Generating Fluent Speech: A Comprehensive Speech Processing Approach

by Barbara Dahm

Generating Fluent Speech: A Comprehensive Speech Processing Approach is a therapy program for the treatment of stuttering that was developed by Barbara Dahm at Communication Therapy Institute in Israel during many years of clinical experience in treating people who stutter. It is based on the findings that people who stutter use processes for the production of speech that are different from those used by normally fluent speakers. The goal of Generating Fluent Speech is, therefore, to guide participants to produce speech in the same way that normally fluent speakers do.

During the Generating Fluent Speech program, people who stutter relearn the speech production process. While doing the various exercises, they learn to vibrate their vocal folds in an easy effortless manner that eliminates the feeling that they do not have enough air to speak. They learn that it is not only not necessary, but, actually, debilitating to monitor words and speech sounds. The Generating Fluent Speech exercises help them to move their focus of attention away from this activity. As a result their language development process is simplified and becomes subconscious. In addition, they learn to give up control of their speech muscles. Articulation becomes an automatic process that works efficiently at a rapid rate.

Instead of trying to be fluent, Generating Fluent Speech students learn to detach themselves from the result of the activity of speaking. After repetitive and consistent achievement of the therapy goals, they become proficient in the act of speaking. Without conscious effort, artificial monitoring of speech, and using intentional or subconscious controls, speaking becomes natural and effortless. The by-product of the activity is naturally sounding, fluent speech.

The therapy exercises and guidance that participants receive throughout the Generating Fluent Speech program also lead them to a full understanding of their speech production system. This gives them the ability to troubleshoot errors in speech production should they be made at any time. Since people who have completed therapy sense that speaking is in fact effortless, and since they know how to self correct errors, they become confident in their ability to speak in all situation.

Relearning of speech processing requires both intensive practice and the development of new habits. The therapy program is divided into two stages:

Results of Generating Fluent Speech have shown that all people who stutter are capable of producing speech correctly. Most learn this process within the three week period of intensive therapy and use it quite consistently. However, there are some people who do resist change. They have a harder time bringing themselves to use the new way of producing speech in all situations. These people require extensive work on changing attitudes and beliefs. It will take some of them more than three weeks to make significant changes in their daily speech processing. However, even these individuals report that Generating Fluent Speech therapy gave them a greater understanding of their difficulty in speaking and a direction for making further improvements in their ability to produce fluent speech

A research study that was published in the Generating Fluent Speech Clinician's Guide by Thinking Publications of Wisconsin, USA has shown that Generating Fluent Speech is a highly effective therapeutic program. In this study the average level of disfluency of the forty subjects decreased after therapy from 22.57% to 6.32%. The average self perception of stuttering score which indicates the degree of struggle, avoidance and expectation of stuttering decreased from 24.43 to 5.53. Just as important, however, is that clients report a stronger sense of self-confidence and a feeling of being physically more relaxed. In addition, 6 months after the completion of therapy, 84.7% of the subjects felt Generating Fluent Speech was a worthwhile therapy program for them.

Communication Therapy Institute was established in 1987. It is a private clinic that specializes in the treatment of stuttering. CTI is dedicated to administering the most effective treatment methods for stuttering known world-wide. We at CTI are continually updating our therapy program based on our extensive experience in treating people who stutter and according to the latest research findings. Generating Fluent Speech has become the therapeutic approach chosen to treat all clients, because it has been found to be the most effective treatment approach.

Barbara Dahm, M.Ed., speech pathologist, is the founder and Director of CTI Communication Therapy Institute. She is a certified member of the American Speech, Hearing and Language Association, a certified speech clinician in Israel and a member of the Association of Israeli Communication Clinicians, the International Fluency Association, and ASHA Special Interest Division in Fluency and Fluency Disorders. Ms. Dahm received both of her degrees in Speech Pathology at Boston University, USA. She has over 25 years of experience as a Speech and Language Pathologist. During her career she originally followed traditional methods of stuttering therapy. She later incorporated psychological approaches, especially Gestalt therapy. Unsatisfied with the results of therapy, she continued her training under the supervision of Dr. Ronald Webster, the developer of the Precision Fluency Shaping Program (PFSP) Through her experience, Ms. Dahm gained a deeper understanding of the intricacies of stuttering and the complex problems faced by people who stutter in their desire to communicate effectively. In 1993 Ms. Dahm developed Comprehensive Speech Processing Therapy (CSPT). Due to the high degree of satisfaction reported by CTI clients who participated in this program and the interest of professionals throughout the world in this therapy approach, CSPT, now known by the name Generating Fluent Speech: A Comprehensive Speech Processing Approach was published in January 1997 in its English version by Thinking Publications, Wisconsin, USA. Ms. Dahm has presented her approach to professionals and people who stutter in England, Germany and the United States and gives workshops in various locations in the USA to clinicians who are interested in becoming qualified in administering Generating Fluent Speech.

added April 25, 1998