After learning about the parts of our body that control speech, my student practiced finding “bumps/stutters” (the word used will be determined by the age of the child, and his feelings about the word “stutter”) in my speech. I read passages, gave directions, and told stories inserting purposeful stutters into my speech. Every time he heard a stutter, he was instructed to yell out “stutter!”.
The reason for identifying stutters? It is important that the child know what he is working on. If he cannot identify a stutter in others, he probably cannot identify it in himself. He just knows he has problems talking, but doesn’t know why. If he cannot identify a stutter in himself, he cannot work on changing the stutter and relaxing. (Please note that these therapy techniques are not appropriate for preschool age children who will often grow out of stuttering and do not have the same levels of awareness and control that older children have.).
Once my student was identifying all of my purposeful stutters, his job was learn the difference between tight/hard and loose/easy stutters. We practiced first with our fists.
A tight stutter was produced while I squeezed my fist. When holding a pencil, it felt like the pencil would snap.
A tight stutter includes a very tight jaw/lips/tongue, air flow blockage, and possible strain on the face. “p- p- p- encil”.
A loose stutter was produced along with a very loosely held fist. It was so loose that the pencils we tried to hold fell right through our fists.
A loose stutter involves a loose jaw, lots of air, breathiness, and ease. “puuuuuuuuuuh-encil”
My student’s next task was to not only identify stutters in my speech, but also report whether they were tight or loose stutters. Initially this was tricky, but he soon got the hang of it and could correctly determine what I was demonstrating.