Fluency

Hi! My name is Tyler and I am an undergrad studying SLP. My question for PWS is did you find that your fluency increased as you aged? Like is it possible that a stutter can get better or worse as time goes by? Thank you!

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Fluency — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Tyler

    My stutter got less when I got older and cared less. But it still varies a lot, depending on where I am in life, depending on relationships, work, health, etc. Some years I was almost fluent, but Zoom events make me stutter more. 😉

    Stay safe and keep asking 🙂

    Anita Blom

  2. Thanks for the interesting question!

    I don’t think I’ve noticed a difference related to age itself, but the degree of my stuttering has been related to the different therapies I have participated in, the degree to which I have practiced techniques; and the types of situations, events, and stresses at different stages in my life.

    My speech generally worsened throughout my childhood and teenage years until about age 17. Then the first speech therapy that actually helped me (emphasizing block pullouts) enabled me to cut down the length of my frequent blocks that sometimes stretched to 45 seconds or longer.

    The stresses of college worsened my speech again, until age 21. Then I participated in my first fluency shaping program, and actually enjoyed some fantastic fluency in quite a few situations.
    There was steady improvement for a number of months, but all the successes eventually evaporated.

    After receiving my undergrad degree, I moved a thousand miles away (from central Massachusetts to Chicago) to begin graduate studies. The stresses of moving to a city where I knew no one at all were very tough on my speech, and it just completely collapsed. But a number of different fluency programs at the ages of 22-23 helped me to get back on the right track for a while. Fluency came back increasingly in various situations. But then it all collapsed again, as stresses in my graduate student life increased.

    I was quite disfluent from age 24 to age 30, and then tried again with another fluency shaping program – which this time gave me much success. I practiced techniques intensively and daily for a period of three months following the program, and eventually reached the point of being fluent in all situations!

    This lasted quite a few months, but eventually the fluency fell apart again.
    However, I returned for numerous fluency refreshers, and kept renewing my successes for varying periods of time. Indeed I spent about 16 years with intensively practicing these Precision Fluency Shaping techniques off-and-on, and enjoying many extended periods of consistent fluency.

    But in my mid-40’s, I decided I had enough of this – the efforts at maintaining fluency were just overwhelming. It was just so difficult to spend all the time I needed in practice (an hour a day!), and to monitor my techniques in all conversations.

    I finally decided to accept myself calmly and peacefully as a person who happens to stutter, and to simply accept myself as I am.
    At this point I gave up the quest to transform myself into a permanent consistently fluent speaker – and life became so much less stressful for me! From this point on, since about ages 47-48, I no longer had fluency periods. But I also no longer had the frustrating and disappointing relapses of fluency disappearing, all those fluency periods ending. My speech was now usually on an even keel, still with severe stuttering most of the time, but not with the wild ups and downs of the past. And I find that I can accept that. I loved the fluency of the past, but hated it when these fluency periods disappeared. Now I just simply accept my disfluency. It makes life so much simpler – and more peaceful!

    I’m now 66 years old, and have accepted my stuttering for about 18 years. There haven’t been wild ups and downs since I came to peaceful terms with the concept that I am indeed a person who stutters, and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future.

    So yes, there have been changes to my speech over the years. But the changes are not related directly to the aging process, as far as I can see.

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