Overcoming Stuttering: Crutch #5 – Telling a Story About the Word

Introduction

In the context of stuttering, a “crutch” is a term used to describe various techniques or strategies that people who stutter (PWS) use to help manage and mitigate their stuttering. Crutches are not a “cure” for stuttering but rather a set of tools that individuals can employ to make their speech more fluent and less challenging. These crutches can provide temporary relief from stuttering and help boost a person’s confidence in their ability to communicate effectively.

For those who stutter, the simple act of saying their name or a challenging word can turn into a daunting ordeal. The fear of stumbling over certain words can lead to anxiety, embarrassment, and even avoidance of social situations. However, Crutch #5 – Telling a Story About the Word, offers a clever and effective way to bypass these challenges and regain confidence in speech.

Crutch #5: Telling a Story About the Word

Crutch #5, Telling a Story About the Word, is a powerful tool that provides individuals who stutter with a creative and liberating approach to handling difficult words or names. This technique encourages PWS to avoid fighting to say a specific word and instead navigate the situation gracefully. The core idea is to buy time and divert attention from the feared word by sharing an engaging anecdote or story related to it.

Picturing a real-life scenario, imagine a PWS meeting a new neighbor who introduces themselves with a challenging name. Instead of wrestling with the word, they initiate a conversation that indirectly addresses the issue. The exchange becomes more about shared interests, backgrounds, or personal anecdotes, creating an enjoyable interaction for both parties.

Example Dialogue

Let’s dive into a hypothetical scenario to illustrate how Crutch #5 can be effectively used in conversation:

  • Neighbor/Jane: “Oh, hello. I’m your new neighbor. I’m Jane Johansson.”
  • PWS/Mary (Fear Meter escalating): “Oh, yes, I am. How nice to meet you. Johansson, say, isn’t that a Swedish name?”
  • Neighbor/Jane: “Well, yes, it is. And what’s your name?”
  • PWS/Mary: “Well, I’m from a long line of Scots, Ack-in-tyre’s the name – Ary MacIntyre. When did you move in?”

In this dialogue, the PWS skillfully navigates the situation by diverting the conversation away from the feared word (Jane’s last name) and focusing on a related topic. This technique allows for a smooth and enjoyable exchange, eliminating the tension associated with stuttering.

Variations and Practical Application

Crutch #5 is adaptable and open to various interpretations. The key is to shift the focus away from the feared word by sharing an interesting story, asking questions, or rephrasing thoughts creatively. This approach can be applied to names, words, or any other potential stumbling blocks.

In reality, once a PWS gets past the initial challenge (either the last or first name), they can often smoothly say the other name by incorporating it into the first one. For example, having said “Ary,” Mary can combine both names: “Ary MacIntyre.” Alternatively, she can present the last name first: “Ack-intyre–Mary MacIntyre.” This technique demonstrates the adaptability of Crutch #5, showing that there are numerous ways to address the same issue creatively.

Conclusion

Crutch #5 – Telling a Story About the Word is an invaluable tool in the arsenal of individuals who stutter. It empowers them to maintain control over their speech, even in challenging situations. By shifting the focus from difficult words to engaging stories or related topics, PWS can engage in enjoyable conversations without the fear of stuttering. This technique exemplifies the power of creativity and spontaneity in fluent speech, making each interaction a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

As PWS continue to explore and master these crutches, they will find that their stuttering fears subside, their fluency memories accumulate, and their overall communication becomes more confident and smooth. With each crutch learned and applied, individuals who stutter are one step closer to a life free from the constraints of their speech impediment, where they can speak fluently and express themselves with ease and confidence.

In the next sections of this blog series, we will explore the remaining 8 crutches, each offering a unique perspective and approach to managing stuttering. Remember, the journey to fluency and confident speech may take time, but with dedication and the right strategies, it’s entirely achievable.

Stay tuned for more insights into Crutches 6 through 13 and how they can help you gain control over your stuttering and unlock your full potential as a communicator.

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