A Perfect Norwegian Stutter

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Re: Help for American fluency clients?

From: Paul Goldstein
Date: 18 Oct 2011
Time: 23:18:18 -0500
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Hi, Lindsay. Thanks for posing this very interesting question! It's a tough one too. When I was living in the U.S., especially during my last 16 years there, I was near-constantly working diligently on my fluency through practicing and monitoring of fluency targets. I could not imagine having the type of "letting-go" attitude I have now. My "letting-go" attitude developed after I moved to Norway, and it was partially motivated by the markedly more relaxed and accepting atmosphere that I found in Norwegian society. When I've visited the U.S. after moving here, I usually find that my speech worsens - my new relaxed attitude towards my speech seems to work better for me within Norway than in the U.S., where I spent so many decades intensively working on targets to enhance my fluency. So I don't have advice from my own personal experience for successful "letting go" within specific American environments. But generally I would urge clients to be open and honest with others about stuttering, to be willing to talk about their stuttering, and to learn to casually mention their stuttering in conversations to take away the "hush-hush" aspect about the topic. It is also helpful to put stuttering into its proper perspective: We all have problems, challenges, or individual differences that we deal with in life, and no one is "perfect". It is not necessary that one is consistent with fluency of speech in order to be happy and satisfied with life. Consistent fluency of speech is a skill that many people do have, but we are all individuals with our own levels of skill in different areas, and people in general do realize that. Living an honorable and decent life, with concern and compassion for others does not depend on consistent fluency of speech. It is also possible to strive for personal goals, to expand one's comfort zones, and to achieve and fulfill one's dreams in life without having consistent speech fluency. Clients - especially young clients - may have trouble believing this at first, but if they work on achieving smaller goals with successes, they will come to understand that larger goals are also possible to reach. I hope this has been helpful, and good luck in your speech-language pathology career!

Last changed: 10/18/11