When you reach adulthood and are still stammering, you’ve a major problem on your hands. Childhood intervention is always best and the reason why it’s best is something everyone who has carried a stammer into his or her adult life should remember.
The reason it’s harder to speak better as adults who stammer is you’ve developed secondary habits!
For adults trying to learn how to speak fluently, the attention is focused squarely on speaking without a stammer – big mistake.
The stammer is the primary problem and it cannot be affected at route without first recognising and treating the secondary problem, which are the bad habits.
I’m not in any way saying that a stammer is a bad habit. I know first-hand it’s not.
What I can tell you is this…
When you’re young you don’t know any better and want to do what you can to avoid feeling embarrassed, or avoid giving reason to bullies to pick on you because you can’t speak fluently.
What happens in childhood is what intensifies the problem in adulthood because there’s avoidance tactics developed by then.
You don’t always know you’re doing it. I challenge you to pay attention to your speech patterns. I reckon you’ll find there are quite a few secondary learned behaviours you’ve picked up over the years.
Things like pausing before certain words, your tongue placement, the avoidance of eye contact etc. And now, it’s made worse these days with technology because text messages eliminate your need to speak, bringing a new secondary avoidance tactic of just not speaking at all, instead opting to email and text to avoid speech completely.
Until the secondary learned behaviours are acknowledged and acted on to reduce and eliminate the secondary bad habits learned over the years to cope with the stammer, it’s going to be next to impossible to treat the root of the problem – the stammer itself.
That takes practice and until you stop practicing avoidance, you’ll struggle more to practice to overcome the stammer because your focus will be diverted towards avoidance.
This is why it can take a while for adults to improve their speech. They have to unlearn the bad habits developed over the years and then tackle the actual speech problem itself – at source.
What are your learned bad habits?
Mine was complete avoidance of certain words to the extent I couldn’t get a bus or taxi home without telling the driver I was going to a street farther away and then walking the rest. I was more comfortable with the street name I could say and would rather walk than feel embarrassed.
That was a secondary learned behaviour I had, and there’s been plenty more.
By taking the time to understand your speech, you’ll be able to simplify the process of learning better speech behaviour when you separate the real problem from the developed problem.
What’s more is because you’re unlearning bad habits it gives you the confidence to then tackle the stammer.
Confidence is a wonderful thing, but it’s a destroyer too if you don’t have it.
By focusing on unlearning secondary behaviours only associated with a stammer, you’ll grow your confidence magnificently, which is when you’ll be super motivated to practice different techniques to help achieve fluency.
Achieving fluency is simplified massively when you see progressive results from unlearning bad habits.