Why We Must Know More

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Re: Theory/Rationales

From: John B. Ellis
Date: 12 Oct 2004
Time: 10:46:42 -0500
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Question 1. Fluency shaping, by definition, is an attempt to squelch stuttering before it even starts. Isn't this what stutterers try and do anyway? …but do you really know someone who, through techniques like easy onset etc. is now a normal speaker with no avoidances of any kind - words or situations? In my experience, which is considerably less than Peter’s, I have encountered a few confirmed, chronic stutterers who have “recovered” using a fluency shaping approach. In these cases, which were the exception rather than the rule, these individuals (a) did not exhibit significant word or situation avoidances during therapy, (b) did not mind speaking at a slow, controlled rate regardless of the situation, and (c) exhibited a consistent ability to consciously employ fluency shaping techniques (e.g., slow speech, easy onsets) across environments. As a consequence, these individuals were clearly determined and motivated to utilize fluency shaping techniques and did not hesitate to “drop it down a gear” (i.e., slow down, exaggerate their movements) to maintain the forward flow of speech. Question 2. It seems to me that the ingredients approach you talk about doesn't rest on any sound theory. I think that fluency shaping and stuttering modification by themselves may have solid rationales but their combination doesn't rest on any solid concept - you lose all rationale when you combine the therapies. Any thoughts? “Integration” of fluency shaping and stuttering modification approaches has been a goal and practice of many therapists for the past 10 years. Part of the rationale behind this movement was to combine the strengths of each approach while minimizing their weaknesses. For example, many clinicians would agree that modification of stuttering intervention includes strong desensitization measures, and that fluency shaping approaches teach an array of techniques that powerfully facilitate fluent speech. Part of my interpretation of Peter and Darrell’s article is that densitization through confrontation reduces levels of tension, anxiety and apprehension in order to make the use of fluency shaping techniques more successful.

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