In the realm of speech therapy, the path to effective communication for individuals with speech impediments like stuttering can be both challenging and deeply rewarding. In this in-depth blog, we will delve into the complex issue of People Who Stutter (PWS) who, for various reasons, resist change. These individuals may consciously or subconsciously reject the idea of embracing speech therapy, making it difficult for them to achieve fluency. We will explore their experiences, the underlying factors that contribute to their resistance, and most importantly, how they can overcome these hurdles to reach their communication goals.
Understanding the Resistors
Resistors are individuals who, when it comes to speech therapy and the journey to overcoming stuttering, resist change. This resistance can manifest in several ways, including both conscious (intentional and voluntary) and subconscious (unintentional and involuntary) elements. It’s essential to recognize that some PWS have found comfort in the world of stuttering. They may have predominantly stuttering friends and prefer online social interactions. For others, shyness is an integral part of their nature, and they might even find solace in the solitude and silence that stuttering occasionally affords them. Then, there are those who are resistant to change in various aspects of their lives, as they fear the uncertainties and risks that change may bring. For these individuals, if they are content with their lives while stuttering, their choice is valid and should be respected.
The Challenge of Helping Resistors
One of the most significant challenges for speech therapists is working with Resistors who steadfastly reject change. Some PWS adamantly refuse to try anything that might lead to fluency, while others may be willing to give it a shot but firmly believe that fluency is unattainable for them. This belief, whether consciously held or deeply ingrained in the subconscious, often results in minimal effort in their therapy programs. Some may even assert that the program “does not work,” despite its effectiveness for many others.
Understanding the Possibility of Change
Many individuals who have successfully conquered stuttering believe that, for most PWS, stuttering has become a choice. PWS can choose to continue stuttering or work diligently to overcome it. While some Resistors may criticize this perspective as “arrogant,” the intention is to empower PWS with the knowledge that effective methods exist to overcome stuttering. This belief is grounded in the fact that roughly 90% of PWS who commit to a program and stay the course eventually stop appearing speech-disabled and do not experience a relapse.
The Importance of Persistence
Overcoming stuttering demands dedication and persistence. It’s a journey that requires sustained effort, patience, and a positive attitude. While some individuals may not be ready to invest the necessary work, they should not be labeled as failures. A common benchmark for success in overcoming stuttering is participation in eight or more private coaching sessions and active engagement with the therapy program. The average PWS student who joins World Stop Stuttering Association, the world’s ONLY Community of EX-stutterers and people who stutter, typically achieves fluency in 8-12 sessions, faster than those who attended weekly speech therapy sessions with a certified speech language pathologist, though some more severe cases require a more extensive investment of time and effort.
Dealing with Extreme Cases
While many PWS make significant progress on their journey to fluency, there are extreme cases that pose unique challenges. For instance, consider the case of “X,” a young man who was essentially mute most of the time. Despite efforts to achieve relative fluency in some environments, he remained mute “outside” and with his coach. In his case, it became evident that the resistance to change was deeply ingrained, whether consciously or subconsciously. He simply couldn’t bring himself to do what was needed to overcome stuttering.
The Path to Progress
For individuals who exhibit extreme resistance to change, the key is to approach their therapy with patience and creativity. Continuous efforts, innovative strategies, and a willingness to adapt are essential in helping these individuals overcome stuttering. In some cases, like that of “Y,” who initially exhibited extreme muteness, individuals can break through the barriers and find their path to fluency.
The journey to overcome speech impediments like stuttering is highly individualized. For some, resistance to change can be a significant hurdle. However, it’s crucial to recognize that stuttering is not an insurmountable obstacle. The commitment to change and the willingness to work through speech therapy programs can lead to remarkable progress and eventual fluency.
As coaches and PWS themselves understand, overcoming stuttering is not a one-size-fits-all process. Nevertheless, with determination and support, even the most resistant individuals can find their path to fluency. The key to success is persistence, innovation, and a belief in the possibility of change. With these elements in place, anyone can strive toward a life of effective communication. It’s important to emphasize that success in overcoming stuttering is possible for everyone, regardless of their initial resistance to change. The journey may be arduous, but it’s always worth taking the first step.