Rationale: Children and adolescents who stutter frequently produce 
consonants with hard articulatory contacts. Hard contacts are the
source of a great deal of articulatory tension and may result in the
impedance of airflow in the oral cavity. Teaching the client to 
produce soft, loose articulatory movements is helpful in reducing
the articulatory tension. Light contacts are also helpful in 
providing the child with a tool to reduce tension during the
stuttering moment.


Conture (1990) - recommends making speech "visible" through learning
easier onsets.  He incorporates the use of the VU meter to 
demonstrate how one can "make appropriate vocal initiations and 
transitions" (pg. 196)

Gregory (1991)  -emphasizes the use of an easier initiation of speech
with smooth movements from sound to sound.  

Irwin (1980) - uses the concept of lengthening or elasticizing the 
first syllable of a dysfluent word in his treatment approach,
asserting that it reduces the muscular tension in the speech organs.

Peters and Guitar (1991) - use the fluency enhancing behavior of 
"soft contacts" for some clients.  By this, we mean that the movements
of the articulators (tongue, lips, jaw) should be slow, prolonged, 
and relaxed. These articulatory movements should not be fast and 
tense: (pg. 231).

Wall and Meyers (1984) - find loose contacts a most useful technique
This technique requires reduction of muscle activity in the vocal 
tract, thereby preventing immobilizing tension and allowing smooth
movement through a word. 

Van Riper (1973) - stresses the importance of reduced oral tension 
during length articulatory contacts, especially within the context
of modifying stuttering behaviors. 


 1. Teach the client the concept of soft, loose sounds.  Emphasizing
    the "feeling" of loose articulatory movements and smooth, 
    continuous airflow.  How relaxed does the tongue feel?  "Soft
    sounds" can be taught at the phoneme level and incorporated into
    activities that follow a hierarchy of increased length and
    linguistic complexity up through conversation.

 2. Use of a delayed auditory feedback unit (DAF) may be used with
    older children to facilitate light articulatory contacts through
    abnormally slowed rate at the single word through reading levels.

 3. Voluntary stretches, accomplished by lengthening or prolonging the
    first syllable of a word, involves soft, slow articulation of the
    consonant and prolonged phonation of the vowel.  These stretches
    may be incorporated in single words through conversational tasks.

 4. Contrast drills are a helpful activity to increase the client's 
    awareness of hard vs. articulatory contacts.  Be sure to emphasize
    kinesthetic awareness.  Have the child read from a list of words
    alternating hard and soft productions of each word.  Encourage the
    client to feel the difference while the clinician explains why 
    they are different.  Negative practice drills (Gregory, 1989), 
    in which the client produces a hard moment and then reduces the 
    tension by 50%, provide an excellent way to demonstrate this 
    concept of hard versus soft speech production. 

 5. The clinician may demonstrate several samples of the clients' 
    stuttering behaviors and then demonstrate how he/she can stutter
    more easily.  The clinician may slow down a repetition, stretch
    out of a block, or do an easy repetition to ease out of laryngeal
    block.  One way of facilitation comprehension of different ways of
    stuttering is through the use of "triad" drills.  Each point of a
    triangle represents certain ways of stuttering:  "hard bounce, 
    easy bounce, and slide" and/or "easy bounce, slide and easy onset
    (stretch)".  Starting with the first triad (HB,EB,S), the client
    learns how to change his/her stuttering patterns and gradually 
    works toward the second type of triad (EB,S,EO). Multiple 
    repetitions of triad drills will facilitate the development of
    monitoring and proprioception skills.  For the younger child,
    Westbrook (1989) uses the analogy of "Energy" to facilitate this
    concept.  The child manipulates various levels of tension as a 
    means of "conserving energy"; energy being on a continuum of 100%
    energy (hard speech) to 25% (easy speech).

 6. The following excerpt is from Dell, "Treating The School-Age
    Stutterer," and describes a method of teaching light, loose
    articulatory contacts:

         When you are stuttering hard on it, you will feel
         your tongue jammed up against the alveolar ridge.
         You will also feel air pressure building up behind
         your tongue.  The air wants to escape but you are
         forcing it back with your tongue.  Now gradually 
         loosen the pressure on your tongue by reducing the
         force of the air pressure pushing up against it. 
         Then gradually begin to relax the tension you have
         purposely placed on your tongue.  When you remove
         some of this lingual pressure, you will probably
         hear a little burst of air escaping between the
         tongue and the alveolar ridge.  You then need to
         change these bursts into a small, steady stream of
         air, it is easy to add the voicing necessary and
         once again slide into the work but beware of 
         prolonging the vowel.  It should be tttable' not

 7. Cancellations may be employed to further facilitate awareness of
    light articulatory.  Immediately after the stuttering moment, the
    child should repeat the work with a light articulatory contact.
    "This technique allows the child to reattempt a work in which the
    coarticulatory gestures have not been smoothly produced."  (Wall
    and Myers).