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How to Overcome Stuttering: Putting Your Stutter in its Place

At this point in the historical timeline of stuttering it feels to me like we are at a new pinnacle within the movement of accepting stuttering as something that exists and should not be seen as a weakness or defect. Our stutter is a part of who we are, so let's see how we can integrate it more into our lives. However, because of my curious mindset, I scour the web to see what other narratives are playing out.

I recently received an email from the World Stop Stuttering Association (Doesn't have a ring to it) that lists 13 ways to avoid stuttering:

Tools to Make Names & First Feared Words Easy

1) Skip the first letter or syllable

2) Use a synonym, similar word or phrase

3) Skip the word entirely or spell it (option to repeat)

4) Insert alternate word(s) or sounds and jam into Feared Word (FW)

5) Tell a story about the FW

6) Change or rephrase the entire thought

Voices to Help Put a String of Words Together

7) The Magic, Instant Cure --Whisper

8) Modulate voice or change voice register; be EXPRESSIVE

9) Use extreme pronunciation or an accent; use gestures

10) Speak immediately and link words together

11) When all else fails, STOP TALKING and take a 2-count (1000-1, 1000-2). Then, Speak like a King/Queen: (i) Start talking but talk less and ask questions (ii) Speak softly (iii) Speak slowly (iv) Use extreme pronunciation (v) Speak with passion (positive emotions only) (vi) Smile the entire time you speak (vii) Insert a full stop every few words

If all of this fails, WRITE; That is, instead of stuttering or blocking, write on a pad, iPad, your phone, or whatever it is that you wanted to say, and, then, in a whisper, try to say what you write. It will get easier and easier to say what you are writing until you don’t need to write at all.

12) Above all else, SMILE the entire time that you speak.

13) The Ultimate Crutch: NO CRUTCH AT ALL: Speak immediately before you can think of any words. Release your positive urge; let your mind select the words. Think only ideas-passion-joy.

Holy shit..... I'll concede and acknowledge that 12 and 13 seem good-natured, but I'm giving this strange "association" a huge benefit of the doubt here.

Imagine spending so much time and brain power trying to avoid something when you could work towards building your nervous system, mindful body awareness, and a clear plan of action for how your most authentic and powerful self will start building your life.

To each their own. Perhaps some folks need to walk this path of the 13 crutches to realize how absurd it is. Maybe some folks are so deeply traumatized by their stutter that in their fearful state, they are willing to subscribe to something like this rather than trust that they can do something exponentially more empowering.

The other side of the spectrum includes a movement that I have seen propagating around for a long time which feels equally misguided and reactive to me. That is a take on adopting a victimization mindset by which people who stutter feel that the world needs to change, become more aware of, accepting, inclusive, and championing of people who stutter and that they should just be able to stutter as much as they want without taking any responsibility for themselves. Until the world changes, they will continue to struggle to get good jobs, find true love, and live a genuine and authentically fulfilling life. A movement like this feels eerily similar to aspects of the body positivity movement.

OF course, there is nuance here. I started to stutter at three years old and routinely received ratings of moderate to severe. I did not have access to the knowledge and practices that I do today, and the speech therapy I did receive was hot garbage.

I understand the desire to live in a world where people know that stuttering is nothing more than a speech pattern with some repetitions of sounds and syllables, prolongations of sounds, and the interruption of the forward flow of speech in the form of a silent block and perhaps some facial tension. That would be pretty dope if everyone knew this and did not question it or have human reactions to observing stuttering. It would also be great if all groups and industries wanted to be sure that people who stutter were represented equally to the same proportion as non-stuttering humans.

Do you know what I think is even more dope?

Knowing I devoted myself to giving my nervous system, body, and mind the ability to express with ease, joy, power, and freedom. When this way of being becomes embodied, meaning that you simply are this way because your body is used to behaving and functioning in this way, your stutter has taken its rightful place in your life and the world being a friendly and more aware place is simply a raw cream with no refined sugar or seed oil icing on the delicious gluten-free cake because we do not fuck around, and we do treat our body like the palace it is.

The nuance does need to be addressed because some people will struggle with a more neurologically impacted form of stuttering. Their journey may be more complex than someone with mild stuttering and minimal traumatic experiences. Just like someone who lives in an overweight body may be predisposed to some congenital medical condition. Their body may be larger but perhaps still very healthy and strong. See the forest through the trees here, please.

Nuance is always a part of every discussion. I have met and worked with people who present as some of the more severe and outlier cases. Those who come to work with me are the ones who feel the depth of my support and expertise. They feel their untapped potential and power waiting to be unleashed. They do not want to let their particularly challenging circumstances create a victim mindset. They do not want to be pushed down a path of least resistance, hiding, or settling for a life of trying to survive and function while they wait on the world to change.

Many people who stutter perpetuate their suffering, and many people who are overweight do the same. Many people who behave this way are surrounded by others who think and behave similarly. Take a good look at the people you are surrounded by and take stock of who is building themselves up to face life with a straight spine and who is building walls around them to keep the triggers out, placing blame, and doing more of the same with little to no positive momentum.

Be the person who walks toward life with a straight spine, deep breath, and a mindful presence in the moment. If you are not, here is my clear, direct, and passionate invitation to you. Let's get after it so you can become exceptional.

Here is my expert take on stuttering: Your stutter is a part of who you are, and there is no room for shame. However, when it starts to tip the scales away from empowerment to disempowerment and spills over into dominating your life, influencing your actions, and affecting your self-worth and self-esteem, it has become a tyrant toddler. That toddler must be tended to.

In the rest of this blog post, we will explore how you can reclaim control over your stutter and put it back in its place.

Recognize the Influence of Your Stutter: Many individuals who stutter can survive and function, but they often feel that their stutter dictates their quality of life more than their power, passions, and purpose. It is crucial to acknowledge the extent to which your stutter impacts your daily experiences and hinders your ability to thrive.

The Power of the Nervous System: To truly address the influence of stuttering, it is essential to work at the level of the nervous system. The various physical and psychological patterns that arise when you feel fear, anxiety, overwhelm, stress, or dread are all interconnected with your nervous system's state. Understanding this connection is key to gaining control because it gives you something clear and objective to focus on.

Retraining Your Nervous System: You have the ability to retrain your entire system, empowering it to work for you rather than against you. Here are two crucial aspects of this retraining process:

1. Strengthening your Nervous System: By training your nervous system to become stronger, you equip yourself with the ability to experience stress without immediately resorting to reactive patterns. This means releasing the body tension, regulating and deepening your breath, straightening your spine, and choosing to be fully present and engaged, among other positive actions that contribute to a more empowered state.

2. Establishing Baseline Regulation: Training your nervous system to operate from a regulated baseline allows you to easily return to that state when you encounter triggers. By building this foundation, you gain the capacity to navigate challenging situations and emotions without succumbing to heightened stress responses.

The Upgraded System: The process and practices offered in my course and therapy are designed to provide you with an upgraded nervous system. This system acts as a highly intelligent and continuously evolving tool, enabling you to adapt, update, and upgrade yourself daily. Imagine having a computer that never needs replacement but continually improves its performance to suit your needs.

Putting Stuttering in its Place: When your nervous system is operating from this empowered state, your stutter naturally falls into its proper place. Instead of fixating on your stutter, your focus shifts to maintaining a regulated nervous system, which directly impacts your speech patterns. Your stutter can exist in its most pure form and take a small, benign, and nice supporting cast member role in the movie of your life.

It is time to seek the proper help and support you deserve in dealing with your life as a person who stutters. This is how to overcome stuttering truly. Through my therapy and training, you will develop an extraordinary level of self-empowerment. You will become so resilient and skillful that you will not need to rely on anyone or anything other than yourself, your practice, and what brings you joy. Embrace the opportunity to build a life where your stutter no longer holds you back but becomes a minor detail in the face of your tremendous growth and success.

Are you ready to reclaim control and unlock your potential? Start your journey towards an empowered and thriving life today!

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