Best Tips Helping Adults Who Stutter:
Updated: Feb 23
EYE CONTACT: Try and establish eye contact. It might seem easier to avoid eye contact but it distracts the listener and disrupts the conversation. If you are finding this challenging try it once per day for two sentences. Build up slowly. If you are like I was running a fast train was easier than looking at someone and risk them seeing me stutter.
2. PHRASE: Chunking or phrasing often helps the adult who stutters. It allows more time to regulate breathing. If reading aloud stop and pause after every four words. For adults who stutter it is always better to seek help from a specialist in stuttering.
3. BREATHING: This is where it gets tricky. People think if you stop and say slow down it helps the adult who stutters. Guess what? It increases awareness of stuttering and talking in general. It often leads to inhaling full breaths and not exhaling air. Imagine blowing up a balloon and never letting the air out. Imagine the tightness in your throat and chest. Ask people to not do this. They are usually doing because they believe in their hearts they are help but it could increase stuttering and make communicating more challenging. and frustration. Educating people on stuttering will empower you and ease tension.
4. SELF DISCLOSURE: To be honest I am an adult who still stutters at times and a speech pathologist specialist in stuttering. This always challenged me. Why? because I was embarrassed to stutter and shame surfaced. Past negative speaking experiences made me view the world as an unsafe place to speak Let's face it we are being asked to admit we stutter and reveal our deepest secrets. People or speech pathologists who did not stutter would ask me to announce on interview or in a store that I stutter. Visualize one thing you find challenging and share it with the world. How painful and humiliating that would be. For ex: you have ADHD and someone tells you to state your diagnosis before doing a task in front of your peers. How would you feel? Although I believe it helps, you need to start slowly. Ex: I might need a few minutes I stutter at times. You are not alone in this and it is something we practice and do together.
5. SEEK OUT A SPEECH PATHOLOGIST WHO SPECIALIZES IN STUTTERING: Unfortunately most speech pathologists do not know about stuttering. Seek out one who does. IF you are not happy find another one fast. Do not waste time. Generally PWS (people who stutter) who are mild can seek therapy weekly.. PWS severely
require more intensive therapy to re learn how to speak and un peel emotions related to stuttering.
Lori Melnitsky is a speech pathologist who stutters. She is a specialist in stuttering and is passionate about helping others become more fluent.