Your realistic goal will be to achieve a level of fluency that prevents you from blocking or stuttering. A nonstutterer can’t stutter. To stutter, he/she would have to deliberately fake it, such as an actor playing the role of a PWS. Fluent brain circuitry won’t let you stutter or block.
A study in 1983 found that a group of adult stutterers who showed more right hemisphere activity before speech therapy shifted to more left hemisphere activity after therapy. Greater left hemisphere activity is typical for nonstutterers.16 You can change your brain with neuropatterning exercises.
After you’ve begun to make fluency gains, in everyday conversation you may find that, when you come to a difficult sound, you can proceed smoothly through it by slowing down and using easy onset. A side benefit is that you’ll appear more authoritative and in command. Professional speakers deliberately use this slowing down technique for pacing and dramatic emphasis.
Will this course help everybody? This is a different approach to stuttering therapy and there’s no way to know for sure. There may be subtypes of stuttering with some variation in the dysfunctional brain areas involved. I’m hoping, of course, that every user will make significant gains and attain the priceless gift of fluent speech.
After repatterning for a while, you may find that taking occasional time off from repatterning exercises can actually help your fluency. The brain seems to “integrate” things during these times. As you progress, you’ll gain a feel for what works best for you.
You may see a sudden fluency response after a few weeks as I did or it might be gradual, depending on the individual. The surge of fluency I awakened to one day was not like the normal “biorhythmic-like” small increases in fluency most PWS experience for a day or so now and then (and which may be just enough to give false hope). It was clearly way above any degree of temporary fluency I had ever experienced. It was if I had become a nonstutterer, regardless of my speech rate or the speaking situation. I chattered continuously for days afterwards–you couldn’t shut me up. I know my friends and acquaintances wondered what had come over me–I had been “stand-offish” before. The day it began (which I detailed in the About Me page) is one of the most amazing and wonderful experiences I’ve ever had. Fellow PWS will know that there’s no way to exaggerate such a feeling.
I prefer not to think of neuropatterning as a cure (I believe in jinxes too much for that!). I prefer a more realistic view: that my stutter has been pushed aside and no longer controls my speech. That’s more than good enough for me.
Once I achieved a level of consistent fluency, I realized that I could “feel” the fluency in advance, before I ever opened my mouth–in the same way that you can “feel” an upcoming block in advance. It’s like experiencing a mirror into your brain, where fluent speech–or blocked speech–originates. When you “feel” the fluency, you know that the upcoming words you want to speak are not going to get stuck (in the brain) on the way out. It’s an understatement to say that knowing you’re going to be fluent is a great feeling.
PWS differ in the word sounds they block worse on and they differ in the severity of their blocks. If you analyze what sounds you block on–which this course will force you to do–you’ll find, I think, that you just stutter, period. You may tend to block more on certain sounds than others, but you’re apt to block on almost any sound at any given time.
But there is a commonality to stuttering in that there’s a flaw in the brain’s speech-production areas, and neuropatterning techniques are designed to address that commonality.
Throw yourself into the course with vigor. Immerse yourself. Try to have fun with it, even though the repetition might get tedious at times. You can’t rush or force fluency, you just have to work and let it come naturally. To stay motivated, think of the end goal–chronic natural speech fluency. Keep in mind how your life will change for the better when you can say what you want in the way that you want under any circumstances. When you, at last, are in control of your speech.
If you’re currently undergoing speech therapy, by all means inform your speech-language therapist about the Home Course. It’s approach may be a bit of a leap for a traditional therapist, but I think an objective look at what the course offers should result in a favorable evaluation. One day, perhaps, these methods may become a part of conventional, clinician-driven fluency therapy.