Overcoming Stuttering: The Power of Crutch #3 – Skip or Spell the Word


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 disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, can significantly impact one’s self-esteem and social interactions. The fear of stuttering often leads individuals who stutter (PWS) to resort to avoidance or silence in various situations. However, there are strategies and crutches that can help individuals manage their stuttering and enhance their fluency. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore Crutch #3, known as “Skip or Spell the Word,” and delve into its effectiveness in achieving fluency.

Crutch #3: Skip or Spell the Word

Crutch #3, the “Skip or Spell the Word” method, is an emergency crutch that can be a game-changer for individuals who stutter. This technique is incredibly simple yet highly effective. It involves the deliberate omission of a feared word during speech. Instead of struggling to pronounce the difficult word, one simply skips over it, continuing the conversation as if nothing happened.

This crutch is rooted in the idea that forcing and fighting to utter words can exacerbate stuttering and make listeners uncomfortable. To achieve fluency and regain control over their speech, PWS must learn to avoid publicly wrestling with words. Crutches like Crutch #3 offer a way to handle such situations swiftly and seamlessly. While some people may prefer to hang out with fellow PWS for mutual support, this group-stuttering environment may inadvertently reinforce stuttering habits. However, Crutch #3 provides a more empowering alternative, allowing PWS to hang out with ex-stutterers and those who are fast becoming the same, learning valuable techniques to improve their fluency.

When employing Crutch #3, it’s essential to be creative and maintain the integrity of your message. If the omitted word is critical to the context, find alternative ways to express the same thought. This can make your speech more engaging and captivating. It encourages flexibility in communication and ensures that the message is understood by the listener.

Spelling as a Crutch

Another aspect of Crutch #3 involves spelling words rather than attempting to pronounce them. Spelling a word can make it clearer and more memorable for the listener. Most names, for example, can be spelled in multiple ways, especially when considering different languages. PWS can also blend spelling with saying the word. For instance, if someone is struggling with saying the name “Lee,” they can spell it and then follow up with the pronunciation, such as “L-e-eLEE.” This technique not only aids fluency but also makes speech more engaging and understandable.

Anecdotal Success with Spelling

Real-life success stories underline the effectiveness of Crutch #3. For example, an individual, Adam, who had struggled with severe blocking and stuttering, found success by spelling any word that gave him trouble. This practice allowed him to maintain the flow of conversation without wrestling with words. He began saying many words and continued speaking even when faced with challenging vocabulary. Listeners, in most cases, don’t mind how you communicate; they simply want to understand you and engage in meaningful conversations. Spelling is a technique that neither feeds stuttering nor imposes new fears, fostering fluency instead.

Crutch #3: The Bigger Picture

Incorporating the “Skip or Spell the Word” crutch into the arsenal of techniques for managing stuttering offers a powerful tool for achieving fluency. By avoiding the fight to say a feared word and instead choosing to skip or spell it, PWS can reclaim their confidence in speaking situations. This crutch may not eliminate stuttering entirely, but it provides an immediate rush of calm and control.

As PWS practice these techniques, stutter memories begin to fade, and the Stutter Fear Meter plummets. This journey towards fluency involves adopting and adapting various crutches to individual needs and preferences. The goal is to regain control over one’s speech, enhance fluency, and lead a life free from the shackles of stuttering.


Crutch #3, “Skip or Spell the Word,” is a valuable addition to the array of techniques available for individuals who stutter. It empowers them to handle difficult words or situations without resorting to anxiety or avoidance. While it may take time to master, Crutch #3, like other crutches, can contribute to enhanced fluency and improved self-esteem. By using these tools and fostering a supportive community, individuals who stutter can embark on a path to regain their voice, with stutter memories fading away and the promise of confident, fluent communication on the horizon.

In the next sections of this blog series, we will explore the remaining 10 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 4 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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