One Wild Guess of Stuttering Treatment

1. The perceived stuttering behaviors, whether in speech or in body parts, are consequences caused by neuronal blocks (Kalinowski & Saltuklaroglu, 2006).

2. This may be better illustrated in the development of secondary behaviors. First, the child may have some repetition, prolongation, or in some cases, blocks, but the secondary behaviors, like tongue stretching, eyes blinking, and arms swinging, are developed lately. These secondary behaviors can alleviate stuttering only temporarily,  and may change along the time (Van Riper, 1973). Therefore, it may be reasonable that these secondary behaviors are ways to improve their fluency, and with the progressive development of pathology, the behaviors change, and become more dramatic.

3. But choral speech may be the most powerful technique to improve fluency (Kalinowski & Saltuklaroglu, 2006). In reality, delayed/altered secondary speech signal, such as DAF, FAF, and DVF, may serve as variants of choral speech. These signals function not because of the distraction effect (Bloodstein, 1995), but may because of the emulation/strengthening of the motor sequences in the brain, or to say, the engagement with mirror neuron system (Kalinowski & Saltuklaroglu, 2006). However, though the involvement of mirror neuron system can have support from other aspects, such as Alvin Liberman’s motor theory of speech perception, and recent reports of the mirror neuron activation on hearing action words, I have rarely seen other researchers outside the Kalinowski group to accept this explanation.

4. But even without mentioning mirror neuron system, the motor theory of speech perception can help to explain the function of altered auditory signals. I am sure many people have this kind of experience: when you dance and you are not that familiar with that style, watching others’ dancing, although not perfectly synchronized, could help your movements. Someone argued that the delayed signal should not have the same effect as choral signals which are theoretically in perfect synchrony, but I believe for familiar motor tasks, such as speaking and much-practiced dancing, the delayed signals will help as long as the set of movement is same.

5. And the movements of other body parts that the stutterers intentionally or unintentionally employ may serve as the same target. That is, in the movements of their body parts, there may be something that relate to their speech movements, and by swinging the arms, blinking eyes, or twisting the lips, etc., the tension in the speech movement will be reduced.

6. But because these body movements are not that synchronized with speech movements (e.g., the articulator), it may work for a while, but will lose its function afterwards. And the stutterer has to devise some other set of movement to help himself or herself.

7. Is there a way to devise a hand sign system that can simulate the speech movements? Maybe it will help stutterers better than other body movements. Hand and mouth are in the neighboring areas in the homunculus, and many, many research has confirmed their close relationship. So if a system of hand gestures can simulate vowel, stops, nasals, liquid, etc., the stutterer may be able to simulate stuttering using his hands, and when he stutters, he can use hand gestures to release stuttering.

8. This set of movement should not be deemed as the sign language. I think it may need only a few gestures, that simulate vowel, stop, liquid, nasal, glide, etc. When done appropriately, stutterers using this set of movement would look like normal speakers with a little bit too many gestures… but quite fluently.

9. The results… hardly to predict right now. It also needs a better proprioceptive and kinematic sensation of the articulators and probably larynx. And, basically, it cannot remove stuttering prior to its happening, but serves as a way to pull out from the stuttering…

10. All after all, this is just a wild guess.


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