him. To start with, the succeeding well-known individuals were also recognized to have stammered and stuttered:

Alan Turing – Computer Science veteran
Anthony Quinn – Performer (Zorba the Greek)
Bill Walton – Sportscaster
Claudius Cesar – Roman Emperor
Marilyn Monroe – Outstanding Hollywood actress
Carly Simon – Vocalist (You're so vain)
John Updike – Writer
Demosthenes – Greek orator and statesman
Elizabeth Bowen – Novelist
Erasmus Darwin – Doctor and ascendant of Charles Darwin
Gareth Gates – English pop celebrity
James Stewart – Presenter (It's a wonderful life)
John Montague – Author
Harvey Keitel – Presenter (Life on Mars)
Joseph Priestley – Scientist (discovered oxygen)
Kenneth Tynan – British play critic, author
Marion Davies – Well-known silent-movie actress
Mel Tillis – Singer
Raymond Massey – Actor (High treason)
Samuel L. Jackson – Artist (Pulp Fiction)
Somerset Maugham – Novelist
Thomas Becket – Archbishop of Canterbury 1162-1170
Walter H. Annenberg – Publisher, envoy, philanthropist Winston Churchill – UK Prime Minister

This is only a brief list of known stutterers and stammerers that have become famous. If they were able to work through such a miserable and frustrating problem, think about what they could have done without it.

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Top 8 Ways to Take Care of Your Voice

Your voice is the core of your being. Just like you take care of yourself physically, equal attention must be given to your voice care.

Here are top 8 ways to take care of your voice.

1. No smoking!

Some of my clients, especially females, think they have a very sexy voice because of smoking. It's a sick thought and can not be wrong enough. Smoking gives you a voice that may sound deep due to the swilling of your vocal folds. It not only dehydrates your vocal folds, but burns the cilia off of your lungs, inhibiting them from absorbing oxygen. In the long run, it not only does no good to your health, but brings permanent damage to your vocal folds and makes your voice worsened when you age.

2. Stay hydrated.

Water lubricates your vocal folds. Eight glasses per day should be a minimum. Not only is the air dryer nowdays, but many people are drinking more coffee and tea. Both are diuretics and remove moisture from your body which must be replaced. Keep a bottle of water handy.

3. Do not yell or scream.

When you yell or scream, your vocal folds are taking all the pressure and will wear and tear ever. Instead, learn to project your voice with the support of proper breathing. Use a microphone if necessary.

4. Do not cough or clear your throat.

Coughing or clearing your throat puts extra strain on the vocal mechanism. Try swallowing first. If that does not work, drink some water. As a last resort, clear or cough GENTLY.

5. Limit consumption of dairy and gluten products.

Dairy and gluten products cause mucus and coat your throat. Your voice will not be as clear sounding and you'll want to do what is said not to do – clear your throat.

6. No whispering.

If you are losing your voice, do not speak. Unless you must, speak quietly, but do not whisper. Whispering is as bad as shouting and puts too much strain on your vocal folds.

7. Warm up your voice.

Just like you do warm-ups before exercises, wake up your speaking voice every morning. It could include some breathing, relaxation and articulation drills (tongue twins). Start slowly and gently and do not ever strain.

8. Get good voice training.

Learn how to project your voice correctly to avoid any strain on your vocal folds. Voice training will strengthen your voice and allow you to sound loud and clear without vocal fatigue even after long hours of usage.

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How To Stop Stuttering – 7 Strategies Every Stutterer Should Know

A question which is asked by millions of people who stutter.

“How to stop stuttering?”

If you are a stutterer like myself, you probably know how emotionally PAINFUL this challenge can get. Stuttering / Stammering is not just a physical speech block, it is a block in one's choices, decisions, beliefs, goals, dreams, who he / she is and who he / she can become. There is no question that stuttering is a HUGE setback for one's life. There before being able to stop stuttering, or the way I like to put it “dissolving your stuttering iceberg” would be LIFE CHANGING both for the person who suffices from stuttering and for his / her loved ones!

Therefore, in this article, I decided to shortly talk about and share top 7 advices and strategies every PWS should know and follow.

1. Understand both the inner and outer game of stuttering

If you want to overcome your stuttering challenge, you need to play what I call “The Game of Stuttering” with its rules. Understanding, practicing and playing BOTH components of this game is very critical.

So what do I exactly mean by inner and outer game of stuttering?

Very briefly. Inner game is the mental / conceptual side of the equation. This is your mindset, your beliefs, your intentions, your personality characteristics, the way you approach the problem. On the other hand, outer game is the specific mental and physical tools and techniques which you use to take control and be able to manage your speech better to achieve highly improved fluency.

2. Learn the most effective speaking tools and techniques for your type of stuttering

This may differ from person to person, but if you are no exception to the rule, you will probably need to learn various effective speaking tools and techniques in order to gain the confidence that you can do this. Which of those techniques and tools is going to help you more is your decision, which you can easily figure out by learning and applying them in your daily speaking situations.

3. Do not avoid any particular sound, word or situation

The more you avoid this challenge the worse it gets. There is only one way to clear your doubts on your mind about particular feared sounds, words and situations … and that is FACING them over and over again until you start getting positive results and prove yourself that you CAN do it!

If you follow the right pathway, you'll soon start to question your limiting beliefs about your speech.

4. Challenge limiting beliefs

We all have limiting beliefs.

I can not speak on the phone

I can not introduce myself in a group environment where people take turns to introduce themselves

I can not approach and talk to strangers

I can not initiate words starting with b, p, d, t, s, e, a, etc. without blocking

I will never be able to give an effective speech / presentation at work or in school.

I can not approach and speak to girls / guys I am interested in

I can not tell a joke or a story in a social environment

I can not ask / answer questions in class … or I can not express my thoughts and ideas at work during meetings.

… are only a few of them

Do you know how you can eliminate and dissolve those limiting beliefs?

By challenging them and provoking yourself that you were WRONG! .. and that your belief was not the reality. Of course you need to get equipped with effective tools and techniques, step-by-step models and right strategies to combat those limiting beliefs effectively, but once you get positive results, you'll see how everything will start to shift and change for better!

5. Eliminate the feeling of being judged

We worry too much on what others think about us. We see speaking as a performance and we imagine the worst scenario possible for others judging us for our speech. We forget that all people have flaws, we think our stuttering is the worst thing that can happen to a person. Yes, stuttering is a huge pain which can not be underestimated, but it is far from the worst pain.

Instead of pretending that you are someone who you are not, if you be comfortable in your own skin, accept who you are and work on becoming who you want to be, people would respect you a lot more.

You have no control on other people's thoughts and what they think about you, so focusing on what others might think about you has no value.

Let me tell you about a tragicomic study. A recent study shows that all people constantly worried about being judged by others … which means nobody has time to judge you because everyone is too busy thinking what others are thinking of THEM. Funny, but a fact.

6- Speak as much as you can through the day.

The more you get used to speaking without holding back the more speaking mechanism adapts to it and the easier it becomes. Beside, every speaking situation is an opportunity for you to practice your speaking tools and techniques. So, this may sound simple but speak as much as you can through the day. Create speaking situations for yourself. Fire conversations with strangers everywhere … while waiting for a buss, commuting, shopping, etc. Become creative and create yourself as many speaking opportunities as you can. Speak, speak, speak … just make sure you let others speak as well.

7. Become a part of a support network and / or work with a coach or mentor

Stopping stuttering is not an overnight fix, therefore you need to realize that this is a process which you will need a support group or a coach / mentor who will be there whenever you need support and leading. There will be ups and downs through this process, but with the right leading the change will be inevitable … which simply means you'll be able to reach your speaking goals in the shortest time possible.

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Speech Therapy and A Widely Used Stuttering Treatment Technique

“… All stuttering and speech therapy programs I went through mainly focus on slowing down one's speech.” Do stutterers need to decrease their rate of speech to attain fluency? … ”

That is taken from a reader's email.

I wanted to address this question in an article so any PWS can benefit from it.

Here is my take on the question …

The answer depends on the person, his / her stuttering characteristic and speaking personality. I'll tell you exactly why, but before doing that let me ask you a couple questions.

1) Do you have times which you speak fluently and do not experience any speech struggle? (Eg talking to yourself in the mirror or talking to your dog, etc.)
2) Is your speech TOO FAST that it makes others hard to understand what you say and communicate because you can not pronounce the words clearly?

If you answer question 2 as “yes” then I suggest you to work on slowing down your speech. If you answer first question as “yes” and second as “no” then I personally do not think decreasing the rate of your speech is essential when it comes to overcoming your stuttering.

When it comes to being a better communicator, speaking somewhat slower is important … of course in case your speech is too FAST. Watch politicians; How many politicians do you know who speak like a machine gun? I think speaking “not too fast” is important because it makes you and your communication “cooler” and more effective / organized / well thought.

On the other hand, when it comes to stuttering and overcoming it …

If you have times that you speak with no speech struggle then it is obvious that you “KNOW” how to speak fluently with your current rate of speech. So I do not think slowing down the rate of your speech is essential. I am in favor of giving more PAUSES rather than speaking with a slower speech rate.

Let's say I have a job interview or an important business meeting where I'll need to introduce myself.

Instead of saying “Hi my name is Chazzler DiCyprian and I am …”, I say “(Pause) Hi (pause) my name is (pause) Chazzler DiCyprian (pause) and I am …”

See what I mean ?! This is not decreasing the rate of your speech, because you speak with the same rhythm and everything but you just give more more PAUSES. This counteracts our tendency to RUSH ourselves to speak and it enables us to resist TIME PRESSURE!

SLOWING down your speech so that every word you use in a sentence takes more time to pronounce may relax you a bit but other than that it requires you to be totally isolated from being a human being. Why?

Because we as human befits live with our EMOTIONS … and the way we EXPRESS our emotions, feelings, thoughts, etc. is called COMMUNICATION.

Now think about it. Can you express your feelings when you speak like “slooowwllyy”? Speaking is about communication, and if you feel excited, no matter what it always reflects to your voice tone, your speech rate, etc. Speaking by slowing down your speech is like messing with the core of being a human; expressing and communicating emotions, emotions, thoughts, etc.

My suggestion to you is: Do not get OVERLY focused on your speech rate and the mechanisms of your speech such as how to produce each sound. “Over control” will drive you AWAY from your desired exit.

If you can speak fluently and clearly in one context then that means your rate of speech is good enough. Of course when it comes to your communication skills it is a different story and we can talk about that in another time but talking solely about stuttering, the rate of your speech will not help you to attain fluency except you speak like a machine gun where everything is out of your control and the first time you know what you say is when you actually heard it after you said it!

So, the answer of your question changes depending on WHO we are talking about. Some may need to slow down their speech rate because it is almost impossible to take control of what you say and how you say it. Think about it, how could you possibly know what to say in an organized and eloquent way if you speak like a machine gun and do not even stop a second to THINK about your content … let alone thinking about and focusing on the physical speaking tools you are using.

But again considering you have a “not too fast” speech rate, to me speaking slower has no good value. Instead I suggest you to use pauses. In fact, using PAUSES the RIGHT WAY is one of my TOP 3 STRONGEST and MOST HELPFUL speaking tools / techniques.

Beside, slowing down your rate makes your speech monotone which also makes it boring and not effective.

Do not focus on the way you produce the sounds, you already know how you produce and make those sounds. The problem is finding what CREATES BLOCKS and DISFLUENCIES when you attempt to say some of those sounds.

I always mention that stuttering is NOT a definite, straight forward problem. Even though stuttering has lots of common elements, every stutterer has his / her own UNIQUE stuttering iceberg. Therefore, stuttering needs to be addressed and dissolved exclusively for each stutterer.

Stuttering needs to be UNDERSTOOD very well before you aim to dissolve and over it. You need to go deep and analyze the core of the problem. Only then you can start getting effective and permanent results.

That is one of the reasons why “one fits all” speech therapy approaches have not been able to meet our expectations. No two stutterers are the same, therefore the solution can not be the same. For every single stutterer, a detailed CUSTOMIZED approach is mandatory.

That is also why even with some effective speech management programs people improve their speech but never seem to get pass a level and reach “the desired outcome”!

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Recover From Stuttering – Managing Stress Will Help Control Fluency

Managing Stress Will Help Control Stuttering

All of us will experience situations that may cause us to become stressed or feel anxious. Stress is a normal function of everyday life. Only when it appears to take over our lives does it then become a problem. Everyone will have different reasons why a situation causes them pressure. As a rule it's usually when we do not feel in control of a situation, then we feel its grip tightening around us causing us to feel worried or 'stressed'. For people who stutter, the feeling of not being in control of speech fluency can be very stressful.

There is a difference between stress and anxiety. Stress comes from the pressures we feel in life. As we are pushed by work or any other task that puts undue pressure on our mind and body, adrenaline is released. Extended stay of this hormone causes negative effects. One of these negative effects is anxiety. With anxiety, fear overcomes all emotions, accompanied by worry and apprehension. Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or stressor. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or even anxious. What is stressful to one person is not necessarily stressful to another. Anxiety is stress that continues after that stressor is gone. Anxiety can be brought on in many ways. Obviously the presence of stress in your life can make you have anxious thoughts. Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders occupation their mind with excessive worry. For many people who stutter, this worry can be about stuttering issues.

Everyone handles stress differently, some better than others. Left unchecked, however, stress can cause physical, emotional, and behavioral disorders which can affect your health, vitality, and peace of mind, as well as personal and professional relationships. If you are a person with a stutter, you do not have to be a victim of anxiety from stuttering. Speech fluency can be controlled, it's all about self-discipline.

Obsessive negativity can also possibly be impeding your healing process and stopping you from enjoying stress-free speech. Recognizing this behavior can be a great first step toward controlling fluency. When you are obsessively negative, it means that you have a tendency toward being “negative” about people, places, situations and things in your life. Perhaps you find yourself thinking things like, “I can not do this!” Egypt “No-one understands!” Egypt “Nothing ever works!”, for example. You may be doing this unconsciously, but essentially you have what's known as a “sour grapes” attitude. It holds you back from knowing what it's like to view life from a positive lens and enjoy the beauty in yourself and people around you!

Two major approaches to manage stress are the action-oriented approach and the emotion-oriented approach. If stuttering is causing you stress, then be proactive – take action by learning and using an effective fluency technique. Also, check your thinking. “Do not Worry, Be Happy!”

Join me on the road to fluency.

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Interesting Stats About Speech Stuttering

After the decision to create my website I started digging more into this topic. I found many interesting stuff which could be written in hundred articles, but in this one I decided to write about some interesting stats around speech stuttering which I also noticed in my life. Stuttering is a common thing for all cultures and has been an issue for people for more than 40 centuries. I met English, German, Indian, American, Swedish, Dutch and many other nationalities who had the same speech problem as me. I am not the only one …

It all usually begins in childhood and gets heavier when growing older. This was my case too. I started to stammer when I was around 12, but the worst moments came in my late teens. It got better again after around 25, but I think that has more to do with my moving to London than a speech therapy. The typical behaviors are repetitions, prolongations, blocks, blinks and word substitutions. Regarding me, I tend to move my head a little bit to the right when I have a block. I was a huge fan of eye blinks for many years and the same is for word substitutions.

Prolongations helped me to start a sentence and it was actually very difficult to get rid of them. One clever book says that many of us stutterers are able to predict the words in a reading passage we will stutter on before reading itself. I think this is correct! When I sometimes look at a paragraph / article I want to read, I say to myself: I know this will be hard, because there is this and this word. Interesting … It also says that we get a block on many of the same words. There was a period in my life where I just could not get my surname out of me. I once went to my local football coach and he asked me what my name was. I just could not say it. After few minutes he told me to write it down. What about you? Do you recognize yourself in these stats? Do they sound familiar to you?

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Cleft Lip and Palate

Anomaly is a medical term which means 'different from normal'. Congenital anomaly refers to such an irregularity which is present from birth. Cleft lip and palate are such abnormalities present from birth that affect the upper lip and the palate of mouth. They represent the most common of all developmental anomalies affecting the head and neck region. Severities of the abnormalities may range from mild, moderate to severe forms occurring separately or in combination with other anomalies.

The frequency of occurrence of cleft lip with or without cleft palate is between 1: 700 to 1: 800 which means that a child is there before born with a cleft somewhere in the world approximately every two and half minutes. There is no single cause for cleft lip and or cleft palate. Often there are many interrelated factors like a change in the genes, consanguineous marriage, viral infections during pregnancy, certain drugs taken during first few weeks of conception, etc.

The condition is evident at birth as loss of continuity of the lip and or an an open communication between nose and mouth. Affected infants present with so many problems other than the detected aesthetics of the face which psychologically affects the parents and the beloved ones. But with the advancement in surgical field, even the severest form of cleft lip / palate can be treated very effectively. Other than the appearance which is evident to anyone who sees the baby, it also suffers problems like missing teeth, extra teeth, abnormal shape, size and location of teeth, growth of middle of face affected, speech difficulties, hearing problems and sometimes even breathing problems especially while feeding. The most important of all is the self-estimated or externally infested poor social image of the affected child. The mother often faces difficulty in breastfeeding feeding or bottle feeding. Because of the continuity of the nose with the mouth and lack of proper lip seal around the breastfeeding / feeding bottle, the fed contents are usually regurgitated and not swallowed by the baby. So it becomes a real mentally painful condition that, although the mother is able to feed the baby, nor the baby is able to swallow.

With regular periodic gynecological consultation, the condition can be diagnosed before birth itself by doing an ultrasound test. Cleft lip and cleft palate is a complex problem which is best managed by a specially trained team of doctors known as cleft lip / palate team. The treatment starts at birth itself.

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Help With Stammering

Stammering reiter to a disorder of speech fluency which can lead to prolongation or repetition of certain sounds, causing communication problems for those who suffer with it. No one knows exactly what causes stammering but many people are affected by the condition which presents itself all over the world, in a great variety of people. It's appearance will often occur early on, at between 2-5 years old, and in many people it becomes less of an issue as they grow older, often disappearing altogether of it's own accord. For others speech therapy may be helpful but some will take their stammer into adult life. If you have a child with a stammer ask for advice and help now as it is easier to resolve stammering in children than in adults.

We are happy to see the positive impact that recent film 'The King's Speech' is having on attitudes towards this difficult disorder, after years of misunderstandings and insensitivity around those who live with it. Following some research we have come up with the suggestions below that may be helpful for anyone who wishes to fight a stammer.

Speech therapy. If you have not had speech therapy for your stammer then please give it a try. Your doctor should be able to connect you with a speech and language therapist in your area who specializes in therapy designed for those who stammer. They will have all the latest information and should be able to provide the best help.

Self help groups. Check to see if there is a self help group in your area. If not maybe you could consider starting one? Sharing your experiences with others who know first hand some of the challenges that it creates will be helpful. Even a regular social meeting up could be very positive. Or, if you prefer, why not look online for groups and forums?

Other support. The British Stammering Association run a Facebook page and various groups and workshops focusing on issues like public speaking and help for women who stammer. They also provide lots of information and support on their website.

Stay positive. As hard as this may be it is always important to try to stay positive. You are not alone. You may not manage to eradicate your stammer alike but the chances are that you can make improvements and improve some of the issues associated with stammering. Positivity is a helpful attitude when approaching any difficulty.

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King’s Speech Movie and My Stuttering Treatment

I do not even know where I should start. I never thought it would as good as it was. I did not expect it to be such a powerful tool for people who do and do not stutter. And I liked the fact that my friends watched it with me. They were amazed how difficult it is for a person who stutters to deal with everyday stuff. I have never told anyone and this topic is finally thanks to this mainstream film visible to everyone.

I could see myself in King George VI. The director highlighted all the important fears and worries of a person who stammers. The only thing he was thinking about all the time was how to avoid “kinging”. He did not want to rule, just because of the fear of stuttering publicly. What he meant was he did not want let his people down, because he thought they would think he was a weak person who can not talk properly. How could he motivate them, communicate with them and be an inspiration for them?

That is what I used to do all the time. There was an opportunity for me, everyone else knew I could do it, but I was so scared and said no. Instead I relied on my stuttering treatment to heal me. But to heal what? That I was hiding behind my stuttering? I could have been treated and gotten ready forever.

Last year was so important for me. I realized there is no one else who can do things for me and I have to do them myself. I set my goals and have been trying to reach them. It's still not easy to believe in myself, but I do it every day more and more. And this is the best stuttering treatment I could imagine for myself. King's Speech movie is great inspiration – if a king with heavier stutter than mine could do it I can do it too …

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How to Cope With Stammering

Coping with stammering can be emotionally challenging and a lonely fight. My first recognition of this was when my four year old son finally told us how miserable he was in his daycare setting because the other children had been picking on him about his stammering and speech impediment. The more he went to daycare, the worse he felt. What made it even worse was that he told my husband and me that he had tried to tell the daycare staff about the other children taunting him about his stammer (stutter) and that they could not understand what he was trying to tell them. The experience of being made fun of for something he could not control was devastating to me as a parent and I realized then that we needed to find the right help for his stuttering. At the same time we needed to learn to cope with his stammering in a comforting environment while we looked for resources to help us solve his speech problem.

I saw that my son's experience at daycare with his stammering was quickly changing our happy, outgoing, positive and energetic child into a very reserved, serious, unsmiling individual who was deeply saddened inside. Then, severe separation anxiety began to crop up when he started kindergarden. He knew that when he was with us, we could understand him and would be a patient with him as he got his words out; while at school, it was another story.

For someone who stutters, the simple truth is: When their means to communicate with others shut down under stress (due to stuttering or stammering) and trying to communicate with others causes stress; they find themselves in a nasty cycle of stammering and more stammering. In other words, the more a stutterer tries to tell someone something and stutters and can not be understood; the more frustrated they get, which causes stress and leads to more stammering!

So, if you are battling your stammer (or stutter) it is time to take a big time-out! Frustration only feeds the fire when one is trying to beat their stammer or stutter and learning methods to give yourself a time-out or do-over needs to be a part of your new strategy. You are going to start from the ground up and build a better new you– one that is going to love all the parts of you! We loved our son no matter what or how he tried to get his words out and we learned to understand him as he tried to get his words out; however, over time, he started to love himself a little less as his stammering worsened. He reacted to the taunting and teasing he received at daycare and at school and turned it inward. Do not let this be your story! Instead, learn what makes your stutter worse, what words are especially difficult for you, and what environmental stresses cause your stutter to worsen. Once you identify what causes you to stammer, you can begin building a comfortable and positive environment for you to work on coping with your stammer.

Remember, curing your stammer begins by building back your self-esteem so that you can tackle working through the speech therapy needed to help you recover from your stutters and stammers. Surround yourself with supportive people who will keep your environment positive, even when you hit a frustrating bump in the road. Lastly, finding a mentor to model your recovery after is a good idea. Terry McElhinney is an example of such a mentor. Now a famous kick-boxing champion in Great Britain, he has not forgotten that his fight with stammering almost cost him his career. Now that he has cured his stammer, he devotes his life to mentor others in their fight to stop stammering. You can stop stammering too, you just have to believe you can!

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My Biggest Tool for Stuttering

When I was in elementary school, I had a difficult time in all of my classes. I was not the bright kid, and I often felt singled out, would have made fun of, especially when reading out to the class, or as I called it, torture.

Yes, I was teased and made fun of, because I had a stutter (and still do). It taught me patience, compassion and the ability to expand and grow.

The funny thing about stuttering, you can feel it coming. You know when you go to stutter, before you do, and if reading, you can even tell what phrase or syllable you are going to stutter on, before you get to it. That's part of the frustrating part of it. You know you're going to stutter, when and that's nothing you can do about it, you can feel it. Then you get to the word, you stutter over it. It's a blockage that you can not even back up from, and people telling you to 'calm down', 'take your time', do not realize that they're making it worse, because it's not about being nervous or anxious. I stuttered just as much when I was talking to my mother, as when I was talking to the principle. In fact they probably made things worse, by saying those things, because it just proved that they did not know what it was like. And those that did know what it was like to stutter knew that the only thing they could do was to not make a big deal about, because that's what made it worse, the attention. The empty pit in your stomach that opened up and swallowed you whole, as you stuttered, was opened by teachers and parents who had no idea what it really like.

It's not their fault though, they had no idea, and when I would tell them that I'm not nervous on anxious, they did not know what to do, so they just keep saying the same thing, “Relax, Breathe, it's okay “. Meanwhile, you're dying inside because you knew it was coming and still felt you had to run straight into that brick wall.

Sounds like a nightmare? It was. And still can be. Even to this day, I know there are words that I have trouble with sometimes. Not all the time, but I can usually tell if I'm going to have a problem with a word or not. And when I do know that I'm going to have a problem, that's when I'm most thankful for the nightmare of stuttering as a kid.

One of the abilities I developed as a defensive tool, and to help myself from not stuttering, was to discover and use alternative words. Switching out one word for another that meant the same thing, was a way of not only still making my point, whatever it was, but also to help boost my self-confidence.

An example was the word “Because”. I usually had lots of trouble with this word, specifically due to the “Bee” sound, followed by the hard “C” sound. It was like a road block, and I could feel the twitch in my tongue, or my lips before I had to say the word. So I'd switch out “Because” for “Apparently” Now, yes, they two are not 100% interchangeable, but in some cases, they are, and when you're 7, and too scared to talk in public, or in class, you'll take what you can get.

The benefit, I learned a lot of words. And I mean a lot. I got to the point where when I was tested for speech therapy, I was told that I had the vocabulary of a grade 11 student, while in grade 4. When when I was in junior high, I was tested again, and they said that I had the vocative of an English major in University or Collage. Did I still stutter all through school? Yes, but it became less obvious as I learned more words, and was able to construct a sentence in my mind in a split second that I knew I could say.

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Symptoms of Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that some schools have, affecting boys and girls equally. Typically, the child reports seeing letters and numbers in reverse or inverted positions. For instance, the letter A may appear to a dyslexic child as an inverted V. This, however, is not sufficient basis to diagnose a child as being dyslexic. Thorough testing, assisted with a careful consideration of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia, is needed.

Reversals are a warning sign of dyslexia. On its own, this condition gradually disappears until the child is not making reversals by the end of the firs grade. It is when the condition persists beyond this age that further screening for dyslexia is warranted. School teachers, together with the parents, are often the ones who first suspect that a child may be dyslexic.

What are the dyslexia symptoms that parents and teachers may notice? Typically, learning difficulties are the first clues. For example, the child may find it hard to copy words from the board or a book. His written work may appear jumbled, with frequent misspellings and uneven spacing, direction or letter size. He might also evince forgetfulness or poor memory, failing to recall simple things such as the plot of his favorite story. And all too often, he experiences problems in math. He struggles with arithmetic operations, and even with counting numbers.

At play, the child may also display symptoms of dyslexia. He or she also has trouble distinguishing between left and right. It is common for him to not have a preference for either left or right hand.

The dyslexia symptoms do not stop there. There may also be auditory problems, such that the child often fails to understand what he hears, let alone remember it. A complex or multi-step instruction may be particularly perplexing to him. Related to his processing difficulties, he also may pronounce words incorrectly, because he has not learned their correct sounds. His sentences may not make any sense to others, due to various reasons such as mispronunciation, use of the wrong words, and missing words or parts of the sentence. It is many a dyslexic child's frustration to know exactly what they want to say, but fail to find the words or the ability to express it. Some children find this so upsetting that they lose interest in communicating with others and withdraw into a world of their own.

Any one of these symptoms, but more likely a combination of them, can cause a dyslexic child to become introverted, shy, and at times even depressed. Failing to understand his situation, his playmates may make fun of him, aggravating the situation. The dyslexic child may develop a low self-esteem, have no friends, and begin to hate school and learning in general. To a casual observer, he may look like an unmotivated and lazy student, but of course such is not the case.

While most dyslexic children tend to be withdrawn, there are those who act out. This may be a direct expression of their frustration, but it also distracts attention away from their learning difficulties.

When parents and teachers notice these symptoms of dyslexia, they should be open to the possibility of the existence of the learning disorder. Help should be given as early as possible for the child to learn to cope with his or her disability and the symptoms of dyslexia.

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The Top Myth About Stuttering Revealed!

Stress or being a “nervous” person is so often attributed to stuttering. It is so often considered to be the “why” someone stutters, yet it simply is not the cause. Stress (as the cause of stuttering) is the # 1 myth about stuttering. While stress and anxiety can make someone's stuttering or stammering worse, STRESS is NOT the cause of stuttering or stammering. If it was, we would have much more than 1% of the population suffering from stuttering.

Researchers working in the area of ​​speech therapy have determined that stuttering is really a disconnect between the speech signals in the brain and a person's vocal cords receiving the signal. In other words, this is what happens when someone stutters- a timing problem occurs between communication signals the brain gives to the speech mechanism in the body. This timing problem causes a tightening of the person's vocal cords. The result is a tightening of the throat which causes mouth and breathing movements to becomeforced and labored. So, really when someone who stutters begin to speak and they get stuck, they are with a feeling similar to choking as they attempt to get the words they want out. The more a stutterer tries and fails to get his or her words out, the more anxiety he or she may associate with speaking or rather difficulty in speaking! This reaction has caused many to label stress as the real cause someone stutters.

So, now that you know the real cause of stuttering – that it is a physical problem occurring for people who stutter, what do you do about it? It is important to find the right resources for stuttering if you want to succeed on the path of recovery. You can do it with a positive attitude and a desire to correct the problem.

My son suffered from stuttering at an early age and it took a lot of resourcefulness on our family's part to get to the bottom of his problem. To help with stuttering, or stuttering therapy, I believe it is so important to understand the facts around stuttering. Until you really understand the problem, it is difficult to find a solution. When you are ready to tackle stuttering therapy, you have to surround yourself with caring individuals who will support you as this is a challenging thing to take on.

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