Make Room For The Stuttering

No Ki-ki-kidding!

Posted on: November 11, 2009

I have written before that I participate in a therapeutic support group for people who stutter on Monday nights. After group, I spend time with one or two student SLPs, as part of individual therapy for me and practical work for them. This program favors fluency shaping, although they do combine stuttering modification as well. I have generally resisted fluency shaping techniques, because I see them as making me covert again. Given that, I have never really internalized any fluency techniques and so never really practiced them.

I have used this time (quite productively, I think) to work on acceptance issues and explore attitudes and feelings. I have been honest about how it feels to have had changes in my stuttering pattern, which has resulted in more overt stuttering, including blocks. Which I don’t like! No kidding, right? No one likes getting stuck! Unless you stutter, you probably do not know what that truly feels like. So I have been working hard to accept this new pattern. I have tried volitional blocking, to be more aware of where I am getting stuck. It is hard enough to block, but to try and do it purposely is tough. Especially with someone watching me. I’ll get to that in a minute.

A critic of mine tells me that I talk too much about acceptance. That people who have really accepted stuttering don’t talk about it or write about it as much as I do. He says I shouldn’t be just enduring stuttering, I should be doing something to overcome it, then acceptance wouldn’t be an issue that needs talking about. No kidding? If it were that easy, parents and kids would have no problem whatsoever with stuttering, right?

So anyway, in my individual session Monday night, the two students and I got to work on attempting to feel and see where my blocks occur. Both students say they can see when I block – in my shoulders especially and even in my abdomen when I tense up and lose air flow. I did not realize that. I try to pay as little attention as I can to what the blocks look like. But I guess I wasn’t really “feeling” them either. So even though I felt very self-conscious, I allowed myself to stutter freely to “catch” the blocking. I used a word that I get stuck on a lot. “Quick”. While stuttering naturally on “qu-qu-qu-quick” and really paying attention, I was able to feel my throat constrict and felt the lack of air flow.

So then I was encouraged to voluntarily block on “quick”, and no kidding, I felt it. I really felt the block.  I was totally aware of my air flow being momentarily cut off, and I was doing it purposely! Yikes! I did it several more times, and was amazed to see that I could finally block purposely for the express purpose of feeling what it felt like. The students commented that again they could see the tension in my shoulders and abdomen when the air flow was squeezed off and I tried pushing the sound out.

I learned a lesson. I can really learn to desensitize myself by blocking purposely,and not feeling so flustered when it happens. Good friend Greg at has encouraged me to do volitional blocking as much as I can. I really didn’t think I could do it. But now I know I can. I need to know how it feels. Greg has also suggested negative practice, where I block as hard and as much as I can, in an effort to eventually be able to “turn off” the block. No kidding!

What do you think of the idea of blocking on purpose? Have you tried it? Can you see some benefit? Do you think it’s a bad thing to encourage acceptance?

4 Responses to "No Ki-ki-kidding!"

Seems like an interesting technique to try. One thing that I have been doing lately to control my stuttering is to “think ahead” in my sentences. When I’m speaking, I try to think about what I’m going to say at the same time that I’m speaking. I’ve found that this really helps me.

My stuttering is mild at most, but some days it feels worse than others. There are days when I know I’m going to have a bad day stuttering because I can “feel” it in my body. The tension is definitely undeniable!

Great blog, BTW!

Thanks for the feedback, and for sharing your thoughts!

No doubt tension is undeniable, I just wasn’t always able to isolate the actual source of the physical tension. My stuttering has been mild-to-moderate as an adult, but the more overt I allow myself to be, the more noticeable my blocks are.

“He says I shouldn’t be just enduring stuttering, I should be doing something to overcome it, then acceptance wouldn’t be an issue that needs talking about.”

Isn’t stuttering acceptance overcoming it? 🙂

Yes, I think it is. When we accept, we have overcome. I think this person believes that if I truly accepted stuttering, then I would have no need to think about it, or write about it.
How boring would that be? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Podcasts, Posts, Videos

Glad you're stopping by!

  • 713,317 visits

Monthly Archives!

Copyright Notice

© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2022.
Follow Make Room For The Stuttering on
%d bloggers like this: