Overcoming Stuttering: The Power of Crutch #2 – Using Similar Words


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, a communication challenge experienced by many, can have a significant impact on one’s life. The fear of stuttering often leads to avoidance and a lack of confidence in spoken interactions. But, there are strategies to help individuals manage their stuttering and improve their fluency. In this blog post, we’ll delve into one of the most straight forward yet effective techniques used by people who stutter (PWS) – Crutch #2: Using Similar Words.

Crutch #2: Using Similar Words

Crutch #2 is a technique that many PWS discover on their own. It’s the simplest and most common crutch, and it was the first one that I personally used. While it may not completely eliminate stuttering, it does allow for a limited level of flawless fluency. Using synonyms or similar words when faced with a feared word can be a game-changer for many individuals who stutter.

The concept behind Crutch #2 is remarkably straightforward. If you find yourself unable to say a particular word without stuttering, you can replace it with a synonym or a similar word that you can articulate more fluently. In cases where you can’t think of an exact synonym, even a loosely related word will often suffice. If all else fails, a short phrase that conveys the same meaning can be a viable alternative.

For example, instead of struggling with the word “book,” you could say, “I’m looking for something to read,” or “I need something to read.” These alternative phrases help you maintain the flow of conversation without the fear of stuttering. The key here is not to pre-plan your speech but to let your thoughts flow naturally. True fluency occurs when you speak without consciously thinking about each word.

One fundamental principle is that fluency is directly related to the speed of releasing words as the urge to speak arises. Stuttering is often caused by hesitating before speaking to find the right words. Therefore, the less you think about what you’re going to say and the more you trust your mind to choose the words spontaneously, the more fluent you’ll be.

Crutches are essential for working around dysfluency caused by these word-thinking hesitations. When you delay saying the phrase you’re using as a substitute for the feared word, you’re giving your stutter-planning mind a chance to inject fear of a different word. To achieve fluency, you must speak the moment a thought occurs to you and keep your speech concise by using full stops after each complete thought.

Crutch #2: Transition to Fluency

You won’t need to rely on crutches indefinitely. With practice and persistence, many people who stutter can reduce their dysfluency within a few months. As you and your mind accept that you can speak fluently without stuttering, the Stutter Fear Meter begins to decline, and you’ll gradually require fewer crutches.

The primary objective is to avoid your next instance of stuttering. By refraining from publicly struggling with words, you can prevent the creation of new, embarrassing stuttering memories. When you create such memories, they tend to perpetuate the cycle of repeats, so it’s crucial to abandon the feared word and use another word or phrase when necessary.

Crutch #2 and Stutter Memories

Using synonyms, similar words, or alternative phrases for feared words falls under Crutch #2. This technique can be a game-changer for those who stutter, offering a sometimes-perfect option for achieving fluency. In the subsequent steps of this journey, you will learn how to reinforce these positive memories via techniques such as auto-suggestion and self-hypnosis. As you become more proficient at employing Crutch #2, you’ll notice your stutter memories fading away and the Stutter Fear Meter plummeting.


Crutch #2 – Using Similar Words – is a powerful tool in the arsenal of individuals seeking to manage their stuttering and achieve fluency. While it might not eliminate stuttering entirely, it provides a means to communicate more fluently and confidently. As you practice and gain experience, you’ll find that the fear of stuttering diminishes, and you’ll require crutches less frequently. Ultimately, the key to success lies in embracing the fact that you can speak fluently, shedding stutter memories, and liberating yourself from the shackles of stuttering. By using Crutch #2 and other techniques, you can step onto the path of fluency and unlock your true communicative potential.

In the next sections of this blog series, we will explore the remaining 11 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 3 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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