Since the 1930’s the stuttering therapy using “Stuttering Modification” has been implemented with children and adults who stutter. It was developed by clinicians who wanted to teach clients to “stutter more easily”. Techniques were taught to reduce tension by training muscle relaxation during the moments of stuttering. Some of these procedures are “pull outs” (reducing tension during the stuttering moment) and “cancellations” (completing the stuttering moment and the going back over it with less tension). All of these were somewhat effective in reducing the severity of the stuttering moment, but the stuttering remained.
In the 1970’s, another approach to stuttering treatment was developed. The procedures were very different from stuttering modification. As a matter of fact the goal of this new therapy was to replace stuttering completely with a new way of talking that allowed the person to talk without stuttering. The goal of this “Fluency Shaping” therapy was not to stutter more easily, but to “speak more fluently”.
The program usually started with production of a very slow unnatural sounding prolonging of sounds and syllables – but during this time the client did not stutter. Next the rate and other factors were shaped gradually in steps to sound like normal, natural sounding speech. All the while, the client is still not stuttering. When stutter-free, natural sounding speech was established in the clinic, the client was carefully exposed to outside clinic situations, starting with the easiest speaking situations and gradually progressing to harder situations, until the client is able to speak stutter-free with anyone all day long.
There has been little research on the effectiveness of Stuttering Modification. One study shows that it is less effective than Fluency Shaping. There have been many research studies on Fluency Shaping. Most show significant reductions in stuttering especially when the program is provided as an intensive stuttering therapy program by a stuttering specialist.
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