Confusion surrounding stuttering – and your questions

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Confusion surrounding stuttering – and your questions

Understanding stuttering would be much easier if we knew what we don’t know. We think in a certain way, so we are not aware of the possibility of thinking differently. This seems confusing, but what is very clear is that by thinking the same way we thought before, keeps us in a state of confusion.

Today people who stutter are confused. If you stutter, you have probably asked yourself, “What made me stutter this time?” or “Why can I speak in one situation, but not in another?” Wouldn’t it be great if there were a theory that would explain the why and how of stuttering, and how people who stutter can speak with ease and comfort?

So far there is no widely accepted comprehensive theory of stuttering. Furthermore, there never will be one, if we keep thinking about stuttering from the same perspective. By opening our minds and realizing that there is more to know and many different ways of looking at stuttering, we may be able to put crystal clarity on a condition that has until now been surrounded by a cloud of confusion.

For the past quarter of a century, I have been asking myself what is it about stuttering that I don’t know. Trying to find the answer to that question lead to observations that lead to another question. Through this process, I eventually found myself with the beginnings of a theory of stuttering. In this blog I want to check out this theory, but I will need your help. You see, if my theory can be proven to be true, it has to be able to explain all of what you know now about the characteristics, and nature of stuttering and fluency inducing factors. It also has to explain the speech behaviors, attitudes and feelings of people who stutter and how stuttering begins and develops. If my theory is valid it has to be testable and applicable to all people who stutter. It also has to be able answer all your questions or at least generate questions for research that can answer your questions. This is where you can help. In the weeks to come, I am going to explain my theory and see if it is plausible. So please post your questions below and let’s get a dialogue going. Let’s see if together we can get to know what we don’t know.

To get started, I will give you a basic overview of what I think stuttering is. As I comment on your questions and comments, I will explain it in more detail, but for now, it goes like this:

Stuttering is a condition in which the normally automatic way the brain transforms thoughts into language while producing a voice that is automatically shaped into speech sounds comes under too much control. Instead of all the elements of speaking working simultaneously, the speaker pays attention to words and then tries to get them out.

All the symptoms we see in people who stutter, such as blocks, repetitions facial and body tension, a lack of breath, fear of speaking, discomfort and so much more are the result of the malfunctioning neurological system that involves speech planning and production. Genetics, learned behavior, misconceptions about speaking, attitudes, reactions to outside stimuli and emotions can affect and may be affected by the way the system functions.

I look forward to explaining this theory further and to being stimulated by your questions.


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