Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stuttering is Cool - Podcast

I used to be a frequent listener of many podcasts a few years ago:  Daily Source Code was part of my commute each day and Dawn and Drew were friends I'd never meet. But then somehow I got out of the habit of listening and pretty soon they were but a distant memory....

Anyway, No Agenda rekindled my interest in the medium (though, in truth, I generally listen to the stream rather than the podcast)  and now DSC is back, albeit sporadically. And I've found a stuttering podcast that caught my interest: Stuttering is Cool.

Daniele Rossi hosts this show from Toronto, where he incorporates conversations with and interviews of people who stutterer in a free-form, entertaining show.

The current episode (#79) is a really interesting conversation with a friend in a busy restaurant. Danny's friend Jaan describes his experiences with speech therapy programs like Precision Fluency Shaping and his largely independent efforts to gain better control of his speech.

Jaan does a great job of managing his speech - he describes the effort in terms of timing and coordination. 

I totally get what Jaan is saying, and I'm impressed by his dedication. Take a listen to this show, and I think you'll agree.

Danny is a really creative and interesting guy. He and I spoke about Pagoclone the other day - parts of our conversation will likely appear in a future episode. I'll let you know when it's posted. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Starbucks barista just brightened my day

I'm not a daily customer, but the people at my local Starbucks know me well enough from my once-a-week-or-two visits.

One barista has always been particularly friendly. She told me once that her little brother stutters, and to take my time placing my order, that she's in no hurry.

She's really a great employee, as evidenced by the huge spread of MUGs on her cap. But anyway, today I popped in to get a coffee, placed my order, and she burst out - "You sound so good!!"

It was then that I realized I had been totally fluent in exchanging greetings and placing my order.

I've been on the higher dose of Pagoclone for about 8 weeks now (.6mg, twice a day), and I am noticing substantial improvements in my ability to manage my speech.

Let me be perfectly clear:

I still stutter.

Pagoclone is not a stuttering cure.

But Pagoclone does help me exercise greater control over my speech. Specifically, I am experiencing a substantial, sustained reduction in tension in my larynx and (consequently, I believe) my articulators.

My overall tension level seems lower as well. And as a result, I am better able to employ the speech management tools I've learned in a lifetime of speech therapy.

For the most part, I utilize the airflow technique developed by Dr. Martin Schwartz. Many traditional speech therapists don't give this guy his due, but I believe his stuttering prevention approach is rock solid.

I'm happy to be continuing in the Pagoclone study. I have experienced no side effects or problems. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for reading.