Speech Therapy has been a help for stutterers like me for hundreds and hundreds of years. From walking on hot coals and sucking on pebbles to changing the whole diction of natural speech and breathing exercises. Here I look into my experience of Speech Therapy I received via the NHS in the United Kingdom.
Speech Therapy and the NHS
The NHS is forever maligned but my experiences with Speech Therapy vary from the useless to the absolute pinnacle of Speech Therapy
Speech Therapy, throughout my life
I once read the same book over and over again. It was a book aimed at the 7-10 age range. I was 15 years old. This is ironic because when I was 7 years old I was told I had a reading age of 13. Confused? The book was full of simple words that I had to read aloud. And I had to read them aloud fluently, again and again. This was speech therapy when I was younger. Very, very boring and not something I looked forward to. Given such easy material to read it was a doddle for me to be fluent. But once you got me out of that room I was stuttering again. So what was the point? I think I went to appease my parents. I also had a slight crush on my Speech Therapist. She spoke in a slow, affected, delicate Scottish brogue. It was beautiful. When I turned 16 I decided not to bother going. My speech was something I would have to deal with for the rest of my life.
Gareth Gates? Remember him? I didn't rate his music but his stutter brought it to the public attention and my local paper ran an article about modern speech therapy. I wasn't sold on the quick cure method where your whole voice is changed from inflection to speaking in scattergun sentences. But this seemed different. I went one afternoon with an open mind. I was just hoping I wouldn't be reading Janet and John books! I sat down and just had a conversation. Little did I know that Linda (my therapist) was taking mental notes of my blocks and tics and knew exactly what she was talking about. It was so refreshing and uplifting. Any misconceptions I had were blown away by the sheer professionalism. Bear in mind this was also on the NHS so was essentially a free service.
The techniques she taught me were fantastic and seemed so obvious. I still use them to this day without even knowing about it. They come naturally to me. I could have spent thousands of pounds for private speech therapy but I will big up the NHS and the fantastic staff that work there. Speech Therapy has come on in leaps and bounds in my lifetime never mind generations. I highly recommend a consultation if you have a stutter.
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