Mindfulness and Stuttering?
Stuttering needs no introduction anymore. About 5 to 10% of all children are known to stutter at some point. While most children under age 6, with the help of therapy and the right treatment, will stop stuttering over a period of time. But for some, stuttering persists through adulthood.
Mindfulness meditation is an approach used to assist both children and adult to be present and focused.
What is mindfulness?
Stuttering is often a exacerbated during high pressure and anxiety situations. With the help of mindfulness meditation, you are being trained to observe yourself closely at the moment. It creates awareness of your speech and how listeners respond to your conversations.
Whether you stutter or not, mindfulness allows you to be present at the moment. The purpose of mindfulness is not solving your stuttering, but to observe current challenges with clear perception.
It not only increases psychological well being but also positively influences behavioral components.
Many speech-language pathologists use mindfulness and meditation as an effective technique in speech therapy to help with stuttering.
How does mindfulness help with stuttering?
When it comes to clients who stutter, mindfulness helps identify what happens when stuttering occurs and identifies how others respond to your stuttering.
Apart from that, it reduces the negative judgements we often impose on ourselves. It’s similar to self-monitoring at the beginning of therapy.
Mindfulness must not be considered as a cure-all for stuttering, but it can be a significant tool to give you a better outlook if you dedicate time towards guided mindfulness meditation.
Now that you have a better understanding of mindfulness and how it works, let’s take a closer look at the impact it can have on people who stutter.
- Awareness: It is helpful for people who stutter to have self-awareness about stuttering. With mindfulness, you will be able to look beyond the verbal aspect of communication and start observing yourself, including body language and nonverbals. This directly helps you reflect on the effectiveness of the conversation.
- Acceptance: Once you are aware of you are self-aware, there is a sense of acceptance that comes around. With mindfulness, your thoughts and actions will be the focus. As you have self-awareness and acceptance, you’ll notice how stress and anxiety may decrease impacting negative thoughts.
As per a study published by Michael P Boyle in pubmed.gov,:
Mindfulness practice results in decreased avoidance, increased emotional regulation, and acceptance in addition to improved sensory-perceptual processing and attentional regulation skills.
With effective implementation of mindfulness strategies, you are better capable to manage cognitive, affective, and behavioral challenges that are related to stuttering. Experienced speech-language pathologists will always recommend guided meditation as an effective strategy.
Prior to the implementation of fluency shaping techniques, some experts recommend trying out mindfulness meditation. Practicing mindfulness meditation techniques regularly will reduce physical tension and breathe easier. Rather than fighting it, mindfulness helps those who have stuttering issues to be self-aware and accept your challenges.
This is most helpful when done with a speech pathologist specializing in stuttering therapy.
Lori Melnitsky is a speech pathologist and mindset/business coach.
For more information please email Lori@allislandspeech.com
or call 516-776-0184