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speech therapy

1) WHAT IS SPEECH THERAPY?

“Speech Therapy” can be said as the procedures devised by experts after so much research and practice for the management of the disorders of speech, language and communication of the children and adults who have speech problems.

“Speech Therapy” is a general term to denote to manage any speech disorders. But there are different types of speech therapies to be followed to manage different types of speech disorders.

One of the common speech disorders is "Stammering." Different types of speech therapies are taught by different Speech Therapists to overcome “Stammering”. Most of them recommend prolongation of the first syllable of each word and slow reading practice.

As explained earlier about the mistakes (like shallow breathing, using less body language, under utilization of speech mechanism and giving less stress to each syllable) being committed by most of the stammerers, the “Speech Therapy” should be devised in such a way that it should address all the above issues.

Among the various the speech therapies available, the one which taught by  Mr. Balasubramaniam which is being practiced at CSCC is the best one since it addresses all the above issues.

 

2) WHY A STAMMERER NEED TO DO SPEECH THERAPY:

This is just like asking why anyone to become a singer  needs "SINGING PRACTICE".Because though normal person speaks well, their vocal cords and speech mechanisms are not accustomed for singing. Hence, they have to practice through suitable training to make their vocal cord and speech mechanism suitable for singing.

Likewise, a Stammerer’s vocal cord and speech mechanism are  in a defective  conditions either by default by birth or due to stammering  speech over many years. This can be corrected only through proper speech practice.

 

3) PROCEDURES FOR DOING SPEECH THERAPY:

Readers are requested to watch the following speech therapy practicing English video two times ie before and after reading the procedures for practicing speech therapy for better understanding. A Tamil practicing speech therapy video was also uploaded for the benefit of Stammerers with Tamil as their mother tongue.

For English Video click here

For Tamil Video click here

A sentence is a combination of words. A word is combination of syllables (sound). The sentence practiced for speech therapy shown in the above video is "In this world I am an important person". There are eight words and eleven syllables viz

In- this-world-I-am-an-im-por-.tant-per-son are there in this sentence.


While practicing speech therapy only syllables have to be used and not words.

The procedure for doing speech therapy though explained in the video itself, description of practicing it is also given here for readers better understanding.

Ist sit comfortably in a chair and bend the head down wards. While raising the head inhale as much air as possible into the lungs. 

For the first two syllables, move the head gently upwards & downwards. ie one upward & one downward movement for practicing first syllable and  another  upward & downward movement for practicing the second syllable. For the rest of the syllables, sideway movements of right & left only. And for the last syllable, it is again upward & downward movement. 

The speech therapy starts with two upwards & downwards head movements. The subsequent syllables in sideways and ends with an upward & downward movement. This completes one sequence.

The speech phrases, how much time one phrase has to be practiced and how much rest that could be taken are given in the next article.

 

4) SPEECH PHRASES FOR DOING SPEECH THERAPY:

Generally speech therapy has to be carried out one hour in the morning at least for a minimum period of one year. It is up to the individual to choose suitable “Phrase” for practicing. But it should be positive affirmations only. Also it is the choice of the individual to use any number of  “Phrases” during one hour speech practicing time. Since, speech therapy consumes lot of energy, many may initially find it difficult to do it continuously for one hour.  After couple of weeks, they will find it easy. However they are advised to drink one cup of milk / tea / coffee or any other nutritious drinks of their likings to have sufficient energy for practicing. They should not do speech practice after stomach full of food.   

Following are some of the ways to choose number of “Phrases”. One minute rest may be taken after every 5 minutes of practicing.

a)    One phrase for the entire 60 minutes duration.

b)    Two phrases each for 30 minutes duration.

c)    Three phrases each for 20 minutes duration.

d)    Even 10 phrases each for 5 minutes duration.

Following are some of phrases for speech practicing:


1.    I am speaking with my relaxed confident voice.
2.    My words are rolling out very smoothly and evenly all the time.
3.    I am expressing my words with smooth head movements.
4.    I am really forming my sounds with an open relaxed mouth.
5.    I am using my eyes, face and head to really express my speech.
6.    My confident voice and smooth speech are full of calm authority.
7.    I am imposing calm speech on others with my relaxed voice.
8.    My confident voice and calm speech is important in my life.
9.    I am the most important person in my life.
10. To completely control my life, I must speak with calm authority.

 

5) SPEED OF PRACTICING SPEECH THERAPY:

The answer for this may surprise many readers. The individuals who are going to do speech therapy have to find out in which “Speed” they have to practice their speech therapy. Because, it is not possible to speak slowly in all situations. If a speaker shoots a question at faster speed, it is the natural tendency to reply at the same speed. This is just like Newton’s third law of motion. That’s “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Whenever someone speaks fast, during argument situations the Stammerers have to react with the same speed only and it is not possible to speak slowly which is natural tendency.

Hence selection of practicing speed is very important. Because after one hour of speech practice, they are going to speak at faster speed than the speed in which they had practiced. If they practiced speech therapy very slowly, it is very difficult for them to speak at normal speed without stammering. This is one of the main reason for prolongation technique not successfully working out. Speaking at faster rate is one of the main causes of stammering. No doubt, stammerers have to practice slower than their speaking speed.

The question is how much speed a stammerer has to reduce during practicing speech therapy? Whether it is 10% or 20% or 50%. This has to be decided by the individuals. It is suggested to select a speed, do speech practice for about 10 days and observe his stammering. If he stammers less than usual, then the selected speed was correct. If he stammers more, he has to increase the practicing speed. Generally practicing speed will be 20 – 25% less than their normal speaking speed.

 

6) WHY THIS SPEECH THERAPY IS ONE OF THE BEST AVAILABLE:

As already explained, stammerers are doing mistakes either unknowningly or by default in birth itself like  shallow breathing, limited and wrong  usage of their speech mechanism, less usage of their body language including head movements, speaking without pausing and less prolongation of each syllable. By practicing this type speech therapy is like doing six activities at a same time. That’s in short 6 in 1. Following are the six activities being carried out while practicing this  speech therapy.

  1. While doing syllable exercise by giving more stress on each syallable, speech mechanism muscles will becomes more flexible which help every words comes out of the stammerer’s mouth with much ease,less effort and without any blocks.

  2. Making head movements of both forward and backwards and also sideways  while practicing this speech therapy would take care of using of more body language.

  3. For each head movements, only one syllable has to be spoken which results speaking speed would automatically be slowed down.

  4. After practicing each phrase, the stammerer has to pause for a while before taking a deep breath to inhale air to continue the practice again. Proper pausing will be taken care off in this activity.

  5. While pronouncing each syllable, the stammerer has to prolong the syllable. Hence prolongation technique is being taken care off here.

As the above said six activities which are very much essential to spaek well are being carried out  in this speech therapy. Hence this is one of the best speech therapies available at present.

 

7) WHY TO PRACTICE A SPEECH THERAPY FOR  LONGER  PERIOD OF TIME:

As already explained, a stammerer’s speech mechanism is a defective one either by default at the time of birth itself or became defective due to stammering speech (wrong speech) over so many years. Overcoming stammering is not an elimination of one component only. It requires correction of so many mistakes (though unintentionally) committed by stammerers like shallow breathing, incorrect / wrong / under usage of speech mechanism, usage of less body language including head movements, less pausing to name a few.

Moreover, overcoming stammering is changing a stammerer’s existing personality into a totally new one. It is like changing their old habits into new ones. The above said defects could not be corrected in one or two months. It requires longer period of time. Though generally one year is required to correct all the above defects and overcoming stammering by practicing speech therapy, it also depends upon so many factors like severity of one’s stammering, the amount of emotional baggage carrying by the stammerer, sincerity of speech practicing and adoptability of the same to an individual mind and body. In view of the above reasons, stammerers may need 8 months, 10 months, one year or more than one year to overcome their stammering.

 

8) HOW TO MONITOR SPEECH IMPROVEMENTS:

As already explained, stammerers are shallow breathers, under / improper usage of speech mechanism, using very little of their body language, speaking fast and less no pausing.

When a Stammerer starts practicing, all the above problems would be addressed and get corrected gradually day by day. Simultaneously his speech will be also getting improved gradually day by day.

A Stammerer may not have much improvement in his speech in the first month of practicing.

It is just like charging a battery. As long as charge is available in the battery, it would work. Likewise practicing speech therapy also is like charging of battery.

After two months of practicing, he can speak well about four hours after completion of his speech practice.

a) After four months of practicing, he can speak well about six hours.

b) After six months of practicing, he can speak well about nine hours.

c) After eight months of practicing, he can speak well about twelve hours.

d) After ten months of practicing, he can speak well about fifteen hours.

e) After one year of practicing, he can speak well throughout the day.

The above improvement periods are general guidelines only. As already explained, it depends upon so many factors like severity of one’s stammering, sincerity of speech practice and adoptability by one’s individual body and mind condition. Some may need less than one year and some others may need more than one year to overcome their speech problems.

A word of caution is hereby given for the benefit of readers. A stammerer may skip from doing practice one or two days but not more than that. If he skips from practicing for more than two days, relapse of stammering would occur.

A stammerer should not discontinue practice until he overcomes his stammering. If they skip in the middle, relapse of stammering would occur and the practicing hitherto done was waste only.

After overcoming stammering also, one should not stop practicing immediately altogether. He has to gradually reduce the practicing period in the next three months like 45 minutes in the first month, 30 minutes in the second month and 15 minutes in the third month. After gaining enough confidence, he can completely stop practicing.

 

9) HOW TO PRACTICE SILENT SPEECH THERAPY:

In the formal speech therapy, a Stammerer  first has to bend down, take a deep breath
and tell one syllable for each head movement until the completion of whole phrase. Like "In this world I am an important person". Then, again take a deep breath and repeat the above process continuously for about one hour.

In this speech therapy breathing control, head movements, exercise to speech mechanism, slow speaking, proper pausing & slow activities were taken care of,  are were very much required for fluent speech even for normal persons.

But from experiences gained over the years, this one hour speech therapy especially exercising the speech mechanism was not sufficient for fluent speech.

Because over the years, Stammerer was under utilizing his speech mechanism for the fear of stammering. This can be well observed when sometimes even though he speaks without stammering, words coming out of his mouth might not be clear & sharp compared to that of a normal speaking person.

If he devote more time for exercising  his speech mechanism, his speech mechanism would become more flexible and words would comes out of his mouth with ease and with little efforts. Moreover he can speak more clearly & sharply also.

For giving more exercise to speech mechanism, practicing silent speech therapy was one of the best options.

While practicing silent speech therapy, he need not follow the normal procedures of practicing speech therapy. There is  no need to take a deep breath, no need to pronounce  each syllable with head movements etc.

What he has to do is whenever he got  free time like while walking, sitting, traveling, waiting for someone else, even during bathing etc... He can practice phrases with a low voice (audible to himself only) with  full or half mouth opening with or without head movements depending upon the situations . This is called silent speech therapy. The main idea behind is he has to use his speech mechanism as frequently as possible throughout the day.

This silent speech therapy can be practiced 5, 10, or 15 minutes depending upon the availability of free time. This practice can be done on a piecemeal basis also. That's if he find 10 minutes time for 6 times in a day and if he make use of all the six 10 minutes free time, then he had done 10X6=60 minutes of silent speech therapy. There is no  need tot spare separate time for practicing silent speech therapy. If more time is available, he can make use of that time also . More practicing the silent speech therapy,  his speech mechanism become more flexible and he can be able to speak well in lesser period of time.

Some Stammerers are telling that it was difficult for them to pronounce certain words starting with certain letters. This could be either due to VERY LESS usage of those certain words by their speech mechanism or their  speech mechanism not accustomed to pronounce certain sounds. Such Stammerers can practice silent speech therapy using those feared words so that in due course of time, their speech mechanism become flexible with those feared words and thus they can able to speak without any blocks.

 

10) WHETHER SPEECH THERAPY IS A FAILURE ONE:

There is a general opinion among Stammerers that  speech therapy is a total failure all over the world and chances of relapsing is more.

In this connection, it is hereby informed that two important factors governs the success of any speech therapy.
1. Type of speech therapy &
2. Period of practicing the speech therapy.

First, let's discuss about the types of speech therapies available. Many members of our whatsapp groups had attended speech therapy from various speech therapists all over India. All were telling that they had been taught either prolongation technique or some breath control exercises as speech therapy.

But Mr. Andrew Bell's speech therapy is entirely different. As already explained and also seen in the video, this speech therapy is entirely different from other therapies. This therapy includes breathing exercise, prolongation, pausing, slow syllable practicing with head movements. This is a comprehensive and a total speech therapy which addressing all the mistakes being carried out by Stammerers. In fact all the members had informed that they were hearing first time about head movements techniques. They also informed that voice was coming out of their mouth smoothly and in a relaxed way while speaking with head movements.

The second aspect is period of practicing which is the most important one. Because Stammerers are stammering over many years, they have to practice speech therapy at least for one year to correct their mistakes. But majority of Stammerers are discontinuing their speech practices in a few months time noticing very less or no improvement in their speech. Because doing speech therapy is really a monotonous, time consuming and boring one. It is very difficult for any Stammerer to continue it for one year without proper support group and online groups like whatsapp groups.

Even about a decade ago, the facilities like support groups and online groups were not available. Especially after the invention of whatsapp software, online support for stammerers those who are living in small towns and villages were become much easier. So, we should not compare those days where Internet and whatsapp facilities were not available and only a few Stammerers who were greatly  motivated  successfully overcame their stammering.

Now times have been changed. So much of information is available at our hands in the form of smart phones. Hence, overcoming stammering for even an average and less motivated pws is not a problem in these days.

Hence, by sincerely doing speech therapy everyday  and also  silent speech therapy and head movements  whenever possible and overcome their stammering after one year.

For a severe stammering, it may take additional 6 months to one more year to overcome it.

In view of the above said reasons, Speech therapy is not a failure one.