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Differences between Stuttering Modification and Fluency-Enhancing Strategies

Mark Allen, Ph.D,CCC-SLP

November 9, 2009

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Question

Can you describe the difference between stuttering modification strategies and fluency-enhancing techniques?

Answer

Stuttering modification strategies involve working directly with stuttering. These strategies help students to increase awareness of stuttered speech, examine and reduce physical tension, and ultimately change moments of stuttering. They help children to reduce struggle behaviors and stutter in a more relaxed way. Stuttering modification strategies can also decrease sensitivity about stuttering, reduce negative reactions, and increase feelings of control, openness, and acceptance. Stuttering modification strategies include techniques such as Catching the Stutter, Relaxing the Stutter, Slide, Easy Stuttering and Cancellation.

Fluency-enhancing strategies include techniques that alter students' breathing, speech rate, voice production, and articulation in ways that facilitate more fluent speech. When children experience more fluency, they often develop greater confidence about speaking. This can decrease negative reactions and promote even more fluency. Fluency-enhancing strategies include skills such as Relaxed Breath, Slow Stretched Speech, Smooth Movement, Easy Voice, Light Contact, and Stretched Speech.

School-age therapy that incorporates both stuttering modification and fluency-enhancing strategies offers the benefits of both approaches. Stuttered speech is directly modified and strong fluency skills are developed. Ultimately, this gives children more options for successfully managing their speech.

This Ask the Expert was taken from the course entitled: Essential Speech Skills for School-Age Children Who Stutter presented by Mark Allen, Ph.D. CCC-SLP.

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Dr. Allen is the director of the Center for Stuttering Therapy, located in Evanston, Illinois. He has over 20 years experience working with children, adolescents, and adults who stutter. In 2000, Dr. Allen was among the Inaugural Cadre of speech-language pathologists to be recognized as a Fluency Specialist by the American Speech-Language Association's (ASHA) Special Commission on Fluency Disorders.

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