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Adult Stuttering Therapy
Our Speech-Language Pathologists offer intervention specifically designed for adults who stutter.
We individualize each program and integrate evidence-based fluency techniques with related areas, such as confident voicing techniques, breath stream management, reduction of communication anxiety, and professional presentation and social skills.
We'll work with you to practice and carry over your fluency goals into real-life situations, such as podcasts, presentations and interviews.
Stuttering (also called "stammering") is a speech difference that affects speech-motor coordination and results in a disruption of forward flowing speech. Each person who stutters is likely to experience the characteristics if stuttering differently. In our work with adults, we address three major stuttering areas: core behaviours, secondary behaviours, and unhelpful feelings, attitudes and beliefs about stuttering; and we do this in a creative, flexible, and individualized way.
We'll begin by examining your current speech patterns and postures and assessing for optimization. If you're open to it, we will spend some time reflecting on and challenging potentially unhelpful thoughts, patterns and beliefs that have built up over time. We'll learn and apply a wide variety of techniques, borrowing from fluency shaping strategies, stuttering modification techniques, respiratory-phonatory coordination, and relaxation.
Once we achieve easy-feeling, free-flowing speech together in our sessions, we'll set a plan to begin extending our "flow" to more challenging situations in a controlled way. We'll gradually extend time between sessions as you begin feeling more independent and confident in navigating stuttering moments in day-to-day life.
The Core Behaviours Of Stuttering
The core behaviours are stuttering are what you hear when a stuttering moment happens.
Repetitions (re-iterations of sounds, syllables, words, phrases)
Blocks (stoppage of air and/or sound)
Prolongations (prolongation of air and/or sound)
The Secondary Behaviours Of Stuttering
Secondary behaviours of stuttering are conscious or unconscious responses that happen in reaction to the core behaviour. Sometimes these are described as "struggle behaviours".
Some common examples include:
Substituting desired vocabulary or rephrasing sentences to avoid a potential disfluency
Using excessive filler words or starters (um, like, so) to avoid stuttering
Avoiding situations that are fearful, such as attending social events, asking questions or answering the phone
Pretending not to know answers to avoid a potential disfluency
Physical movements of the body or head (e.g. blinking, grimacing)
Changes in breathing patterns
Using a quiet and timid voice
Unhelpful Thoughts, Attitudes and Beliefs Toward Stuttering
As a result of feelings of shame, embarrassment, anger, and sadness with relation to their stuttering journey, many adults who stutter have, over the course of their lives, developed unhelpful thoughts, attitudes and beliefs toward stuttering.
An example of an unhelpful belief could be, "If I stutter in this presentation, people will think I am incompetent".
Whether conscious or unconscious, these patterns most often lead to reduced participation in speaking and lift situations.
We will work together to address and challenge these patterns, and with practice, mindfulness, relaxation, foundations in cognitive behavioural therapy, and desensitization and approach strategies, we will learn to create new and helpful thoughts, attitudes and beliefs toward stuttering.
Can I Eliminate the Stuttering?
Through a combination of internal and external techniques, we will ultimately reduce the frequency and severity of stuttering moments, but ultimately, our goal is to develop easy-feeling, forward-flowing speech, and an overall speech pattern that feels and sounds like you. We are not working to eliminate stuttering altogether, but rather, to develop a healthy relationship with flowing speech, and to arm you with strategies to navigate unhelpful patterns.
How Long Will it Take?
The time it takes for one to feel comfortable with easy, flowing speech varies greatly. Some factors to consider are your current relationship with your speech, willingness and comfort in exploring, starting severity, and the performance level at which you need to carry flow patterns over to. While there is no requirement to book or pay upfront, we usually recommend beginning with five or six bi-weekly sessions, and we can re-assess at that time.
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