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Stuttering Difficult For Kings, Commoners

As a lifelong stutterer, now 61 years old and still afflicted with the phenomenon, I've been subject to countless therapeutic methodologies including psychotherapy since the age of five (in 1955) through my college years. My public school-based speech therapy sessions ranged from one-on-one therapy to group sessions including subjects with multiple types of speech defects such as lisps, cleft palate (harelip,) or tie-tied.

Frequently a sense of stigma was attached to my stammer. Many of my classmates and even some adults ostracized or mocked, teased, criticized, belittled, threatened or ridiculed my difficulty with fluency; teachers sometimes referred to my speech as babbling or merely attention-grabbing. The perception conveyed in many environments to which I was exposed was that stuttering was a symptom of emotional disorder, mental problem or neurosis due to some psychic traumatic earlier in life.

I have learned that manual pressure applied with thumb or forefinger alongside my larynx is a technique somewhat effective in subduing the repetitious element of my stutter, although not preventive of the full blocking manifestation. Likewise, inhaling deeply prior to speaking with controlled exhalation, holding my breath for an extended period (such as attempting to quell the hiccups,) or exhaling fully to speak only during inhalation have all been modalities which resulted in sporadic effectiveness at times. Many other variations of breathing modulation have been employed as well.

What I've found to be effective for "prepared" occasions such as recitations or public speaking engagements of limited duration, such as presentations lasting less than an hour or so, is to employ very focused "conscious control" such as one might mentally subdue the shivers briefly, or hold an isometric muscular contraction for a short period of time. This is extremely fatiguing - mentally draining to the point of exhaustion - and requires screening out many distractions during such sessions. It is not something that is effective in spontaneous or conversational dialogue except in limited circumstances such as job interviews or responding to questioning by the police, etc.

I went to "The King's Speech" to see how this monarch, with virtually unlimited resources at his disposition (although before much of the current therapeutics had been explored,) was able to overcome his affliction. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed to learn that his attendant "therapist" was just another crutch of dependency upon which he relied to help him get through his periodic public discourse.

I have come to believe there is a brain enzyme or other developmental organic cause for my stutter, the same as whatever provides me with wavy hair or comparative length of my index finger to my ring finger.

January 12, 2011 at 7:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

The High Cost of Health Care (Part 4)

Hello avid readers and wise advocates - Whew! That wants-to-be-thought-a-benevolent-Robin Hood is really a malevolent Robin Hoodwinker! It is unconscionable that Mr. Bilbray would waste his own time and ours with his continual distortions, distractions and misdirection on the topic of health care reform; particularly with regard to Universal Single Payer health coverage. It is obvious that he is either a mouthpiece in the pocket of Big Pharma/Insurance or woefully ignorant of the topic.

It is clear that this "crazy surfer from North County" (via Imperial Beach and elsewhere that's been ripe for a carpetbagger to plunder) is dearly afraid to discuss the "up front and personal" elements of Universal Single Payer health coverage as proposed in HR 676, but instead contrives to hit the talking points of fear-mongering and obfuscation on this issue.

I am pleased that he has revealed himself to so many of his constituents as one who does not represent the public when he can profit from the private insurance industry.

August 8, 2009 at 3:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )