The Freedom to Speak Approach - Michael Retzinger

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What is stuttering?

          Good question!   Some people define stuttering by the amount of dysfluency (repetitions, interjections, prolongations of sounds, words, and phrases) in a person's speech.   Surprisingly, both stutterers and non-stutterers exhibit dysfluencies.
          I define stuttering as being the undesirable behaviors that occur during speech, primarily the excessive muscular tension evidenced in the speech system related to breathing, phonating, and articulation, as well as the excessive muscular tension evidenced in the non-speech system related to gestures, extraneous facial movements and whole or part-body movements.  These characteristics are features of speech common only to people who stutter.
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What causes stuttering?

          Another good question!   The answer:  no one knows!  Stuttering does appear to have mental, emotional and physical components.  Many professionals believe it has a neurological base.  I don't know what causes it -- I only know what increases stuttering and what decreases it.
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How many other people stutter?

          Estimates are that there are 2-3 million people who stutter in the United States.
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Does it ever go away?

           I don't believe there is a "cure" for stuttering; so, no....I don't believe it ever goes away forever.  I do know the frequency of stuttering can be greatly decreased and the release of natural speech greatly increased.  The Freedom to Speak Approach is based on that knowledge.
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Does it help to talk about it?

           YES!  It helps!  Stuttering should never be a taboo topic to talk about with your family, friends, or a speech/language pathologist.
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Do you think speech therapy can help?

           That depends on what your goals are in therapy.  Professionals utilize either a direct or an indirect approach to therapy.  It has been my experience, personally and professionally, that when direct therapy (fluency training/fluency shaping/stuttering modification) is implemented, talking decreases and "fluent trained" speech is the target.   Some research indicates the degree of severity of stuttering increases with direct therapy.  I have found this type of approach to be harmful and creates anxiety.

           The Freedon to Speak Approach is an indirect therapy approach that offers the outcome of the release of natural speech.  I know The Freedom to Speak Approach works.

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Do you think real stuttering will go away without help?

           No, it will not.  And, depending on the help (therapy) you receive, it could get much more severe -- or it could get better.
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Do you avoid talking in certain situations or saying certain words?

           I used to -- not any more!
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Do you avoid looking at your listeners?

           I used to -- not any more!
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Do you joke about your stutter?

           I never use to.   I can, and do, now!  Hard to believe, but stuttering has helped me.
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Do you ever wish your stuttering would go away?

           Yes.  I used to wish this every day.  However, I have learned to not care about my stuttering.  I am much more interested in being an effective communicator and "turning on" my natural speech.
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Do you get angry when you stutter?

          Yes.  I used to hate it when I stuttered.  Now, though, I don't really care if I stutter.  I just want to be a good communicator!  It is hard work to be angry with stuttering!
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