Monday, January 30, 2006

Lollie's Cure

Since reading The Stuttering Brain, I’ve begun viewing websites that offer a cure for stuttering with a much more critical eye than I once did. When I was in the Navy, I met a man who claimed to have been cured of stuttering…and indeed I never heard him stutter. However, if he was using some fluency trick (not like my tricks of word substitution or exhaling all but enough air to start a sentence…rather, tricks that allow you to say anything you want without stuttering) then he wasn’t really cured. You might call that “recovering”, as alcoholics do in Alcoholics Anonymous. Truly cured, in my opinion, would be if you didn’t even have to think about talking and could be stutter free as if you never stuttered at all. Being fluent without a method.

This guy went to a clinic in Virginia that lasts for a couple of weeks…a very intensive fluency program. Apparently it worked for him, because I never heard him stutter in all the years I knew him. And he had a very quiet, slow way of talking. Before I knew he was a “former” stutterer, I just thought he was a low-key kinda guy. I also noticed that he didn’t talk a whole lot. You never heard him get excited or say something quick or on the spur of the moment.

Three weeks after I met him, he pulled me aside one day to say that he wanted to talk in private about something important. As I would be with anyone who approached me in such a manner, I was curious and a bit paranoid about what he wanted to talk to me. I reluctantly agreed and was absolutely convinced that he was going to either proselytize me for some religious group/church/cult…or he wanted to get me to join Amway or some other multi-level marketing organization. Neither was the case, thankfully.

He noticed my stutter, he indicated when we finally met after hours one evening. He said that he wanted to tell me about the clinic in Virginia where one could go to get intensive therapy to learn to be stutter free. I was delighted, of course…that is, until I discovered the price of the weeks-long therapy session was some 4 thousand dollars. Besides, I couldn’t take the time off of work, even if I could afford it. Ultimately, I never went.

Today online I typed in the words “stuttering cure” in the Yahoo search engine and came upon this page: It offers a “cure” for stuttering that, I’m sure, is too good to be true. I have no idea what formal training this “Lollie” has in speech therapy (or any kind of therapy for that matter)…but she explains that if you, either verbally or silently say, “Stutter now!” before you begin speaking…you won’t stutter. She claims she “created” this “cure” first for her friend “Mitch”, who, after using it for a couple of weeks, became completely stutter free. Another guy she supposedly “cured” claimed that after awhile, he never even had to give himself the command any longer.

I don’t know if this web page qualifies for the “Quack” distinction from The Stuttering Brain…after all, she’s not offering to sell a cure. In fact, there seems to be no motivation for her doing this at all, except that she wanted to help her friend, “Mitch.” I haven’t tried the trick yet…but I know that, even if it does work sporadically, there is no way it can possibly address a block you might have in the middle of a sentence…which is the same reason I know that the “passive air-flow method” can’t be a 100 percent cure. The passive air flow might help you begin a sentence…but I often block in the middle of sentences on difficult words.
Anyway, I will try Lollie’s method…just for fun. See what happens.

1 comment:

Rob said...

I have attended one of the intensive fluency shaping programs in Virginia (FYI, there are 2 - one at Hollins College in Roanoke and one at the East.Va. Med School in Norfolk) and I still go back to Norfolk yearly for 1 week refreshers. It is a significant amount of money for most (it certainly was when I attended as a poor college student), a major time committment (though now both programs are 2 weeks) and more ongoing hard work after you leave. But, for me, it was an absurdly small price to pay to learn how to be in control of my stuttering instead of my stuttering controlling me.

Good luck on finding your cure!