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Re: About your stuttering

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 15 Oct 2004
Time: 10:48:39 -0500
Remote Name:


Hi Cheryl Lee, I received stuttering "therapy" very extensively in the dark ages (1950's mainly, my teenage years) before anyone had any clue about the stuttering iceberg. The therapy consisted of an early form of fluency shaping where great and heroic attempts were made to CONTROL my stuttering and do various things that would keep me from stuttering in the first place. Stuttering bad, fluency good. BIG MISTAKE! Sure it worked for a short time very well, like a few weeks or so, but I could never sustain it. My failure to achieve fluency created huge amounts of psychological baggage for me. I didn't work hard enough. I wasn't smart enough. I didn't care enough. I was a failure...! It was awful...! ------------------- Amazingly enough the "speech correction" camp I went to for four summers in Michigan, Shady Trails, was a life changing experience for me - for the good - but it had little to do with the speech therapy I received. I really grew up there, even though the speech therapy itself was a colossal failure. I met lots of wonderful, caring people who simply didn't know about the massive psychological aspects of stuttering as shown in the Stuttering Iceberg. (See my paper at for details of the stuttering iceberg.) ------------------- Thank God for other aspects life in camp! My swimming instructor was an Olympic silver medalist. I learned to play soccer from a Swedish soccer superstar long before soccer was ever popular in the US. One of my speech "correctionists" (as they were known in those days) was Miss Pennsylvania in the Miss America contest. The camp cook was a concert pianist. There were wonderful role models all around. I never felt alone in my stuttering. ------------------- It wasn't until nearly 30 years later when I discovered the National Stuttering Association did I begin to put some pieces together and started to address the massive parts of the iceberg that are under the waterline. I joined Toastmasters. I began to come out of my shell and saw myself in a whole new light. My old Shady Trails "speech controls" even came back to me in the form of stuttering modification techniques like slow speech, light contact, continuous phonation, all the standard therapy tools that are used today. But they helped me handle my stuttering more easily rather than attempt to keep me from stuttering in the first place. Big difference. ------------------- Today I am a very confident speaker with very little psychological baggage beneath the waterline. I still stutter significantly but it's an easy open stutterer with no secondaries or avoidances. I lead a very fluent lifestyle, talking to anyone, anywhere, any time I want. And it feels really good, stuttering and all. ------------------- I have had no formal speech therapy since Shady Trails in 1957. I wonder what my life would have been like if they knew then what we know now. You student SLPs are our future, the therapists for my grandchildren. You will be able to do a FAR better job than what the old speech "correctionists" did back in the 50's because you are learning so much more. Your challenge now is to put what you know - both the top and bottom of the iceberg - into practice. Good luck. We in the stuttering community are depending on you. -------------------------- Russ,, Dallas, Texas, 972-881-1451 home, 972-489-6169 cell, My home page: NSA home page:

Last changed: 09/12/05