Speech and Voice – Communicating When Speech and Voice Are Declining – Voice Aerobics

Speech and voice changes are common in Parkinson's Disease, with an estimate that 89% of individuals with Parkinson's undergo some change in communication abilities. The initial changes in voice and speech may be subtle and represent the insidious nature of the disease, which hovers in the background changing the way respiratory, voice, and speech muscles work. Unfortunately, patients often wait to pursue treatment until symptoms are more pronounced and, by that time, communication habits are more entrenched, improvements in voice are harder to attain, and requests for repetition, nagging, and frustration have become a part of the daily ritual for the non-Parkinson's spouse / care partner.

Talking to one's spouse, which may have been a pleasurable and an emotionally fulfilling part of a couple's relationship, may gradually disappear and become another burdened associated with the disease.

While there are numerous sources for information regarding specific therapy techniques directed at improving voice and speech, such as the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment® program, there is not a lot of information directed at helping couples maintain or improve their pattern of communication when speech has become difficult. Communication that is full of directives: “you need to” or “speak up” can become parent-like or demeaning to the individual who may need extra time to form a thought or a response. A speech and voice impairment may be erroneously interpreted as a cognitive impairment, resulting in unfamiliar speakers directing conversation to the healthy spouse, while the individual with Parkinson's sets passively and quietly on the sidelines. If hearing loss is an issue for either partner, as well as refusal to use a hearing aid, day-to-day communication is guaranteed to deteriorate further.

So, what are some things that individuals can do to improve their communication with a spouse which speech and voice have declined due to Parkinson's?

1. If you have been prescribed hearing aids, WEAR THEM!

2. If you have a very soft voice, consider use of a personal voice amplifier , particularly in social settings where many other people are talking and there is background noise.

3. Turn off the television, car radio, and other sources of noise that are competitive to be heard.

4. Sit side by side or face to face with the person you are speaking with. Use a hand signal or some other gesture to signal to the listener, that you are still thinking, still planning your response, that you need more time.

5. If you are planning to enroll in speech therapy, sit as a couple with the therapist, and discuss the patient's individual goals, as well as your goals, as a couple, for improving your communication at home.

Communication patterns in relationships are typically as unique as the individuals involved, with patterns of interaction established long before the emergence of a communication impairment. When, for instance, a wife says to me: “I wish my husband would talk more,” and I ask: “Was he a big talker before his diagnosis?”, And she says: “Not really, he was always kind- of a loner, “I am amused. How can we imagine that a man who is barely communicated before his diagnosis of Parkinson's will talk more, when speech and voice are now an effort?

Anyone with a recent diagnosis of Parkinson's should embark on a program of voice strengthening to maintain and improve communication abilities. But even if your partner is now in the middle or late stages of the disease a qualified speech-language therapist may still be able to assist you in improving your day-to-day communication.

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Let Us Learn About the Amazing Dyslexic Brain

The moment the word “Dyslexia” is pronounced, it raises a lot of eyebrows and questions. The mere diagnosis of this learning disability makes the parents run through the web pages for research. Information is available in abundance on the topic with certain contradictory opinions. But the basis of the research remains the same. Research reveals that Dyslexia seems to be genetic although there is no brain damage. The brain activity in a dyslexic brain is five times more than a non dyslexic brain while performing a task. The dyslexic readers use a different portion of the brain to process the information when compared to the non-dyslexic readers. There is no cure but the symptoms can be managed. The rising of a dyslexic child may seem a challenge but comes with an equally great reward.

Let us explore the activities of the brain though the dyslexic eyes. A mere backward turning of the alphabets does not mean that the child is dyslexic. Letters are similar to symbols and young children can take a lot of time to understand symbols. A non-dyslexic reader can read the sentence: The boy was coming home . The dyslexic reader may read it as Thebo ywascom inghome . All the alphabets are present here. The letters or the alphabets can be sorted out by the non-dyslexic reader within a short time and even understand the meaning of the sentence. But the dyslexic reader fails to understand where to pause, stress and maintain a space in the sentence despite there being a brain activity 5 times more than the non-dyslexic brain. This is actually a wonder in itself.

The processing of the information in the dyslexic brain is also different from that of the non-dyslexic brain. The part of the brain that the non dyslexic readers use does not get triggered up in the dyslexic brain. Due to this existing irregularity the other unqualified part of the brain takes over the performance of the task. It is extremely difficult to teach this unqualified part of the brain and this consumes a lot of time. But the human brain is a wonder in itself and will cover up for the irregularity in due course of time.

The silver lining is that many highly successful people have suffered this disability and this proves that this is not a crippling disability. A body builder has to undergo a stage of raising and rebuilding of the muscles to get strong muscles. Likewise, every dyslexic mind needs to undergo scores of building and rebuilding tasks by following the working of the different parts of the brain and performing the tasks which it is not aware of. A dyslexic child that learns to read makes a remarkable achievement. It requires a lot of hard work but the output is awesome.

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How to Stop Stuttering – Be Able to Speak and Be Heard

Through the years I have noticed that many stutterers tend to grow attached subconsciously to their speech disorder and even start defying the mere possibility of getting rid of stuttering. In other cases, people believe that in order to stop stuttering, they need to use extremely complex techniques (the more complex, the better!) Or take sophisticated drugs; the idea that speech fluency can be normalized by a treatment which is rather simple in itself but requires persistence and strong will from the individual is discounted as “uncomfortable” or even “foolish”. Well, if being a “fool” is what it takes to stop stuttering and start communicating freely, then I prefer to remain the former.

The essence of my method is to focus on and eliminate the cause of stuttering – I believe that simplicity is key to a successful treatment. I have found out that almost all people who stutter have weak throat muscles, because they are not used properly. This can be fixed with certain exercises. At the same time, the method is intended to give confidence in oneself and remove the fear towards speaking by using imperatives and commands, which is another important component of the problem.

Moreover, there are several factors which support your stuttering and which need to be fixed in order to solve the problem. For example, you've definitely felt that the emotion of fear has a direct relation to stuttering; Indeed, fear and nervousness are the main triggers of stuttering. They form a vicious circle, which technical disciples call “positive feedback”: the more the person is afraid of stuttering, the more he / she stutters. Continuously receiving such negative emotions, the person gradually grows afraid of speaking as such! Speech exercises are not effective enough to break this cycle.

The method is based largely on individual work, which shows persistence and a strong desire to succeed. To ensure this, I am in constant contact with every user of the method, since the lack of personal support has proved to be one of the most frequent causes of people giving up on the treatment on how to stop stuttering .

The method has shown to increase speech fluency by up to 90%. This means that after the full course the person may not be able to become a news anchor or an air controller (ie the occupations where “100%” speech fluency is required), yet the stuttering is going to be reduced to a level which can not Be distinguished from a non-stutterer. The method has proven efficient in different situations, yet the length of the treatment tends to increase with the initial level of stuttering.

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Dyslexia Appearing in Children: Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia

Dyslexia signs and symptoms for elementary or primary school students:

• Does not enjoy going to school.
• Arrives home from school the major days tied, bad-tempered and stressed.
• Gets especially stressed as well as drained of energy as holidays come to an end as well as a new school year approaches.
• Is exceedingly tired at the beginning of the school term / year, and semesters.
• Seems to be trying very hard at school, but is not making development.
• Has difficulty learning as well as reading fundamental often used sight words including; my, the, in, on, can, we, to, be, etc, frequently given on flashcard to new school starters.
• Is slow to write their name.
• Whilst reading and writing will often mix up letter inside words and possibly will read and write numbers, lettering and words backwards. For instance b can be seen as b, d, pq or even 9.
• When writing or copying written words, has difficulty being able to see the spaces between the words – they all seem to run at the same time.
• Continues to rely solidly on pictures as well as illustrations inside readers and textbooks.
• Is doubtful and worked when reading aloud.
• Guesses wildly when reading unknown words as an alternative of trying to sound them out.
• While attempting to sound out unknown words will repeatly confuse the sounds of the letters or letter blends – for instance 'sh' for 'ch'.
• Misses entire words when reading aloud. This can be random words or even just the less significant words.
• Jumbles up minor words when reading and possibly will interpret 'for' instead 'from' or 'and' instead of 'am'.
• Can learn a word, (with father or instructor help) on a sheet in their reader and afterward can not recognize the equal word on the next pages.
• Will often read words back to front, for example 'was' for 'saw' or 'no' for 'on'.
• When reading, modifies hard words to a shorter adaptation. For instance Katherine will become Kate.

There may well be other signs of dyslexia in children that are not shown above. The main sign is that they struggle to be taught English (or the language they are being trained) given the equivalent exposure to education as the other children. Dyslexia is known to cross over with further learning difficulties which is why it is valuable to search out a specialist analysis. In other words a youngster may possibly exhibit one element of dyslexia plus perhaps some elements of ADHD, Autism, Asperges, poor memory, etc.

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Voice Disorder

Voice disorders are more common than a lot of people think. Information from the American NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) suggests that around 7.5 million Americans have some form of impaired speech. Here in London, voice disorders are simply prevalent. ENT doctors play an extremely important role in the treatment of voice problems. Here are some of the ways that they can help.

The first thing that an ear nose and throat doctor can offer patients with voice disorders is proper diagnosis. It takes specialized training to be able to accurately determine the root cause of a person's voice problems. Without this crucial step, there is no guarantee that any of the treatments will actually improve the patient's voice disorders. In some cases, the wrong treatment can actually make a person's voice problems worse.

Unfortunately, it is relatively common for people in London to miss out on treatments that could have helped them, because they are incorrectly diagnosed. Avoid this problem by getting an accurate diagnosis from a certified an ear nose and throat doctor.

Once voice disorders have been properly identified, ENT doctors can begin the process of treatment. For many patients, vocal therapy is the first step. Many voice problems are acquired through improper vocal technique, and they can be cured by adopting healthy speaking habits. For example, many London teachers put undue strain on their voices as they try to be heard over crowded, noisy classrooms. If a teacher can learn to speak in a way which does not tax her voice, her voice disorders may disappear by themselves.

In certain cases, ENT doctors will also suggest vocal rest. Refraining from speaking for a certain period of time can give the vocal cords a chance to recover. When combined with other forms of treatment, resting your voice can help you to overcome your voice problems.

Medication can also be helpful sometimes. Certain forms of medication can help to reduce infection and soothe irritated structures. ENT doctors know exactly which forms of medication will provide the optimal amount of help and relief for a patient's particular voice problems.

Finally, surgery may be necessary in some situations. Some voice disorders are caused by conditions that can not be cured without surgery. For example, the development of growths on the voice box can impair speech. These growths may need to be excised before the voice problems can be improved. Thankfully, you do not have to travel far to get surgeries of this sort; they can be performed right here in London.

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Replace Stuttering With Fluent Speech

There are three techniques that I would like to recommend to you to stop stuttering and start speaking fluently. The first being to learn how to breathe. No, it's not a mistake, and you got it right, I'd like you to learn how to breathe, because proper breathing can bring you peace of mind and calmness easier and faster than you think. I'd suggest starting with books or videos on breathing. There are lots of them. Also joining a yoga class would not be bad here, since the exercises should start with proper breathing technique.

Technique number two is affirmations. I do not remember who said that a lie repeated a sufficient amount of times will become truth, or something similar. I am writing about it because the affirmations can seem to be a lie at first, but let me assure you that your brain will accept them as true if you only let it. Do you want proof? Then read carefully on.

Imagine that you are holding a ripe, as yellow as the sun, lemon in your hand. Try to picture the lemon, its shiny skin, scratch the skin with your finger and feel the smell. Now, imagine that you are holding a sharp knife in your other hand, and then slowly cut the lemon in half, feel the juice dripping down your hand, feel the smell, squeeze the lemon to make more juice flow …

How did your body react to this exercise? Is not your mouth watering? But where's the lemon? Only in your head! And this is another strange observation about our brain: it does not see the difference between truth and imagination. You can talk your mind into everything, and you should start with:

“I am a confident and fluent speaker.”
“I speak fluently when I speak to my friend, and I speak fluently when giving a presentation.”
“As I speak more and more fluently, I am more and more self confident.”

And so on. You can craft your own affirmations, aimed at the goal you want to reach, but you must remember the following:

  • The affirmation must always be in the present tense!
  • The affirmation must always be positive!
  • The affirmation must appeal to you emotionally!

The more positive and the more emotional affirmation, the stronger it is, the better it works.

You should repeat your affirmations out loud every day, just after you wake up, and before you go to sleep. You should also repeat the affirmation as often as possible when you only remember it. You can write it down, and while you are reading it, you can be singing it out, or do something that evokes positive emotions, too.

Technique number three is somewhat related to technique number two. And believe me, this is a mighty tool. I am talking about visualization here. Affirmation is words, visualization words words put into action, where you use both the power of affirmation and the power of your brain.

Visualization requires a quiet place, and some time only for yourself. You can be sitting, standing, lying down … does not matter. What matters is that you first relax with a breathing exercise, relax your body, and start reiterating your affirmation. This time, however, create an adequate picture in your mind. If you say “I am fluent and confident speaker,” see yourself in front of a large audience of total strangers to what you have to make the speech, and see yourself speaking, hear yourself speaking, louder and louder, more and more fluently until you finish. See the audience cheering you, hear the words you hear. Positive words. Cast as much light upon the whole scene as you can. Add as many bright colors as you can. If you looked at your visualization from the viewer's perspective (like in the movies) try to switch the perspective and become the speaker, as if you really stand in front of cheering crowd, joking, laughing, feeling proud of yourself and your ability to speak fluently.

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Tips for Curing Stuttering

Although it does not pose any serious threats to one's health, curing stuttering is of utmost importance to one suffering from it. Why? It is because a person with a stutter can not live a normal life. He will constantly feel self-conscious and avoid situations where he will have to speak to other people. Even simple tasks such as ordering at a restaurant seem daunting. But there is hope. Here are a few tips on how to get rid of a stutter.

The first step is to make sure that the condition is correctly diagnosed. Stuttering is often confused with stammering and speech disfluency. Make certain that the condition has been accurately diagnosed so that proper treatment can be given.

Once stuttering has been diagnosed, you can choose a method or a combination of methods for curing stuttering. Consider your priorities. Speech therapy is pricey and time-intensive but has been proven effective. It may, however, take a while before you experience the results. Meditations, on the other hand, may be less expensive and may give faster results. But the effectiveness of this method has not been proved and there is also the possibility of side effects.

You may want to attempt curing stuttering by subjecting yourself to one of those software programs that claim to help a person get rid of his or her stutter. There are also anti-stuttering devices available that are supposed to improve one's fluency by altering how he hears his own voice. If you think that these might work for you, try them out.

Most of the time, stuttering is linked to abnormal breathing patterns. If such is the case, learning correct breathing techniques will prove beneficial. This method entails intention concentration and lots of practice.

For some people, stuttering is triggered by social stresses or certain physical conditions that cause stress or unease. If this is the case, work on reducing your levels of anxiety. Avoid places or social situations that stress you out. Create a home and / or work environment that is comfortable and tension-free. When you find yourself having to speak at a social gathering, take a few deep breaths and try to speak in an unhurried manner so that the tendency to stutter is diminished.

The key to curing stuttering is belief in one's self and one's ability to overcome the condition. Be determined and keep your goal in mind. Do not give up. Practice, practice, practice.

While you are trying to cure this condition, joining a support group or simply having a network of supportive friends and family members around will help you tremendously. These people will be there to encourage you to continue on when you feel like giving up and will be there to comfort you or cheer you up when you're feeling down. The probability of a person succeeding in his or her attempts in curing stuttering is greatly affected by the amount of support he or she receives from loved ones.

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Stuttering in 2-Year-Olds: How Parents Can Help

Stuttering in 2-year-olds is not uncommon. This speech impediment typically begins between the ages of two and four or around the time when children start to speak in short phrases. Children who experience stuttering know what they want to say but have difficulty saying the words clearly and fluently. As a parent, there are many ways by which you can help your child while he is going through this condition.

Be patient. Concentrate on what your child is saying, not how it is said. Remember that the message is more important than the stuttering. Maintain eye contact when your child is struggling with his words. Do not interrupt and do not try to finish his sentences because he will only get more frustrated.

Be supportive. Respond to the condition as you would to any other difficulty your child is going through. Do not criticize and do not automatically correct him every time he stutters. Encourage him when he gets frustrated.

After your child has spoken, repeat what he said in a slow and unhurried manner, using some of his own words. For example, if he said, “I www-want to go hh-home”, you can probably reply, “Oh, you want to go home? Okay, we will go home now.” Use short and simple sentences when speaking to your child.

If you notice that you speak quite fast, slow down. Pause before responding. Ask a question at a time and give your child ample time to answer.

Every day for an hour or so, step away from your hectic lifestyle and give your child your full attention. Spend some quality time with him in a relaxed environment. Play, read, or simply talk to each other. Take measures to lessen or eliminate stresses from your toddler's life. Stuttering in 2-year-olds is aggravated by a rushed lifestyle. Make sure that your child follows a daily routine and that he eats a well-balanced diet and gets enough sleep.

Stuttering in 2-year-olds is sometimes not really stuttering. At this age, kids have so much to say that their limited vocabulary will not allow them to. Parents may confuse this inability or difficulty in verbal expression for stuttering; however, this awkward groping for words is a completely natural phase in a child's development. To their relief, parents usually find that what they thought was stuttering in 2-year-olds is certainly a stage in the learning of good language skills. If this is the case, you can expect your child to show improvement in fluency within the next few months. Around 80 percent of kids who begin to “stutter” event stop.

However, if your child is diagnosed with stuttering, do not lose hope. It is more likely that stuttering in 2-year-olds will gradually disappear than turn into a chronic problem. If you're a parent dealing with stuttering in your toddler, follow the advice given above and consult a speech pathologist.

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Stuttering in Two-Year-Olds: Eating Their Way to Stuttering

Stuttering in two-year-olds is heavily blamed on child development. Stuttering is a common occurrence among children ranging from 2 to 5 years of age and should last for 5 to 6 months. Around 60 percent of child stutterers suffer from simple disfluency and will recover in due time. Those who stuttering persists after a prolonged period should undergo speech therapy to correct this problem.

There are numerous factors that contribute to child stuttering. The usual suspects are genes (if a parent is a stutterer, the child will likely be one too), gender (boys are more likely to stutter than girls) and stress (a sudden change in a child's life like the birth of a new baby in the family can cause stuttering). Few people are aware that stuttering can also be triggered by the food they eat. Just as it can be induced by some medications, stuttering can be triggered by the ingredients in food. According to studies, chemicals found in some processed foods may be the reason / s behind the development of child stuttering. These chemicals include:


Commonly used as preservatives, nitrates play a role in delaying the development of children. Since stuttering in two-year-olds is one manifestation of a developmental disorder, processed foods like hotdogs, hams and other cold cuts must be avoided.


Salicylates are found in plant foods and are used in the production of drugs, preservatives, and flavorings. Parents have reported incidents of stuttering in children becoming worse after the consumption of certain fruits or vegetables and other salicylate-containing food.


Sulfites are used as preservatives in many processed foods. According to some parents, stuttering in two-year-olds worsened after the consumption of sulfur-containing foods such as hotdogs and bacon. When sulfites were removed from the diet, stuttering ceased.

Benzoates in medicine

Benzoates in medicine such as those for cough and asthma have been found to increase stuttering in two-year-olds and other young children. Parents also report that children become sluggish, withdrawn and uncharacteristically silent while taking these medications. Normal behavior and speech return after they stop taking the benzoate-containing medications.

Although many parents report that their children's stuttering was brought on or aggravated by certain foods or food chemicals such as dairy, wheat, nitrates and salicylates, current medical literature does not confirm this. The effects of the said food components also vary with every individual. Consumption of the chemicals mentioned above may induction stuttering in two-year-olds as well as worsen a child's behavior as confirmed by some parents. Therefore, to prevent this, it is advised that food or food chemical triggers will be eliminated from the child's diet.

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Stuttering in Two-Year-Olds: Signs and Symptoms

Stuttering in two-year-olds, otherwise known as pseudo-stuttering or simple disfluency, is a rather common occurrence. Some studies discovered that one in every twenty children will experience stuttering during childhood, while one in forty children will develop true stuttering. It is natural for parents to worry if their child begins to stammer. You must first consider that every child undergoes this phase simply because they are in the process of developing their vocal abilities. There are no tell-tale signs that your child is developing a “true stutter”. That is why parents should be extra observant. These are what you have to know and watch out for.

Family History

Talk to your immediate family. Ask your parents or grandchildren if your family has a history of stammering. Stuttering in two-year-olds has been linked to some specific genes although studies on the subject matter have not actually proved or disprove such a concept. Neverheless, it has been widely accepted that a combination of genetic make-up and social environment is also liable.

Physical Manifestations

True stuttering in two-year-olds is often accompanied by muddled breathing, tightening of the jaw, severe eye blinking or rolling, grimacing and other forms of facial contortion. When you notice these signs in your child, they are most likely indications of a developing true stutter. Contact your doctor immediately to get your child checked. If your pediatrician tells you not to worry, do not stop there. Oftentimes, you need to consult a speech expert to determine if your child requires speech therapy.

Childhood Stress

This is the most difficult to spot and analyze. Some research point to stuttering in two-year-olds as indicative of some sort of depression that the child sufferers from. Now ask yourself, “Is my 2-year-old stressed or depressed?” You might think that they are too young to be stressed out but, in reality, they can be. If your child stammers whenever he or she is overly excited, agitated or exhausted, then it is possibly pseudo-stuttering. However, if you feel that your child has developed a fear of certain words, often gets busy and embarrassed, and if the child resorts to filler words (ahhms and errs) you should consult with an expert right away, especially if the stuttering worsens as time goes by.

As parents, we should always be aware of what is happening to our children. Do not be embarrassed or think that you are over-reacting whenever you feel that something is wrong. Keep in mind that stuttering in two-year-olds may or may not develop into true stuttering. If you think that your toddler is a true stutterer, have him evaluated by speech experts. Early diagnosis and treatment may lead to better results. Remember that it is better to be safe than sorry.

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The Effectiveness of Some Common Methods for Curing Stuttering

Many people suffer with a stutter that prevails them from communicating well with others and living a normal life. And, for these people, finding an effective method for curing stuttering is a top priority. Because stuttering is often confused with other speech impediments, the first step is proper diagnosis of the condition. From there, one can choose which cure or method to employ. The following are some common cures for stuttering and whether or not they have been found to be effective.


Proponents of this method claim that hypnotherapy can train the mind to not stumble over the words that commonly cause one to stutter. Studies into the usefulness of hypnotherapy or mediation as a cure for stuttering are inconclusive.


There is a wide variety of medications out there that are supposedly capable of curing or reducing one's stuttering but none has been scientifically proven effective or have been endorsed by doctors or speech therapists as a cure. Examples of these medications are risperidone and haloperidol. While most people experience few or no side effects, there have been reports of these medications causing side effects that are worse than the stuttering itself.

Speech Therapy

This is one of, if not the most, common method employed by people wanting to get rid of a stutter. In this case, one sees a speech pathologist a few times a week for as long as it takes to get rid of the stutter. Speech therapy is known to be effective in decreasing or curing stuttering. The downside to this method, however, is that it is expensive and time-consuming.

Visualization and Breathing Techniques

Of the cures mentioned in this article, this is one of the least expensive and time-intensive. Visualization and breathing techniques work by getting to the root of the problem and, with practice, easing the physical, emotional and mental stresses that cause one to stutter. Some individuals have reported this as an effective technique for curing stuttering.

Identifying Physical and Social Triggers

This method is sometimes used in conjuction with breathing and visualization techniques. It is commonly used by speech therapists and is a technique taught by stutter cure courses that claim to help you stop stuttering at your own pace. The idea is that if you are able to identify the triggers that cause you to stutter, you can perform avoidance techniques and basically override your normal tendency to stutter. This method has been found to be successful in curing stuttering as it works on the undering causes of the stuttering and not merely the stuttering itself.

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Stuttering – Unwelcome Uniqueness

Stuttering, no matter whether severe or mild, can lead to a person's withdrawal from those activities that require speaking, especially in public. Stuttering children are oftenocked at, and the same, although in less open form happens to stuttering adults. Therefore stuttering people often isolate themselves, seeing their condition as detrimental to their social life. Unfortunately, schools very often ostracize stuttering children, preventing them from participation in events involving recitation and singing, which makes the problem even worse.

The question is, if we can at least try to reverse personal perception of the condition. Can we show our child, brother, sister, friend, anyone, that they are first of all unique and secondly in a very good company. In my opinion the proverb of clouds and silver lining fits very well here.

Yes, people who stutter are unique for the very fact that stuttering affects less than 1% of human population. How many (other) stuttering people do you know? See. Of course, sometimes nobody wants to be unique in such way, but can not we change our point of view for a while? What is more important: what people say about you or how you feel about yourself? So, if you stutter, not only are you unique as a human being, but you are also extra-unique as a stuttering human being.

If that has not made you smile, let me tell you that you are in a very good company of super-unique stuttering people from the past and present, and they were and are also unique in their own way.

Some say that Moses was the first famous stutterer, and this is backed up by his own words about the “knot upon his tongue”.

You certainly heard of Demosthenes, ancient Greek famous speaker, and stutterer at the same time. How did he try to get rid of stuttering? By speaking with pebbles in his mouth and shouting over stormy ocean.

Next famous stutterer comes from ancient Rome and his name is Claudius. Treated as retarded by many, he became the emperor of Rome, reformed the alphabet and proved out to be a very brilliant thinker.

Much closer to us in time are such figures as Sir Winston Churchill, King George VI (depicted so well in the movie “The King's Speech”), not to mention the glamorous Marilyn Monroe, and another famous actor – Bruce Willis.

As you can see then, you're unique but not alone. The company of stutterers is really a splendid one.

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Curing Stuttering in Adults: Some Options

Curing stuttering is not easy but it is doable. Stuttering is caused by different factors so stutterers may have to try several treatments or a combination of treatments until they find the one / s that will be effective for them. Here are a few options for adult stutterers to choose from.

Fluency Shaping Therapy

In this method, people who stutter are trained to speak fluently through the use of proper breathing techniques, proper articulation, and proper vocal folds. Curing stuttering is done by teaching stutterers to breathe using their diaphragms, slow their pace by stretching vowels, and less pressure when articulating. The resulting speech is fluent and monotonic, but this kind of speaking is only for inside the speech clinic. When the person with the stutter has mastered the initial techniques, the speaking rate is increased until his speech sounds normal. This fluent and properly-paced speech is then used for everyday life outside therapy.

This kind of therapy is usually augmented with psychological treatments for reducing fears and anxieties, altering social habits, and relieving the emotional effects of stuttering. According to a recent study, fluency shaping therapy produces satisfactory results in about 70% of stutterers.

Stuttering Modification Therapy

Unlike fluency shaping therapy, the aim of stuttering modification therapy is not curing stuttering. Proponents of this kind of therapy believe that an adult who stutters will never be able to speak normally again. The purpose of speech modification therapy is to improve the stutterer's communication skills such that he will be able to converse well despite his stutter. Methods include teaching the stutterer how to control his moments of stuttering such that it is not so severe and finding ways to reduce one's fear of stuttering.

A study conducted on stuttering modification therapy which was published in a peer-reviewed journal concluding that it is not effective in reducing or curing stuttering and does not produce any improvements in the fluency of stutterers.

Anti-Stuttering Devices

These are based on the principle that one's fluency is improved when he he hears his voice is modified. Altered auditory supposedly fixes the shortage of activity in auditory processing observed in the brain scans of people who stutter. Altered auditory effects can be created by hearing one's own voice echoed or speaking speaking simultaneously with another person. Delayed auditory feedback, masking auditory feedback and frequency-shifted auditory feedback are the most common forms of altered auditory feedback.

Studies show that a combination of delayed audio feedback devices and fluency shaping therapy produced exemplary results. One study found that subjects had “carryover fluency”, meaning that they exhibited improved speech even when they were not using the devices anymore. However, another study, using a different kind of anti-stuttering device, found that subjects had no “carryover fluency”. The reason behind this discrepancy is still unknown. Nonetheless, anti-stuttering devices have been scientifically proven effective for curing stuttering.

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But I’m Thirsty

Thickened liquids are often recommended for patients with dysphagia. Very few of these patients are compliant with the use of thickened liquids if they are able to obtain drinks on their own. For those who are compliant, dehydration and / or reduced appetite are often side effects which, over time, may create more problems than the original diagnosis of dysphagia. So is there a solution to this problem? For some patients, the answer is “yes.”

If a patient is being seen by a speech pathologist and has a physician's order, the Frazier Water Protocol can be used. This protocol is based on the fact that the human body is made up of water and if small amounts of water enter the lungs through aspiration that water is absorbed quickly.

There are certain precedencies that must be followed when using the Frazier Water Protocol:

  • Oral care must be completed first thing in the morning and after every meal to insure that no food particles or bacteria are inadvertently washed down into the lungs with the use of unthickened water. Oral care includes brushing the teeth thoroughly, cleaning the tongue, insuring that there are no food particles lodged in the cheeks, and checking for food particles on the roof of the mouth. For patients with dentures, the dentures should be removed and cleaned thoroughly after every meal. Special care should be taken with patients who are not able to complete this oral care independently. Likewise, patients who snack between meals (this includes chewing gum or sucking on candy) may not be good candidates for this protocol.
  • Medications should not be given with water as there is potential for residue from the medications to be washed down into the lungs. Medications can be given with thickened liquids or provided in food items such as applesauce or pudding.
  • With all of the specialty waters on the market, patients must be reminded that they can only have regular unthickened water between meals – no flavored waters, no vitamin waters, no sparkling waters, etc.
  • Only fresh water from a clean cup should be provided. No drinks from drinking fountains. No drinks from cups of water that have been sitting uncoovered. Keep in mind that water is only safe when there is no immediate danger of contamination.
  • Special care should be taken with patients who have underlying medical conditions such as COPD, CHF, asthma, or dementia. Patients with compromised breathing and / or cognitive impairments may not be good candidates for this protocol since it requires a stable respiratory system and the ability to follow directions correctly.

It is essential that both a speech pathologist and a physician be involved before proceeding with the Frazier Water Protocol. It is equally important that the patient be monitored on an ongoing basis to insure that the protocol is safe and effective.

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From Stuttering to Fluent Speech Through Memorization

When it comes to public speaking, people who stutter have a really hard time. Add stress connected with public speaking, and you may look at a disaster. But does it really have to be so? Is not there a way to prevent changes in voice pitch, stuttering, and general nervousness while we speak in public. Fortunately, there is a way. Memorization. Yes, just that. Not having the text written on a few sheets of paper, but memorizing it will help you speak much more fluently and naturally even if you normally stutter in such situations.

Memorization, learning by heart, what could be simpler? But is it really so simple? How much time do you need to memorize a poem? Are not you afraid of forgetting a word or a line, even if you have rehearsed it a thousand times? And what about a longer text? Do you always deliver your speeches reading them? Does not your voice change then? Is not it getting higher? Very often this happens. Even though the text is written and in front of our eyes, we tend to get nervous, and what was to be a brave and brilliant presentation turns out to be a disaster. Still, it does not have to be that way.

Proper memorization will help you deliver your speech in a much more interesting way than you could expect. And my favorite exercise is copied from Sir Winston Churchill (at least his biographers say he used it). Not only do you memorize the text from start to finish, but also backwards. Start with reading the text out loud paragraph by paragraph first, breathing in a proper way. Slow down if you feel you get short of breath, take an extra breath. Take a pencil, mark your breaths in the text. Repeat for all paragraphs. Now read the text once more, breathing as you have marked. Do not rush, slow down rather. Next read the text from breath to breath and repeat, keeping the same pace, and taking breaths in the same places.

After you have practiced reading, speaking and breathing, start learning the text by heart. Use whatever your favorite method is, but remember that the more senses are engaged in the learning process, the more effective the learning. You can turn some soft music on. You can walk while memorizing the text, you can gesticulate. Whatever you do will first of all help you remember the text, and secondly will turn your attention away from the way you speak, and you'll speak more fluently.

When you finish rehearsing the text, and can repeat the text with some degree of confidence, start learning it backwards. backwards I And. Makes no sense at first, but then you'll become even more familiar with the text.

If you have someone to help you with the rehearsal, you can do one more exercise with the text you have to memorize. First, number the paragraphs. Next take a piece of paper and write down the numbers of paragraphs, and the first word of each paragraph next to the number. Now, give the text to your partner and ask them to call paragraph numbers while you try to repeat the whole paragraph looking only at the first word. Remember to keep the slow speaking and breathing pace.

So there are in fact two things you must memorize: the text itself, and the speaking-breathing sequence. When you master the two, you can confidently go out and deliver the speech, looking only at the list with paragraph numbers and their first words.

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