Education and self help for people who stammer

Stammering Self-Empowerment Programme


In our online course, we provide you with extensive information about the nature and causes of stammering. We explain how secondary symptoms develop, and we discuss in detail the various factors that can make the condition better or worse. We also teach two types of fluency enhancing technique: “Orchestral Speech” and “The Jump”.

Orchestral speech

Orchestral speech, when employed properly results in instant fluency. In order for it to work in a particular speaking situation, you have to employ it right from the moment you start speaking an utterance. This technique is particularly useful in situations where it is important not to stammer. However, it does require some forethought and mental preparation, so it would not be realistic to try to employ it all of the time. The fluency it brings is instant, but temporary. In the long run it will not diminish your fear of stammering or the stammering iceberg.

It works by making you give a higher priority to maintaining the forward flow of speech than to maintaining a high degree of accuracy. When using the technique, your focus on maintaining the forward flow of speech prevents you from worrying too much about how accurately your words are coming out. This does not mean that your speech will necessarily sound sloppy or contain a lot of errors. However, it does mean that, if errors do occur, you have to keep going and complete what you are saying before going back to repair them.

In many ways, this technique is like playing an instrument in an orchestra: If you play a wrong note, you just have to ignore it and keep on going, because the highest priority is to keep in time with the conductor and the other musicians. 

While using ’Orchestral Speech’ you will tend not to block and your words will come out easily. However, this effect only occurs while you are using the technique. It is essentially a “fluency shaping” technique and, as such, has much in common with traditional fluency shaping techniques, such as ‘rhythmic speech’ and ‘prolonged speech’. However, compared to them, it does not sound quite as unnatural; it does not require you to speak rhythmically or to prolong your words. We not expect you to use this technique all the time.  Orchestral speech works best in situations where you are able to fully formulate the phrase you want to say before you start saying it, so it is especially useful and easy to employ when reading aloud, and when giving pre-prepared talks. It can also be used to a limited extent in spontaneous conversation, for example when repeating words or phrases that the listener has failed to understand the first time round.


A fuller explanation of what Orchestral Speech entails, together with free instructions on how to employ it, is available here


The Jump

The decisive factor in whether or not you feel like you have got your stammering under control is whether or not you have a technique that you are able to reliably employ at any time, in order to pull you out of your blockages, quickly and efficiently, without having to resort to the use of force. The Jump is just such a technique.

The Jump is based on an insight by Marcel Wingate: that stammering occurs primarily when you try to combine sounds together (i.e., during ‘co-articulation’). Importantly, no matter how severely a person stammers, he/she is almost always able to utter individual sounds in isolation.

Rather than struggling to produce the desired co-articulations, we teach you, when you get stuck, simply to abandon the co-articulation attempt and to articulate the next sound independently from the one you are currently having difficulty with. Once learned, it is very easy to do. It feels like jumping over the blocks, instead of trying to plough through them. The words that result don’t sound entirely ‘joined up’, but they are nevertheless usually very easy for the listener to understand. Importantly, by enabling you to start moving forward again, the ’jump’ remedial technique give you the control you need in order to develop confidence in your ability to say what you want to say when you want to say it. As this confidence grows, the feeling of a need to use force to push words out no longer arises; secondary symptoms spontaneously reduce; and the listener finds it easy to pay attention to what you are saying, rather than being distracted by your struggle to say it.

The Jump constitutes a form of ’block modification’ . As such it shares some similarities with the ‘pull-outs’ taught in the Van Riper technique. However, Van Riper’s ‘pull-outs’ involve searching for alternative ways to co-articulate sounds, whereas our ’jumps’ simply involve skipping the co-articulations and carrying on.

A fuller explanation of what the Jump entails, together with free instructions on how to employ it, is available here

Having taken our online course, you will probably find that both of the above types of technique are useful to you, and you will switch from one to another, depending on the speaking situations in which you find yourself. However ultimately, of the two techniques, it is mastery of the Jump will enable you to dissolve away the iceberg of your covert symptoms. In comparison, the benefits provided by Orchestral speech are transient and superficial.

Our Fluency Enhancing Techniques