People have probably told you that all you need to do is just “SLOW DOWN” and “THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY”.
I know that I heard that a lot when I was stuttering severely. The problem was that I tried that many times and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t just slow down by myself!
What you can do though, is START at a really slow speaking rate where you DON’T STUTTER AT ALL and GRADUALLY move the speed of your talking up to a normal rate without any need to stutter along the way.
We accomplish this in therapy with the aid of the DAF (Delayed Auditory Feedback) machine. If set the DAF to a 1/4 second delay, you will hear your words echoing back to you after you say them. This is NOT what we want you to hear. If you speak at about 2 seconds per syllable (Liiiiiike ThiiiiiiiiS) you will hear only one voice. But, if you talk faster than the setting of the DAF, you will hear the echo again. So the DAF gives you feedback to help you control your speaking rate.
Learning to slow down your speech the easy way
Imagine talking without stuttering at all from the first hour of therapy. Of course, you are talking at a ridiculously slow rate – but after several hours you are talking without effort and stutter-free at a normal speaking rate. Along the way, you have learned other behaviors that will control your stuttering. Planning phrases is important, but it is hard to learn the planning a rapid speaking rate. When the rate is slower (2 seconds per syllable) you can plan simple phases of about 3 syllables easily. Usually, people who stutter are not very concerned with planning a phrase. They learned long ago it was fruitless to plan a phrase when after a few syllables, they would block or change the words around. They never could follow that plan and eventually gave up planning. Does this sound like you?
– Mark Power, M.A. CCC BCS-FD
ASHA Board Certified Stuttering Specialist
Power Stuttering Center