What to Do When You Stutter on a Word?

Jun 10, 2024

You're sitting in class, the teacher calls on you with a simple question. You know the answer, you open your mouth to respond, but... the words get stuck. Your heart starts to race, your palms get sweaty, and a wave of frustration washes over you. Sound familiar?

If you stutter, you know this feeling all too well. The unexpected interruption in your speech flow can be incredibly frustrating and even embarrassing. But it's important to remember that stuttering is a common speech disorder, affecting millions of people worldwide. It's not a reflection of your intelligence, your abilities, or your worth as a person.

The good news is that there are effective strategies you can use to navigate those moments when you stutter on a word. You can leverage them to regain control over your speech and communicate with confidence.

When you find yourself stuck on a word, do the following:

  1. Don't Panic: The first and most important step is to remain calm. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that stuttering is a normal part of your speech pattern. Panicking will only increase tension and make it more difficult to speak fluently.

  1. Slow Down: One of the most effective ways to overcome a stutter is to simply slow down your speech rate. Deliberately slowing down gives your brain more time to process and plan the next words, reducing the likelihood of disfluencies.

  1. Pause and Breathe: If you feel a stutter coming on, don't try to force the word out. Instead, take a brief pause, collect your thoughts, and take a deep breath. This will help relax your muscles and reduce anxiety, making it easier to resume speaking smoothly.

  1. Use Easy Onsets for Vowel Sounds: When a word starts with a vowel sound (like "apple" or "eat"), try beginning the word with a gentle, breathy sound. Imagine sighing softly before you say the vowel. This technique helps to avoid a hard vocal attack, which can trigger stuttering. By easing into the vowel sound, you create a smoother transition and reduce the likelihood of getting stuck.

  1. Use Light Contacts for Consonant Sounds: When a word starts with a consonant sound (like "ball" or "cat"), try making light contact with your articulators – your tongue, lips, or teeth – instead of pressing them together forcefully. For example, when saying "ball," gently touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth instead of making a hard "b" sound. This reduces tension in your speech muscles and can help you move through the consonant more smoothly.

  1. Pull-Out Technique: If you find yourself repeating a sound or syllable ("b-b-b-ball"), or holding onto a sound for too long ("ssssssnake"), don't try to force your way through it. Instead, try the "pull-out" technique. Recognize that you have started stuttering and hold the stutter in that moment. Take a pause and think how you could say this word fluently (eg: could you use gentle onsets or light contacts to say the word?). And then say the word by applying the appropriate correction. This can help you regain control and smoothly transition to the rest of the word.

  1. Cancel and Restart: Sometimes, you might stutter on a word and feel like you've lost control. In this case, you can try the "cancel and restart" technique. After you stutter, pause for a moment, take a breath, and then repeat the word with a slower, more intentional approach. This gives you a chance to reset and say the word with more fluency.

  1. Use Preparatory Sets: This technique involves anticipating a potential stutter and using a fluency technique before you say the word. For example, if you know you tend to stutter on the word "apple," you might use an easy onset before you start the word. This preemptive strategy can help you avoid getting stuck and maintain smooth speech flow.

While the above techniques can help you manage stuttering in the moment, it's also important to address the underlying causes and develop long-term strategies for improving fluency. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can assess your stuttering, teach you a variety of fluency techniques, provide feedback and support, and help you build confidence in your communication skills.

Stuttering can be a challenging experience, but it doesn't have to define you. By learning and practicing effective strategies, you can navigate those moments when you stutter on a word and communicate with confidence. Remember, progress takes time and patience. Celebrate your successes, learn from your challenges, and don't be afraid to seek support from loved ones and professionals.

Eloquent is a digital therapeutic app for iOS and Android that provides modern and effective speech therapy for stuttering treatment. Using Eloquent, you can learn various speech therapy techniques, practice them within the app, master the techniques by using them in simulations of real world situations, measure your progress, and do a lot more. Eloquent will help you improve your fluency and develop a positive attitude towards communication. Try it today!

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Email: hello@iyaso.ai

Iyaso Softwares Private Limited

© 2024 - All rights reserved

Email: hello@iyaso.ai

Iyaso Softwares Private Limited

© 2024 - All rights reserved