It is a fact – up to one-out-of-three people stuttered for a time during childhood; after a month or less, and it self-extinguished.
Remember how it made you feel? Embarrassed to open your mouth, you kept your head down in school and prayed you were not call on. It made you the butt of the joke at home and in the schoolyard.
Modern scientific research in the cause and cure of stuttering is a century old, and it remains a mystery, and to adults a terror.
a) In the U. S. 3-million folks are chronic stutterers – 1% of the population.
b) Four-times as many males are afflicted than females.
c) A new drug – Pagoclone – is showing major success is reducing stuttering.
d) It appears to be genetic in 60% of the cases – a close relative stutters.
e) There is a structural and functional brain difference in the areas of speech
and language. PET scans show decided brain differences after speech
therapy and between those who stutter and non-stutterers.
Three elements occur in this speech disorder:
a) abnormal stoppages
b) repetition of syllables
c) elongation of sounds
Winston Churchill, Carly Simon, James Earl Jones, Moses, and Yankee star – Johnny Damon. It made them half-crazy, but they overcame the fears and embarrassment of appearing and speaking in public.
In 2006, Luc De Nil, chairman of the department of speech and language pathology at the University of Toronto used PET scans to discover stutters are Right-Brained. Non-stutterers are Left-Brained, with less emotional involvement in speech.
Further, there is an excess of the neurotransmitter, Dopamine, in those who stutter chronically. It is now accepted by scientists that stuttering is a neurological condition.
People who suffer from chronic stress are prone to stuttering. Recent PET and fMRI scans show that those who stutter do not have standard activity in their Auditory Cortex.
We are talking about the only disorder the general population finds it acceptable to imitate and poke fun at the sufferer.
Two Personal Solutions
Stuttering dreads diaphragmatic breathing exercises, and MI – mental visualizations of relaxing scenes.
The new drugs attempt to control the flow of the brain neurotransmitter – Dopamine, and that is effective. Slow breathing, deep from the solar-plexus causes a reduction of stress.
Producing acetylcholine from the Parasympathetic nervous system through deep relaxation, instead of adrenaline-epinephrine from the Sympathetic nervous system causing stress, reduces stuttering up to 66%. Diaphragmatic breathing practice for 30 minutes daily, over 21 days, produces measurable results.
Daily meditation for 20 minutes, twice-a-day, uses the movie-screen of your mind to produce relaxing scenes. Imagine a day at the beach sunning yourself near the booming waves of the ocean. Create a picnic with friends or family as a mental-image to relax your vocal cords and produce non-stuttering speech.
Doing both breathing exercises and mental visualization work best because they cause conscious change of focus from the problem.
One graduate used chanting during his daily 20 minute meditation, and reported he all but eliminated his life-long chronic stuttering in about four-weeks.
His chant was two syllables – BUT-MOM, repetitiously for five-minutes, and later – SA-TA-NA-MA for an additional five-minutes. We found them in Kundalini Yoga (it means coiled up - like a snake), and they are recommended in ancient texts for mental and physical healing. It works for much more than stuttering relief.
Did you know that our 3 pound coconut (brain), requires 24% of all the oxygen we inhale? Wait, when we are learning, thinking or under stress, our brain needs an additional 10% dose of oxygen.
If you choose to do two-minutes of diaphragmatic breathing as a daily ritual – you are oxygenating your brain for enhanced concentration and memory. A single two-minute session positively affects the mind and body for up to two-hours.
Did you know that speed readers slice their Learning-Curve up to 50%? They read 3x fast, remember 2x better, and learn up to 50% smarter.
Ask me how.
copyright © 2006
Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's; former business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating 2 million, including the White House staffs of four U. S. Presidents.
Quoted by Fortune Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.