Covert Stuttering: Different Ways To Deal With It

shampAbout the author: My name is Jill Shamp and I am originally from New York.  My family and I moved to Florida when I was three years old.  I have been working as a teacher assistant for the past nine years with pre-schoolers in Broward County School District.  I taught kindergarten and first grade at two different charter schools in South Florida and I am certified to teach prekindergarten through third grade.  I go to speech therapy once a week.

Before I started going to speech therapy I had been a covert stutterer.  I was very quiet in front of family members, in front of faculty members that I work with, and my friends.  It was difficult making friends because I did not like to stutter so therefore, I did anything to hide my stuttering by not talking, leaving the room, or not going out.  I started speech therapy, August of 2012 and it is beneficial for me, but occasionally I still have times where I am afraid to talk to other people because I do not want to stutter or have them think that I cannot communicate correctly.

I have learned different strategies to use when I feel I stutter, which help me speak more fluently. Some of the strategies that I use are:

  • Easy onset when I talk slowly.  This helps me to a degree to have an easier time communicating.
  • “Slide-outs” because I can slide out of a word that I get stuck on when I have a stuttering moment, and it helps me to feel more relaxed.
  • Pausing also helps, because it gives me time to think of what I want to say and how to form my thoughts when I am with other people that I do not know as well.

Using these strategies helps me to have an easier time communicating, and it helps me at times to be less of a covert.

As a covert stutterer, speech therapy has made a great impact on me.  It gives me more confidence that I can communicate, even though I might stutter, by knowing and using different strategies.  Having a speech therapist who helps and is always there for me makes a big difference, because it gives me more self-esteem when I feel I am being a covert stutterer, to start  using my strategies, instead of hiding my stuttering. Using and practicing the strategies that I have been taught, helps me to deal with being a covert stutterer.

Having my parents come to a speech session in January of 2013 helped them to understand what I was doing in speech therapy and how they can help me with what I needed to work on. Some of the strategies that I showed to my parents that work for me include easy onset, “slide-outs”, and pausing.  I used those examples in different sentences that I demonstrated to my parents so they would be able to understand what I was doing if I had a moment that I was starting to stutter.

Before my mom came to a speech session in April of 2013, I wrote my mom a letter explaining the way I felt.  In the letter, I explained how she could help me with my speech so I can have a better relationship with her.  The speech session was focused on my mom understanding not to give me negative feedback about my speech.  I also told my mom that I would discontinue asking her for input on my speech.  As a matter of fact, I told her that I will take the responsibility of my action with my speech.  At the end of the speech session, I gave my mom the letter and we discussed it. Since that time, I have been opening up a little bit with her but I know it is going to be a process.

I am closer with my dad and it is easier for me to talk to him.  He does not tell me to slow down when I talk.  I was able to have a good relationship with him because he does not give me negative feedback about the way I talk.  My dad just came to the one speech session back in January with my mom so they could learn the different types of strategies that I have been working on in speech therapy.

I have used the “Personal Support Inventory” and the “Coping Survey Questionnaires” (CSQ), both developed by Lisa Scott (2012).  According to Lisa, The Personal Support Inventory helps the client become more aware of their social connections and who they are talking to and are open with. It allowed me to be open with myself and see who I can become closer to.

Another tool that I use is called “Coping Survey Questionnaire” (CSQ).  The CSQ teaches the client to become more aware of their thoughts and their nonverbal behaviors in different situations.  This helped me to reflect and describe the way I was feeling and thinking at that time.

Another strategy involves recognizing and changing cognitive distortions which helps with the way a person feels about themselves. Cognitive distortion helps to focus on different areas that you might feel negative about.  For example, I use the eCBT Mood application, which I downloaded for US $0.99 (www.mymindapps.com).  It has helped me become less negative and pinpoint the cognitive distortions that I am using, such as labeling, mental filter, all or nothing, jumping to conclusions, and discounting the positives (http://addictions.about.com/od/overcomingaddiction/tp/cognitive_distortions.htm).  There are many more cognitive distortions that a person can have. Knowing what they are, can help the person better understand themselves.

Being an effective communicator involves focusing on nonverbal communication such as sitting up straight, not slouching and good eye contact.  This shows the other person that you are involved and are interested in what they are saying.  I am currently working on my voice inflection which is challenging for me.  Using specific vocabulary is very important to help avoid using filler words that I use, such as “ummm, ahhh, you know, like…”

My advice to others who are dealing with covert stuttering is to use a combination of speech tools and cognitive strategies.  I feel that, it is beneficial when a person uses different types of speech tools that work for them.  Not everyone uses the same strategies because everyone is unique and different.  The important thing is to try different activities to help you think about how you relate to stuttering and how it affects you in daily life situations. Overall, it is a process dealing with covert stuttering that takes time, patience, and reflection.

I became a covert stutterer because I was embarrassed about the way I talked and worried that people would judge me.  Before I started speech therapy, it was challenging for me to make friends and be out in the public because I was embarrassed with the way I talked.  At times, I felt that people were watching the way I spoke and it made me not want to talk and just keep quiet.  That was why I decided to keep to myself so then people could not judge me on the way I communicated.  My family members understand that I stutter and they accept me for who I am.  To this day, I am quiet at times in front of my family because I wish I could communicate and be fluent like everyone else.  At times, I still wish I could hide, but I am trying not to be a covert stutterer.  Getting help from my wonderful speech therapist has helped me to move forward in this process.

References

Lisa Scott, NSA, 2012 (Personal Support Inventory, Coping Survey Questionnaire)

http://addictions.about.com/od/overcomingaddiction/tp/cognitive_distortions.htm

www.mymindapps.com

Comments

Covert Stuttering: Different Ways To Deal With It — 187 Comments

  1. Hi Jill,
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I enjoyed hearing about your therapy sessions and that your parents were involved. Your support system and their response to your speech makes a huge difference! It’s nice to hear that you are having such a good experience with your therapist and are showing so much improvement. As a SLP grad student it’s always helpful to hear what techniques have worked in therapy!
    Thanks!
    Emma

    • Hi Emma,

      Thank you for reading my paper. The techniques that work for me are slide-outs, easy-onsets,and pausing. It also helps to have an amazing speech therapist that is always there for me.

      Jill

  2. Hi Jill!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am a graduate student studying to be a speech-language pathologist and I am currently enrolled in a fluency course. I appreciate you sharing the multiple strategies that you found to be helpful for you, as these may be helpful to other individuals who stutter. I think it is great that you brought your parents to a speech session and that they could further learn about stuttering and help them understand you as an individual. I’m so glad that after this session you have been able to open up with your parents more and that they can help you with your strategies. I was very interested in learning about the eCBT Mood application, as I have never heard of this app before. Did your speech therapist encourage you to utilize this app? It is so encouraging to hear about your positive experiences with speech therapy. If you could give any advice to speech-language pathologists or future speech-language pathologists who may work with a person who stutters, what would it be? Good luck to you!

    Diana

    • Hi Diana,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I see a therapist and he showed me about the eCBT Mood app. The app is very helpful because it helps me to see how I am feeling on a given day. One advice that I would give to speech pathologists is to build a rapport with their clients. I have an amazing and wonderful speech therapist that is always there for me.

      Jill

  3. Hi Jill,
    Thank you for sharing your story and describing the techniques you use in speech therapy. I am a graduate student in speech-language pathology and I really appreciate your input on what you felt improved your stuttering. These are definitely things I will keep in mind when dealing with covert stuttering in the future. From the techniques you’ve mentioned, what do you feel has benefited you the most? Was it the easy onset, pausing or slide-outs? Did you feel having your parents learn about the strategies you use in therapy to be most helpful?
    Thanks again for sharing,
    Chaya N.

    • Hi Chaya,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. The techniques such as pausing, easy-onsets, and slide-outs help me. It also help me for my parents to come in to see what I do in speech therapy.

      Jill

  4. Hi Jill,

    I love how you are gaining power over your stuttering! Also, I think that it was definitely a good idea for your parents to come to a therapy session to gain more insight into what you have been going through, as well as how they have contributed to and dealt with your stuttering and how you guys can improve your relationships.

    I am not a PWS, but I do suffer from presentation anxiety. Whenever I have to present in front of a large group of people the covert behaviors I feel are anxiety, nervousness, as well as embarrassment. You mentioned, “At times, I felt that people were watching the way I spoke and it made me not want to talk and just keep quiet.” That’s exactly how I feel when I present, except that people are literally watching me. Whenever I look into the audience I’m wondering, “What are they thinking,” “How do I sound,” etc. The more that I have these miscellaneous thoughts, the more I begin to stumble over my words and lose my thought process. I am currently in graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology and I have to present in almost every class. The more presentations I give and the more that I prepare myself the less anxious I feel, but those underlying feelings are still present. I may have to try the eCBT Mood App that you mentioned.

    When you mentioned that people should “try different activities to help you think about how you relate to stuttering and how it affects you in daily life activities,” I felt that you really touched on something crucial. Similar to asking yourself how stuttering affects you in daily life situations, I can ask myself, “How does my anxiety of public speaking affect other aspects of my life?” Once I work on one domain, then presenting may start to be a little easier.

    Just a quick question; Are the “Personal Support Inventory” and the “Coping Survey Questionnaire (CSQ) primarily for PWS or are they general tools that anyone can use? I feel that I can definitely use these with clients in future therapy sessions

    Thanks again for sharing your amazing story.

    - Stefanie Hicks

    • Hi Stefanie,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. The person who created the coping survey questionnaire and the personal inventory is Lisa Scott, SLP at FSU (Florida State University). She developed these tools. I don’t know if they are available to the public but she presented them at an SLP conference. Hope this helps.

      Jill

  5. Hi Jill,
    Thank you for sharing your amazing story. I am currently a speech pathology grad student, and I found your story inspiring. Thank you for sharing the specific techniques that you implement, such as easy-onsets and slide-outs. I was curious if you utilize these techniques interchangeably daily or do you find that some days one technique works better over another? I was also grateful to learn about the cognitive distortions and web sites/apps available to assist with this. I was curious if you have found that management or coping of covert features of stuttering helps with the overt features? Thank you again for sharing your story!

    Jen C.

    • Hi Jen C,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper that I wrote. Some days easy-onsets work and other days slide-outs work. I am still a covert stutter versus overt. I hope that one day I will be an overt stutter. I am glad I go to speech therapy once a week.

      Jill

  6. Jill,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I, as well as many of the other readers am in graduate school studying to become a speech and language pathologist. I find that hearing personal stories like yours is one of the best ways we can learn about stuttering, as it is still rather “mysterious” and is heterogenous in nature. Through you story, you give us a glimpse of the struggles you have gone through and the different strategies and tools you have found to help you overcome these struggles. As a future SLP, your story is invaluable, as it it taught me different techniques that have helped you and one day may help a future client of mine.

    Thanks again,
    Kristen

    • Hi Kristen,

      Thank you for taking the tine to read my paper. Thank you for the nice comment.

      Jill

  7. Hello Jill,

    I wanted to thank you for sharing your story and feelings with us in this paper. I do not stutter myself, but I can relate to what you wrote about being afraid or uncomfortable when talking to other people. I think many of us can. I feel like many times people are afraid that they will be judged or that people will think that they aren’t the best communicators even if they do not stutter. I used to be very shy just for this reason. I also had a lisp when I was younger and I was uncomfortable talking to strangers because I thought they would judge me. Even today, I’m afraid that I may say the wrong thing to someone and they will think differently of me. So hearing about your feelings and covert actions was very interesting.

    I wanted to ask you how much your covert stuttering has changed since you started therapy? Do you find that you are more open with others and speaking? How many of the covert characteristics or actions do you still find yourself displaying? And do you find that you monitor yourself more now? How does this affect your speech?

    Once again, I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience and your tips.

    Eva C.

    • Hi Eva,

      Thank you for reading my paper. Even though, I go to speech I am still a covert. I tend to be by myself on the weekends so I do not feel that I am going to stutter. At times, I am open and at times I am a covert and keep to myself. It depends on the situation. I do not have an answer of how many characteristics that I do are covert traits. I use the skills but it can be difficult when I do not want to stutter. I feel comfortable with my speech therapist. My speech therapist is just amazing.

      Jill

      • Thank you for your reply. I’m so happy to hear that your speech therapist has made such an impact in your life and that you speak so well of him or her. I know it’s hard to identify when you actually display covert traits because it really does depend on the situation. This is true for so many things. It’s probably also more difficult when you are thinking about not stuttering. I wish you continued success inside and outside of therapy.

  8. Your story has reached Oslo, Norway. I have read your story with great interest, and I have also forwarded your contribution to some SLP students who like to know more about covert stuttering. Thank you so much! Best wishes from Hilda Sønsterud (SLP)

    • Hi Hilda,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so glad that you liked the paper.

      Jill

  9. Hi Jill,
    Thank you for sharing your experience and describing what it feels like to be a covert stutterer. I look up to you as you are able to open up your inner world to other people and share your feelings. I’m sure it isn’t easy. As many of the readers who commented above, I study speech-language pathology in graduate school. In one of your answers you said that your one advice to a speech-language pathologist would be to establish rapport with the client. I was wondering if you can elaborate on that and say what made you feel comfortable with your speech-language pathologist? Also, what actions/reactions of people around you made it difficult for you to communicate?
    Thank you,
    Chana

    • Hi Chana,

      Thank you for reading my paper. It is important for the client to feel comfortable with their speech therapist. For example, I feel extremely comfortable with my speech therapist that I can share anything that is bothering me. It makes a difference so I can’t keep things inside of me. It is easy for me to express my thoughts to my amazing speech therapist. She is just wonderful!!!! It is difficult for me to communicate with faculty members at work and at times family members.

      Jill

  10. Hi Jill,

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience and story with us in your paper. I immediately gravitated to your paper because your title appealed to me instantly. I’m extremely curious in covert stuttering and eager to learn more about it. As many of the other commenters have previously mentioned, I too am a graduate student studying speech- language pathology. i am presently in a fluency class his semester and within the first few weeks we learned about covert/overt stuttering. I had no idea that about 90% of stuttering is actually covert and only about 10% is considered overt. We have yet to talk about treatment techniques and strategies in my class, but your paper mentioned a few strategies right in the beginning so now I feel a little bit ahead. Thank you!!
    While reading your paper, I actually searched what exactly “easy onset and slide outs” were. You also mentioned that pausing helps you think about what you have to say before you actually say it. I personally am not a stutterer, but I don’t like talking around big groups of people either and I noticed that this strategy helps me with my nerves. I thought your article was concise and straight to the point, which I really enjoyed. It was an easy read, and one of the most interesting papers I have read, thus far. In your short paper, I was able to grasp the overall concept fairly easy and remain interested at the same time. In addition, you explained what the coping questionnaire and Personal Support Inventory were and how they have helped you personally. Furthermore, you mentioned that speech therapy has been extremely beneficial for you and that you really like your speech therapist, which is always satisfying to hear as a possible future therapist. you mentioned in your paper that your relationships have become stronger/ closer since you have learned these coping strategies, which is really great. I think it is awesome that you had both your parents attend a therapy session in order for them to better understand your stuttering and how it affects you. I really loved how you mentioned that although these specific strategies have been beneficial for you, not everyone is the same unique and there are other strategies that may work better for others. Finally, the fact that you mentioned that “it is process dealing with covert stuttering” already demonstrates a huge amount of maturity on your part, that take some people years to achieve.You seem to have a positive attitude and be extremely motivated, so I hope that you continue to receive speech therapy and use the tools you learn in real life situations. Thank you for sharing your story. Your paper was truly enjoyable to read!!

    Questions?

    Why did you wait so long to go to therapy for your stuttering?

    Does your stuttering negatively impact your teaching in any way?

    Since receiving speech therapy, have you noticed a change in yourself? For example, the way you view stuttering, how others judge your stuttering?

    Is your stuttering severe? Does is prevent you from doing things/ activities on a daily basis?

    What type of negative feedback does your mom give you about your speech?

    • Hi Jocelyn,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so glad that you liked the paper. My parents wanted me to go to a therapist that knows about stuttering and someone told us about my speech therapist that I see. My speech therapist is amazing and wonderful. I do not have my own classroom so I do not know whether my stuttering affects me negatively. Since going to speech therapy I feel better getting the help. It is difficult at times but that is why I have a speech therapist. I know that people still judge me. My stuttering is not severe but it can prevent me from being around people, having friends, and wanting to be by myself. My mom says nothing about my speech. Thank you again for reading the paper.

      Jill

  11. Jill,
    Thank you for sharing your story and the techniques that you have tried. As a clinician I am very interested in hearing about ways to help my clients in getting the most out of therapy. I think that writing that letter was a great way to ease into exposing your stutter. I tried something similar with a client of mine who has a stutter. How do you feel now? Do you feel as if you have fully accepted your stutter?

    Best Wishes,
    Nicole

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. It was difficult writing this paper but I still did it. I know I still stutter and I work on it each and everyday. It is difficult to accept stuttering. I wanted to share what a covert does.

      Jill

  12. Hi Jill,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I can relate, as I was a covert about my stuttering for over 30 years. I did everything I could to try and hide the fact that I stuttered, as I was ashamed and fearful of negative reactions, like I had got when I was young and first started stuttering.
    I say I tried to hide my stuttering – it wasn’t always successful, but I thought it was because I, nor anyone else in my world, ever talked about stuttering. It lead to a very lonely existence for me. I had very few friends, rarely volunteered for anything in school and took a backseat at work, missing many opportunities.
    It sounds like you have made great strides in a short time and have a good relationship with your speech therapist.
    I only had 6 months of therapy as a child – in 3rd grade – and then never again until a few years ago, in my early 40’s. It was then that I decided I had had enough of trying to hide my true self and went looking for support. Unfortunately, I did not have a good therapy experience even then, as the therapists (I had a different one every semester for two years) were trying to have me work on fluency targets and that’s really not what I wanted. I really wanted help in affirming that I was OK the way I was and that I could be accepting of myself, stutter and all.
    Even though our stories are different, I can relate to the covert behaviors. Kudos to you for working on it so early and for sharing your success with us.
    -Pam

  13. Hi Jill,
    I am also a graduate student studying communications disorders and reading numerous papers on ISAD has been a great way for me to learn about stuttering so thank you for sharing your story. It is great to hear that you are having a positive experience in speech therapy and that you have found a therapist that you have connected with. Also thank you for discussing some of the strategies that you have found helpful since you started therapy. Before reading your story I was not privy to the “Personal Support Inventory” and the “Coping Survey Questionnaires”. In addition, you mentioned cognitive behavior therapy as a strategy that has been helpful in terms of stuttering. Do you also see a cognitive therapist and if so how helpful has it been in terms of your stuttering? Thank you again for sharing your story.
    Kirstie P.

    • Hi Kirstie,

      Thank you for reading my paper. I see a cognitive therapist and the app is very helpful and my speech therapist also does stuff with cognitive therapy in speech therapy to help me. Having a wonderful and amazing speech therapist helps with the stuttering. I have her to talk to.

      Jill

  14. Hi Jill!
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with covert stuttering. I think it is great that you were able to include your family in your therapy session and work on those relationships as part of your therapy. I am a second year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology. I am currently working with one client on stuttering and I was wondering if you have any suggestions or tips for beginning to address feelings, emotions, and behaviors in therapy? I would like to introduce this with my client because I believe it would be beneficial to talk about how he reacts to his own stuttering and how it makes him feel when he stutters. Do you think it would be better to address this for about 5-10 minutes per session or just spend the whole session talking about attitudes and feelings? I don’t want my client to feel nervous or embarrassed, but open to talking about his stuttering. Thanks for sharing your story and I look forward to your response!

    Marissa

    • Hi Marissa,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. As a client, it’s been helpful to address feelings and emotions with activities, such as the coping survey questionnaire and the personal support inventory as mentioned in the article. I would spend 10 minutes or so and discuss this activity and then work on different strategies. We still do it to this day.

      Jill

  15. Jill,
    I enjoyed reading your paper and learning about your experiences! I believe it is extremely important to involve the parents and family in therapy for PWS. I think it is wonderful that your parents attended therapy with you to see the techniques you had been learning! Are there other ways that the family can be helpful? Is there anything the family can do to make therapy more beneficial for the PWS?

    Thank you!
    Kaitlan Bryan

    • Hi Kaitlan,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am glad that my parents were able to see what a speech session was like for me. As of this time I do not know of anything else tlhat the family can do to make therapy beneficial for the PWS. I have an amazing speech therapist who is wonderful. I love going to speech because it helps a lot.

      Jill

  16. Hi, Jill:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with stuttering. I am a graduate student at LIU Brooklyn. You mentioned that you continue to go to speech therapy and developed some techniques to avoid covert stutter on your paper, Could you tell me which techniques you think works better for you and why? Also, have you ever attended stuttering support groups?

    • Hi,

      Thank you for reading my paper. The techniques that have helped me are slide-outs, easy-onsets, pausing, doing coping survey questionnaire, and the personal support inventory. I attend a support group once a month.

      Jill

  17. Hi Jill,

    Thanks for sharing your story. You mention numerous times that having a speech therapist who is there for you has been very important. As a future speech therapist, I would love to know more specifically the types of things she does (in addition to teaching you strategies)to support you. I’m assuming you mean she takes time to listen to you, encourages you, etc… anything specific that you can share with us? Our professor talks a lot about building a relationship with the client, so I’m interested in hearing what that means from a client’s perspective.

    Thanks!
    Amy

    • Hi Amy,

      Thank you for reading my paper. As mentioned in my paper, it is important to have a good rapport with your speech therapist. It is easy to be open with my speech therapist. I love that I can talk to her about anything that is bothering me.

      Jill

  18. Hi Jill,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am currently in graduate school to become a speech-language pathologist and it is very inspiring to hear about your success with speech therapy. It is refreshing to read about how therapy has not only helped with your fluency, but also with the relationship with your parents. Your story reminds me of why I’ve chosen to go into this field, to help bring people together. I am interested to learn more about your past so that I can have a better understanding. At what age did you begin to stutter? Did you ever receive speech therapy as a child? If no, why not? When did you begin covert stuttering?

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Vickie Woodall, Graduate Student
    California State University, Fullerton

    • Hi Vickie,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. Honestly I do not remember the age that I started to stutter. I received speech therapy in elementary and middle school for language but not for stuttering. I was supposed to go to speech therapy in high school but I did not like the speech therapist so I did not go in high school. My fret year in college I had speech ltherapy but I really did not want to go because I did not like the therapist. The therapist that I see she is amazing and wonderful. She helps me and is always there for me. I love going to speech. Honestly, I think the last few years I began being a covert stutter and at times I am a covert stutter. I am getting the help from my best and wonderful speech therapist that I admire.

      Jill

      • Jill,

        I’m happy to hear that you finally found a speech therapist that you admire and have a good relationship with. It seems that in the past you had a difficult time with finding the right therapist, and that affected the outcome/progression of therapy. This is a perfect reminder of how important it is to build a good relationship with my future clients. Thanks again Jill! :)

        Vickie

  19. Jill,
    I am a graduate student studying communicative disorders, and am currently taking a fluency course. It is very interesting to hear the story of a “covert stutterer”, because we are normally exposed to the extreme cases of stuttering. I especially appreciate the strategies you have shared that have helped you to become a more confident speaker, these are techniques that I will try to implement with future clients. My question is about your students; as a covert stutterer, have they been accepting to your disfluencies? Is it easier for you to speak in front of your students rather than in front of colleagues, peers, and family? Also, have you ever had a student who stuttered and were able to share your tips/techniques with that student?

    Thank you for sharing your experience; it provided me great insight and information!
    Chelsea Nigbur

    • Hi Chelsea,

      Thank you for reading my paper. The students that I taught were either kindergarten, first, or prek. They were not old to understand about disfluencies or stuttering. I know I do not talk well but the students understand me. I do not do that much talking because I am a teacher assistant. It is difficult to talk to faculty and my family at times. I haven’t had students that I taught stutter. I am still a covert in many ways but it is a process and takes a lot of work. I have a great and amazing speech therapist that I see. I love going to speech.

      Jill

  20. Jill,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I am a graduate student in the field of speech-language pathology and was curious about different strategies. Other than the strategies that you mentioned, what other strategies have you tried? I think it is wonderful that your parents are supportive. Other than family, have you thought about joining support groups and meeting other people who stutters?

    Thanks,
    Linda

    • Hi Linda,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. Other than the strategies in my paper I have tried inflections, vocabulary, and body language. I go to the support group once a month.

      Jill

  21. Hi Jill,

    Thank you for posting such an interesting story. I had learned about covert stuttering in class but I never really understood what it was. Your story provided me with clarification and insight into what covert stuttering really is. From reading your story, I get the feeling that being a covert stutterer really took a toll on your emotions for a long time. I am happy for you that you are comfortable with your SLP and are enjoying therapy! I am happy that you are feeling more comfortable speaking now.

    Megan

    • Hi Megan,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. Being a covert stutter still takes a toll on me at times. I am so lucky to have such an amazing and wonderful speech therapist who cares a lot about me. I love going to speech.

      Jill

  22. Hi Jill!

    Thank you so much for sharing your own personal story and experiences with stuttering. I am an SLP graduate student and am currently taking a fluency course. I also have about 4 clients who stutter, and after reading your paper, I feel like I have some new techniques I can try with my clients. Do you have any additional advice for new clinicians who are working with people who stutter? Thanks!

    Ferren

    • Hi Ferren,

      Thank you for reading my paper. I am not a SLP, as a client I find that a good relationship is important to have with the therapist. Another one is the summary of the session and also getting homework.

      Jill

  23. Hello Jill!
    Thank you for sharing your story of covert stuttering! As a graduate student in speech language pathology, I found your article to be inspirational as well as informational. As a student, it is useful to hear a client’s perspective with insights into what they feel is beneficial and vital to their success. In the comments you mentioned that it was important for clinicians to build rapport with clients. Do you have any other tips for speech therapists that work with clients who stutter? Also, you mentioned that “you were embarrassed about the way you talked and worried that people would judge you.” Is there anything a communicator could do to decrease those emotions? If so, what do you think would decrease your embarrassment and perception of others judging you?

    • Hi,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am not a SLP, but as a client it is important to have a good relationship with the therapist. It is important for the client to be able to talk to their therapist about anything. I use this app which is the eCBT mood which helps me to determine how I am on a given day. I am working on not being negative but it is a process and it helps me to see where I am at and feeling each day. It also helps having an amazing and wonderful speech therapist,

      Jill

  24. Hey Jill,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really enjoyed getting to learn the things that you appreciated and learned in therapy that were very helpful and applicable to your life. Do you have any advice or anything that you specifically did when giving the letters to your parents to ensure that they would be understanding and not become defensive? As a future speech therapist, I think that that was a great idea and really seemed to open a door of understanding with your parents that was not there before.

    Again thank you!

    • Hi,

      Thank you for reading my paper. I did not write my dad a paper because he did not come to a session alone. I just wrote the paper to my mom and for some odd reason I decided to give her the letter right before the session ended. It was a hard session but with my amazing speech therapist help it made a difference. My speech therapist is just wonderful.

      Jill

  25. Hi Jill,

    I am so glad that I read your paper. Thank you for sharing your story. As a future SLP in graduate school, I was pleased to read about what a positive effect that speech therapy had on your life. What do you find most enjoyable about therapy and what technique has been the most beneficial for you? I hope to make my future clients feel as supported and comfortable with me as you do with your speech therapist. Thank you again.

    Best,
    Amy

    • Hi Amy,

      Thank yoi for reading my paper. The most enjoyable thing about speech therapy is seeing my speech therapist and being able to talk to her about anything that is bothering me. The technique that has been beneficial for me is pausing.

      Jill

  26. Hi Jill,

    Thank you for sharing your story and the journey you’ve been on! I am a grad student, studying to be an SLP and hearing personal stories like yours just reaffirms my decision to enter this field. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you as you lived your life as a covert stutterer. Your perspective and outlook inspires me! In your story, the hardest part to read was the affect on your relationship with your mother. I hope that the lines of communication between the two of you is better these days and that she is able to allow you to speak freely, fluently or otherwise!

    One question: Do you feel that your techniques work better at certain times?

    • Hi Lindsey,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper about covert stutter. My techniques work better when I am in speech therapy. I get nervous in front of faculty members and even at times in ftont of family members. I have an amazing speech therapist who is always there for me.

      Jill

  27. Hi Jill,
    Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate you sharing your personal journey in dealing with covert stuttering. You had mentioned that you were very quiet in front of family members and faculty members that you work with. Since you have gained more confidence and self-esteem through working with your speech therapist and the involvement of your parents in therapy, would you benefit from opening up to your faculty members about your covert stuttering so that you can feel that they accept you for who you are also, or do you want to continue practicing on your techniques and do not feel a need to share with anyone at work?
    Kellene

    • Hi Kellene,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper about covert stutter. With faculty members and people in the office I am quiet with because I do not want to stutter and not talk correctly in front of people I do not know. At times, I am quiet in front of family members. I feel comfortable talking to my speech therapist. My speech therapist is amazing and wonderful.

      Jill

  28. Jill,
    I am very happy that you like your speech therapist now. I smile just reading that. I only hope to be as great of an SLP as your SLP, and hope to impact someone’s life the same way she has done in your life. I do have a few questions.
    You answered a question earlier and stated that “My mom says nothing about my speech, and in the paper you wrote that “The speech session was focused on my mom understanding not to give me negative feedback about my speech. I also told my mom that I would discontinue asking her for input on my speech.” Would your mom tell you anything when you asked her for input, if so what did she say? Before your mother came to the session, did she previously give you negative feedback?
    How long are you once a week sessions?
    You say that you really like your SLP now, have you had any other good SLPs?
    You have stated in a response to someone that you had other SLPs. What were things that you did not like about those SLPs? Why did you not go and see the speech therapist when you were in high school, what about her did you not like? Were you supposed to see her for stuttering or for language?
    Do you have anybody else in your life, besides your family that is supportive?
    Do you think that your stuttering has held you back in life, or have you achieved what you have wanted to?
    How did the principal, and the teacher you work with first react when they found out you stutter?
    Did you use any techniques to help you before you went to speech therapy?
    Alisha Weaver

    • Hi Alisha,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. Before I started speech I would be told to slow down when I would talk. That got me annoyed. I am not to ask my mom anything about the way I talk. It has help to tell her things. I go to speech therapy once a week. In schools when I went to speech it was for language. It was not the same as having a speech therapist that I can talk to about my problems. It is difficult for me to tell the principals that I work with or faculty that I stutter. I haven’t learned techniques for stutteting until I started speech. I see an amazing and wonderful speech therapist that cares. I love going to speech.

      Jill

  29. Thank you for sharing this! I am currently a second year graduate student at Idaho State University. I have been looking for techniques to help my client’s who stutter. I found this paper very helpful and hope to use these techniques in my practice some day.
    Thank you!
    Jamie Heiberger
    Idaho State University Graduate Student

    • Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper that I wrote. I am so glad that you liked it.

      Jill

  30. Hey Jill,

    First of all, I’d like to just thank you for sharing your story. I didn’t realize just how much loved ones played a role in impacting the way a person stutters. I’m learning so much from my course now and from reading articles like yours, and I am grateful for that. I can’t imagine how you felt every time you want to say something, but thought twice about saying it, or felt like you couldn’t get the words out.

    Looking back, I can remember how frustrated my ex-boyfriend would get with me every time I would finish his sentences, or tell him to slow down when he spoke. I truly believed, at the time, that I was helping him, but I now realized that I was doing the opposite. I try to encourage him to seek help from a speech therapists due to his personal feelings about his stutter, but he never seemed interested in doing so. Hopefully one day, he’ll be able to accept his stutter and live a happier life.

    I’m glad you were able to change your attitude about your stutter. My hope is that people become more knowledgeable about stuttering and individuals who stutter so that they may have a change of attitude (and behaviors) as well. Thanks again for sharing your story.

    Edly V. (victorie)

  31. Hi Jill,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. As a Speech-Language Pathology graduate student I found it both inspirational and informative. It is wonderful to hear of the progress that you have made over the last year. Reading about your family’s involvement in your therapy session was beneficial for me as a future clinician. I think it is important that family members understand their role in the therapy process. I applaud you for all the hard work you have taken with your communication. I have a couple of questions, and would love your perspective as both a speech therapy client and elementary teacher… I was in a referral meeting for a kindergarten student the other day that has a severe stutter. His mom was very hesitant about him receiving speech therapy because she didn’t want him to feel any different, or think something was wrong with him. I understood her concerns as a mother, but was also concerned because he was already showing signs of decreased communication in the classroom. Being a PWS and also a teacher is there any advice that you would give to this family? Also is there any advice that you would give to any PWS about starting speech therapy?

    Thanks!!
    Elizabeth
    Graduate Clinician

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so glad you liked it. I am sorry but I do not know what to say because I am not a kindergarten teacher at this time and I am not a SLP so it is a hard question for me to answer.

      Jill

  32. Hi Jill,

    I wanted to thank you for sharing your story and road to recovery, you are truly inspirational! I am a SLP graduate student and loved to read about the therapy techniques and strategies you found helpful. Hearing your personal struggles and how speech allowed you to overcome them really reminds me how lucky I am to be in this field. I found the way your SLP involved your parents through out your recovery process was an extremely important, and smart decision to make. I know covert stuttering is not overly talked about and I am so fortunate to be able to place a story with the term covert stuttering. As a graduate student I was wondering if you found any one tool or strategy more helpful than others?

    Brittani Toma
    SLP Graduate Student
    Kean University

    • Hi Brittani,

      Thank you for reading my paper. I am so happy that you liked it. I found the CSQ which is the coping survey questionnaire very useful because it helped me to determine what I was so I can work on body language and try not to be hard on myself. The personal support inventory was helpful.

      Jill

  33. Jill,

    Your story is inspiring. Thank you for sharing! After reading your paper, I am very interested in the dynamic between you and your parents. The fact you and your speech therapist brought them into sessions is a wonderful idea and certainly provides more foundational support in your life. I find the letter to your mom quite empowering. Is there a plan for possible further follow up with your mom attending more therapy sessions?

    Thanks for your time!
    Jessica

    • Hi Jessica,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so glad that you liked it. There is no plan for my mom to come to another session.

      Jill

  34. Hi Jill, thank you for sharing your story. I am currently a graduate student studying speech language pathology and your story has helped me better understand what it means to be a covert stutterer. I think you are so brave! Your honesty is inspiring and I appreciate you opening up to all of us about your experiences with stuttering. Your story is a reminder that it is never too late to change your attitudes.

    Best Wishes
    Lindsey

    • Hi Lindsey,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so glad that you liked it so much. I am still a covert but I am working on it with my amazing speech therapist who is just wonderful. I love going to speech once a week.

      Jill

  35. Ms. Shamp,

    Thank you for sharing your story! I am a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. I am studying to become a speech language pathologist and I am enrolled in a course that focuses on stuttering intervention. It is inspiring to hear about how you are growing to accept your stutter. In addition, your relationship with your speech clinician motivates me to be an effective listener and supporter for my future clients. I hope to have the same impact on my clients’ lives as your SLP has had on your life. What was it about your speech clinician that allowed her to have such a positive effect on your life? Do you have any advice that would assist me in having the same impact on my clients’ lives?

    Thank you,

    Anna Schuman
    University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

    • Hi Anna,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I so happy that you liked it so much. My speech therapist made a positive impact on my life because she is always there for me. I can be open with her and tell her anything that is bothering me. She listens to me and it is important. I feel I can say anything to her because it is easier for me to talk to her. I love going to speech therapy once a week and I never dread it going. My speech therapist is just amazing and wonderful. It is important for a speech therapist to be there for their client. Hope this helps.

      Jill

  36. Hi Jill,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story! Your willingness to express your fears and hurdles was humbling. I especially appreciated your openness in revealing the growth of the relationships with your family members. The letter you wrote to your mom was courageous and inspiring. Your story has encouraged me to listen to my client’s questions and concerns and affirm each and every one of them.

    Thank you,
    Marika R
    ISU SLP Graduate Student

    • Hi Marika,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so happy that you liked the paper so much.

      Jill

  37. Your experiences seem to have gotten you many responses and inquiries, so I won’t bother you with anymore questions.  I just wanted to tell you thank you for sharing what you’ve been through on your journey. I was happy to read in your remarks that you have been working on a balance between being more comfortable with sharing who you are regardless of the chance of stuttering and also working on finding the techniques that will help to lesson the intensity of the moments when you do stutter. Also, thank you for sharing a little bit about how you feel as a person who stutters in your family. I think for myself, that would be very hard to talk about, but your words may help so many others feel a little less alone in when it comes to the very personal side of stuttering. Thank you.
    -AH

    • Hi AH,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so happy that you liked the paper.

      Jill

  38. Hi Jill,

    What a lovely paper, you sound like such a warm dignified person. I could really identify with a lot of what you said. I am a covert who has been trying for the past 8 years to be less covert. I am getting there but there are still times when I find myself falling into my old ways, such as when I am around people who know me as a fluent person.
    I too found support from my SLT and family absolutely essential to me making positive changes in my speech and my attitiude to it.
    thank you for sharing your story
    Veronica

    I know

    • Hi Veronica,

      Thank you for taking time to read my paper. I am so happy that you like it. I am still a covert stutter but it is a process. I have a wonderful speech therapist that cares and is always there for me.

      Jill

  39. Hi Jill! Thank you for sharing your story and perspective. I am curious as to when you began stuttering and what the progression was? How does stuttering affect you in your work setting, if at all?

    Karine Maynard
    Graduate Student, Idaho State University

    • Hi Karine,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so happy that you like it. I am began stuttering as I got into my 20s and I always wanted to go to speech therapy but my parents needed to find someone that did and last August of 2012 I went to an amazing and wonderful speech therapist. I am quiet at work and I would do anything not to go in the office because I have a fear that I will stutter.

      Jill

  40. Hi Ms. Shamp,
    I am currently a graduate student at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. I was wondering what first prompted you to seek speech therapy after being a “covert stutterer” for so long. I am also curious to know what of the most helpful techniques your SLP used in helping you to begin to communicate in a more open way after being a covert stutterer. I feel like that would have been a very difficult and brave thing for you to do, and I am very interested to know how she helped you make such a huge step.
    Thanks so much!
    Jessy

    • Hi Jessy,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I am so happy that you liked it. I wanted to go to speech so bad for a while bur my parents wanted to find the right speech therapist for me and they did. I love going to speech considering I am a covert stutter. It is a process. It is difficult at work because I do not want to stutter so I am quiet and I do not like to go to the office.

      Jill

  41. Hi Jill,

    Thank you for opening up with us and sharing your story! Having support from your family is a big part of being able to deal with the challenge of stuttering. I commend you for having the courage to write all your feelings out in a letter to your mom. That is such a difficult thing to do. I am so glad you have support from your dad and progress with your mom. I am interested, how has your stutter affected your career? Has your speech therapist addressed any issues specifically regarding your job?

    Thanks again for sharing with us!

    Haley Lounsbury
    Idaho State University Graduate Student

    • Hi Haley,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. My stuttering does not affect my job but it is difficult getting a real teaching job because I do not talk well in interviews but my speech therapist and I practice. My speech therapist is amazing and wonderful. I love going to speech.

      Jill

  42. Hi Jill,

    First I’d like to thank you for writing and sharing your paper with us all. I applaud you in your brave decision to seek help in regards to your covert stuttering. I’m just curious about one thing. How did you manage to hide your stuttering for such a long time? I know this might be a personal question so I understand if you are not comfortable answering it. Thanks in advance.

    Paul Gutierrez

    • Hi Paul,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. Honestly, the way I hid my stuttering is personal. I am still a covert stutter but it is a process I am working on with my speech therapist.

      Jill