Stuttering is by its nature a unique pathology. First of all, this is expressed in the extreme instability of its manifestations. Smooth, sometimes beautiful, speech of a stuttering person suddenly, for no particular reason, can turn into a real nightmare when it is difficult to understand the meaning of the message and it is just painful to look at a person distorted by convulsions.
Every specialist knows that stutters speak smoothly when they have no responsibility for the outcome of the statement, when they are confident that they can say it, and there is absolutely no reason to worry. During speech alone, when communicating with an infant, animals, and most stutters, spasmodic delays disappear or their number decreases significantly.
On the other hand, there are actors who stutter in life, but speak fluently on the stage (while they are in a different way), sometimes speech improves in a situation full of emotions. I know one extremely stuttering stutter who could not give his own name or, at the request of his parents, to call a dog, but freely led wedding celebrations. Is there any other pathology with similar oddities?
At the same time, statistics on stuttering treatment outcomes is far from optimistic. The main mystery is that often, it would seem, completely normal after treatment, speech, for no particular reason, begins to gradually deteriorate, and sometimes this happens quite sharply.
Despite the fact that there are many cases of stable normalization of speech, negative experience is so dominant that among scientists studying this problem, as well as among most practitioners, the opinion is rooted that stuttering constantly recurs and that it can not be cured.
The issue of relapse stuttering always worried us. At one time, we spent a lot of effort trying to identify the causes leading to speech impairment. We have repeatedly noted that, as a rule, specialists take cases of incomplete treatment for relapse and that this can only be avoided if speech therapy practice uses criteria for evaluating speech health that are common to all speech therapists.
At present, we do not refuse this criterion of speech health, although, in concluding this work, we will make some additions to it.
Stuttering is characterized by a feeling of constant anxiety, excitement, fear in the process of speech. In fact, in the case of stuttering, we can talk about the speech reflex of anxiety, which usually manifests itself even when there is a need for communication and, of course, in its process. Anxiety, excitement – the most significant key symbol that directly brings to life an integral picture of stuttering. Therefore, striving to achieve sustainable results, we essentially climb many paths to one peak, the name of which is calm during a speech, calm for the result of a statement. The main task of stuttering speech therapy is the formation of a “speech reflex of calm” as opposed to the reflex of anxiety that is characteristic of stuttering.
In connection with the foregoing, it becomes clear that. all attempts to correct any individual manifestations of stuttering are doomed to failure. To give a stuttering person the possibility of free verbal communication, it is necessary to form (starting literally from scratch) a completely new speech and behavioral stereotypes. Such a conclusion can be briefly represented by the phrase: “You can not treat stuttering”. These words are the main principles of the methodology, which we now profess.
The most important thing in the process of practical work is the correct prioritization. So the formation of a new speech stereotype, we begin not from working with the word and phrase but from the correction of non-verbal components of speech. At first, we refuse to work with the word and phrase, as they are too emotional and are “infected with stuttering”. Starting work from a word, it is practically impossible to introduce relaxation, to teach a new benevolent look, a calming exhalation, to work on posture and other non-verbal components of speech. The concept of speech at the beginning of the work is completely excluded, as if we are preparing for life a calm, person who can confidently, calmly communicate without words.
After the patient becomes available muscle relaxation and soundless calming exhalation, our task is to teach them the sound of exhalation. So new free incomplete and complete syllables are born, the minimum pronunciation unit of speech, the “brick” from which words and phrases are built.