Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Un-cooperative Mouth

Honestly, after a lot of the research I've read recently about stuttering...I seriously doubt there will ever be a cure. I do think that we stutterers will be able to find useful therapy...eventually, effective drugs...and devices that will induce more fluency...but I do not think we will find a cure.

I am beginning to see that stuttering is even more complicated than what I once believed. The problem with a "cure" is that there are too many factors that contribute to stuttering...for their to be a simple "pill" or "technique" that can address them all.

Dr. Martin Schwartz has a treatment that claims a near 94% success rate ...and after speaking with him, I was very educated in the hows and whys of stuttering...and explained that stuttering happens because of what happens before we begin to speak...but this explanation says nothing of why I will stutter, for example, right in the middle of a sentence with a word that begins with the letter L. This has even occured when I was completely alone and not stressed at all.

The mystery of stuttering is very frustrating. To me, it's very much like how I would feel if I dropped a rock from my hand...and instead of going down, it began to float upward. "Why are you doing that, Mr. Rock? There is no REASON for that to happen!" Stuttering seems to defy all reason and logic. I want to say a word...but it won't come out...yet there seems to be no reason for this to happen. It's like an invisible wall...invisible hands stopping your hand from rising to your mouth. "Mr. Hand, I want food. Why won't you rise to my mouth?"

I once met a woman in a nursing home who had had a stroke. She completely lost the ability to formulate words. She could only talk gibberish. Yet, she could understand everything that was said to her...and she could write down what she wanted to say. I was completely amazed by this. I would think to myself, "Okay, she can hear the words in her head...she can understand the words I say to her...she can move her mouth to speak...but she can't formulate the words? Why? Just do it!"

The truth is, there is probably some kind of damage to her brain that is preventing her brain from communicating properly with her mouth. Her mouth just won't cooperate with her brain. She could eat food normally, however, so the damage must have been isolated solely to the connection between brain and mouth that is associated with communication. Fascinating!

Thus, in stutterers, it's possible that somehow our mouths/throat/etc simply will not cooperate with our brains commands to speak. My conscious mind says "Speak" brain knows the command...sends the command to my mouth...which will not cooperate with me.

It's frustrating when you lose control of a part of your body, isn't it?


Bud said...

You bet! There are more ways than we can imagine to "lose control of your body" and not being able to do things the way we want, the way we used to, and/or the way we see others do makes it all the more frustrating. Take color blindness - those people wonder why they can't tell the difference between the red shirt and the brown shirt. They wonder why they were born differently than most people and why they got the wrong genes. I've met people who started stuttering after having a stroke. They never thought twice about not being able to say what they wanted to clearly so others could understand. They got thrown into the percentage of stutterers "in the wink of an eye." We never know what lies in store for us; we just have to "keep on keeping on" or "keep on truckin" and not let it get us down.

Law Student said...

True enough, Bud. Wise words, indeed, sir. :)

Jerome said...

>It's frustrating when you lose control of a part of your body, isn't it?

Hell yes.