Dr J. Scott Yaruss, a stuttering expert at Michigan State University, once said that most stuttering management techniques involve changing either the timing or tension of speech movements – or both.
Many who have worked through an evidence-based treatment like the , , or the , need to practice their techniques, not just so they can speak fluently in the clinic, but so they can sound natural in the real world: like themselves.
In truth, . For many students, requiring completely fluent speech as a criteria for recovery is unrealistic and potentially demotivating and demoralising. Ultimately, the most important view is the student’s, recognising that there is as yet no cure for persistent stuttering although many people are working on it.
Experienced speech pathologists know that, if students don’t sound natural, they are unlikely to use their speech techniques out in the real world, even if their speech is 100% fluent.
In clinical practice, working to transfer fluency gains to the real world often involves working with students to “shape” less natural but fluent speech (using techniques like syllable timed or prolonged speech) into more natural sounding speech that is slightly modified.
Finding a mix of techniques that work for an individual student takes a lot of work and experimentation – both for the student and the speech pathologist. In general, more natural speech can be achieved with a slightly reduced rate, reduced physical tension only at the beginnings of phrases, and the use of short phrases, with pauses between phrases.
It goes without saying, but learning to be both fluent and natural sounding takes a lot of practice.
These 10 short nonsense verses are designed to provide students with speech practice. The aim is to speak both fluently, but also naturally. With built-in short phrases, they can be used to practice speech in the clinic and at home. They can also be “performed” anywhere and recorded by the student for later review of speech fluency and naturalness, e.g. using .