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WHAT WORKS, WHAT DOESN’T

by Geoff Johnston, Regional Director, McGuire Programme (Aust)

This article contains some random thoughts about what I have found helpful in improving our speech and what hasn’t. My opinions are based on observations of myself and other people who stutter particularly during the last 12 years working with over 1,000 such people on the McGuire Programme.

If you want to get good at anything…a sport, playing music, business, career, etc. you would do well to find someone who has excelled at that particular vocation, find out what they did and follow that example with the same attitude and persistence and it is likely you’ll get similar results.

How brave the person is and their attitude and motivation to change will determine their level of permanent success.

I want to run through a list of strategies that have worked for people in the hope that even one or two may help you.
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From Pain to Power

Are you in a “victim” role waiting for someone or something to “cure” your stuttering behaviour? It’s not going to happen!

This article is about taking ownership for your own recovery, embracing “fear” and changing your thoughts and vocabulary to become a far more positive person.

With an attitude of ownership of our stuttering and commitment to improve our speech comes a feeling of empowerment that helps us move away from pain and fear around speaking situations to feelings and behaviours of power and confidence.

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Asset-Based Thinking versus Deficit-Based Thinking

I believe that stuttering is so much more than a problem with speech. Stuttering is more about the experience in communicating with others and how we see ourselves in relationship to the world around us and the people with whom we interact.

Many of us have learnt and drilled a speaking technique which enables us to speak very well. However, for many people they have been unable to transfer that skill into real life with its often perceived pressures, judgements and fearful situations. It follows then that to recover from stuttering long-term we have to change the system which is supporting the stuttering behaviour. We have to change ourselves, our perceptions, our beliefs and the way we look at the world around our speaking.
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