Overcoming Stuttering: The Magic of Crutch #4 – Inserting Alternate Word(s) or Sounds


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.

Stuttering is a formidable communication challenge that many individuals face daily. The anxiety associated with certain words and sounds can hinder one’s fluency and impact their overall self-esteem. However, there are powerful tools available to help individuals who stutter (PWS) regain control over their speech. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore Crutch #4, known as “Inserting Alternate Word(s) or Sounds,” and how it can become a game-changer on the path to fluent speech.

Crutch #4: Inserting Alternate Word(s) or Sounds

Crutch #4, also referred to as “Inserting Alternate Word(s) or Sounds,” has a special place in the hearts of many PWS. It is a versatile and highly effective technique, and for many, it’s their favorite among the various crutches available. The primary principle behind Crutch #4 is that PWS can often say any word without stuttering, as long as they don’t give themselves time to fear it.

PWS typically experience a split-second delay before uttering a word, during which fear sets in, leading to stuttering. In essence, PWS tend to tee-up the ball for the demon they call “Satan Stuttering” to kick it. To break free from this cycle, they must find ways to eliminate the hesitation, think less, and start speaking quickly.

The essence of Crutch #4 lies in inserting an alternate thought or sound as a preface to the feared word. By doing so, many PWS can bypass the challenge posed by their “First Feared Words.” This technique is a game-changer and contributes significantly to achieving fluent speech.

Inserting Alternate Words or Thoughts

Beyond merely dropping the first letter or syllable, individuals can insert an alternate thought or sound as a means to conquer First Feared Words. This technique doesn’t involve planning words, which is a primary cause of stuttering. Instead, it encourages PWS to allow their minds to grab an alternate thought or idea and use that as a launchpad to continue speaking fluently.

It’s important to distinguish between inserting urges/thoughts/ideas versus words. The key is to allow the mind to find the words spontaneously as the speech unfolds, rather than thinking about words before speaking. This approach prevents the creation of new stuttering fears, as it keeps the mind engaged in the act of speaking rather than dwelling on individual words.

The Power of Spontaneity

Spontaneity is a critical component of Crutch #4’s effectiveness. The mind has the ability to change thoughts faster than “Satan Stuttering” can kick in a stutter, and this fact is at the core of this crutch’s success. Inserting alternate words or sounds is a spontaneous act that keeps stuttering fears at bay. PWS should not think about the exact words for these parenthetical insertions, as doing so might lead to stuttering them. Instead, the goal is to initiate speech immediately, allowing the mind to select words as they are spoken.

Once a PWS is on a roll with their speech, they often find that they can say almost anything, especially when they link their words closely and keep their comments short, adding two-count pauses between thoughts. Interestingly, the audience generally doesn’t mind how the PWS communicates; they are more concerned with understanding the message.

Stop Stuttering Stories and the Bigger Picture

This blog post would be incomplete without highlighting real-life stop stuttering stories that illustrate Crutch #4’s effectiveness. PWS who have mastered this technique report significant reductions in stuttering, with their Stutter-Fear Memory Meter decreasing and their Fluency Memory Meter steadily rising.

For many, this technique marks the turning point in their stuttering journey. Overcoming “Satan Stuttering” requires creative thinking, practice, and determination. It also involves making a game of the process, a strategy that many PWS find highly motivating. These small victories may seem insignificant to non-stutterers, but they represent tremendous progress for those who grapple with speech impediments daily.

As more PWS discover the power of Crutch #4, they add yet another tool to their arsenal of techniques to manage stuttering and regain control over their speech. The ultimate goal is to fill their mind’s memory bank with fluency memories, ensuring that stuttering memories fade away and stuttering fears become a thing of the past.


Crutch #4, “Inserting Alternate Word(s) or Sounds,” stands as a beacon of hope for individuals who stutter. It empowers them to bypass their First Feared Words and embark on a journey towards fluent speech. The simplicity and spontaneity of this crutch make it a valuable addition to the tools available for managing stuttering.

As PWS practice and master this technique, they will experience a noticeable shift in their fluency journey. Their stuttering memories will begin to fade, and their fluency memories will accumulate, ultimately leading to more confident and fluent communication. With each new crutch learned and applied, PWS take a step closer to a life free from the constraints of stuttering. Crutch #4, “Inserting Alternate Word(s) or Sounds,” is yet another step on that path towards fluent, expressive speech.

In the next sections of this blog series, we will explore the remaining 9 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 5 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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