The following material was sent by Gerald Johnson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His clinical expertise is with people who stutter and he is currently executive director of the American Institute for the Management of Stuttering located in Grafton (Milwaukee), Wisconsin.

Hints, suggestions, ideas, and stuff like that.

by: Dr. J

1. We don't know what causes stuttering, but we do know that your starting to stutter is NOT your fault.

2. We know that it is OK to stutter if you want to. It is what makes you unique and different.

3. We know that sometimes you stutter more than at other times. Maybe you can figure out why you do this. Find answers to these questions: Am I happy? Am I healthy? Do I like myself? Do other people like me? Am I fearful of talking to this person? Am I fearful of talking in this situation? Why do I feel like stuttering today? Is my mouth tight? Do I keep eye contact with my listener? Do I feel like trying to hide my stuttering today? Am I changing words from the words I would really like to say? Am I using starters to get going? Am I using my speech helpers today? +++++This is too much to think about. How about not thinking about all this junk and just talk.+++++

4. Be spontaneous with yourself and your speech. Try not to hold back. Let 'r Rip! Try to let your stuttering come out as freely and as easily as you can with little speech pressure and tension. Try not to feel your mouth as you talk. Don't concentrate on how you want to speak or what you want to say. You know how to talk and what you want to say before you actually begin to talk. Remember: Let 'r Rip.

5. Here is a speech helper that might give you something to do when your stuttering is bugging you: Don't work so hard. Take it easy and let the words just fall out of your mouth without any pushing.

6. Here is another speech helper: Use the lightest speech movements that you can as you talk. EASY SPEECH. You cannot feel your mouth move, it just moves automatically without your knowing it. Just keep talking with this "easy speech" and just let the words come without thinking about the words you are speaking. Don't worry, the words will come because you have a good vocabulary and you have all the words you need to have to be a good speaker. Just let the words fall out of your mouth easily, freely, without pressure or tension. Keep them flowing easily.

7. Here is another speech helper that is very powerful when you need it. It is called Stop and Go: When you feel that you are going to stutter, you feel very tense and ill at ease and you JUST KNOW that you are going to stutter, you are stuck on a word, or you just stuttered on a word and it made you mad and got you all messed up--STOP. Get yourself back under control before you go on. You might say to yourself "that was a hard one!" Start up again where you left off with a speech helper. Get ready, get set, G0. Don't get mad at yourself. You now have something to do: Stop and Go.

8. Here is another speech helper that is weird and strange and you think it might not be a helper, but it sometimes is: Practice your stuttering! Do you know what you do when you stutter? What is going on with your mouth? Is your tongue tight? Are your lips tight? Does your mouth feel stuck? Are you frozen or are you repeating, or are you changing words around? Can you FAKE your stuttering-stutter on purpose? Can you do this calmly without tension or fear? Can you change your stuttering from hard to easy as you fake it? Play around with your stuttering and make it fun and something you can do ON PURPOSE. Try this on yourself first and then with friendly people. Can stuttering be this much fun?????

9. Here is another speech helper: Don't stutter. Can you make yourself not stutter by just telling yourself not to? Sometimes we let stuttering take hold of us and we feel like we can't do anything about it. Pick out people who are friendly and practice Not Stuttering. Is this possible to do? Pick out a speech helper and use it on every word that you say for a couple of sentences. Maybe it would be easiest to use Easy Speech or nothing at all. You can choose what you want to do or not do, but make yourself not stutter. This might not be easy to do--or maybe it will be a snap.

10. Above all else, remember that sometimes LESS IS MORE. The less you are concerned about yourself, life in general, growing up, getting along with your parents and other people, worrying about the future, trying to be perfect, and the list goes on. The less you think about the better. You don't have to give thought to much in life because you are a talented person, smart, a hard worker, friendly, good at many things. If you let the good come to you through your natural talented efforts you will succeed in life. Keep your faith, your love of your family, your love of people and goodness toward those that need you, and your motivation and drive to be a good student and all else will fall into place. You have much to look forward to and you will have a good life.

added with permission of author, October 9, 1998