Friday, November 11, 2005

Transfer-Wk 1,Fri.-Few speaking opportunities

This post is really going to highlight just how unsocial my life is.

Have I alluded previously to the fact that I work from home? Well I do, and when I have a good project, I usually don’t go anywhere for days. So most of my human interaction is with my wife and 3 year old, who are home and awake only for about 4 hours per day. So most of the time I’m alone.

Although that sounded pathetic, I actually like it, since I can concentrate on what I’m doing. However, as far as my speech therapy goes; being alone isn’t helpful and I’d probably be a lot better off if I could be using my targets all day in an interactive environment.

I suppose this means; I need to be extra diligent with my practice.

Because I’m not speaking very often, I find that the longer I’m out of the intensive therapy, the more I forget to use my skills. I need to find something to help me remember. Lori suggested one of those rubber wristbands, which are trendy right now, but it’s not really my style. Dr. Kroll suggested carrying our stopwatches in our pockets and every time we put out hand in our pockets it will remind us, but it’s too heavy and bulky. Lori, also suggested having some kind of watch timer beep every 15 minutes, which sounds good, but I tried this previously to help my time management / productivity, but found that after a while I started blocking it out. I need to find something a little better.

The best reminder I seem to have is my stutter … but if I’ve lost control so bad that I’m stuttering again … then it’s a pretty weak reminder system now isn’t it? It’s as effective as using the unemployment line to remind you to save money when you’re working. ;-)

I’ve been thinking that perhaps I should get a 3 person golf score keeper, you know those ones that you click every time somebody takes a shot. Well, I could use each score for; spontaneous speech (fluent or disfluent), failed targets, and successful targets. This wouldn’t give enough information to track with failed targets, but at least I could keep track of the overall daily trend of my control levels. It would also serve the same purpose as the stop watch that Dr.Kroll suggested.

At the beginning of the week, I had a pretty good grip on my speech. I was successful in using my targets with a key client both on the phone and in person. But yesterday, I had lunch with a colleague, and my targets were sketchy at best. I tried to self correct a problem I was having, and repeated the word about 6 times before I stopped thinking it may be making him uncomfortable.

But, the telephone transfers are not going too well, and for some reason I can’t seem to say “thank you”, at the end. I block on every one. I am also unable to identify the targets I am missing. When this happened in the clinic, Lori pointed out that I was not breathing before saying thank you. But I have been watching this, and I am breathing before saying thank you. But then I block! Normally blocking means that I missed the Gentle Onset, which I dismissed as not being the problem, since I’m blocking on the soundless TH. But in writing this, it has occurred to me that there is still air in the TH, and if my vocal folds are closing, then maybe I am blocking on it!

This blog is great! Explaining things is sometimes exactly what you need to break you through a mental barrier.

Not meant as advice, please find a qualified therapist if you are interested in similar therapy.


At Sunday, November 13, 2005 11:20:00 PM, Anonymous Yasser said...

Are you sure you're blocking on the "TH" and not the "A" that follows? If you can actually say the "TH", it means you're blocking on the latter, and the best strategy is to use your gentle onset and slow change.

It also helps to visualize the graph of the gentle onset as you say the word, with the sound starting off softly and growing progressively louder.

Also, sometimes you may feel that repeating a difficult word constitutes self-correction, but in reality, you're just trying get your vocal cords moving so that you can finally blurt out the sound. This is an old trick that all stutterers have learned and is often confused with self-correction. When you encounter difficulty, think about what you've done wrong, then repeat the word using the targets. Feel free to pause for as long as necessary before continuing.

Don't fall into the trap of viewing speech as a race to the finish line, because that only increases the severity of the blocks and militates against proper self-correction.

Hope that helps,


At Monday, November 14, 2005 8:35:00 AM, Blogger John MacIntyre said...

Thanks Yasser,

At first, when I blocked on 'Thank you', I did assume it was the genle onset. But after a few more phone calls with focus on my 'Thank you', I realized the 'TH' wasn't even happening. Which just confused me.

But after this post, I started to think about it, and I think I am actually closing my vocal chords before the 'TH'. At least I think so, I need to talk to Lori about it on my follow up on Wednesday.

As far as the self correction goes, I was trying to repeat it until I was able to control it. I wasn't just repeating it. Actually, I think I just stumbled on the word, then repeated it fluently without my targets, then tried to self correct until I felt my targets.



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