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.


  1. Thank you for your posts. Please continue to inform us. The open label part of the phase 2a study was continued up to now!
    best greetings

  2. Hi Holger, thanks for reading and commenting. It's good to know someone's out there! Thanks for that link. I'm checking it out now. Best, John

  3. Hi John,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with Pagoclone! It is good to know that it apparently works for many people. I personally don't have a problem with speaking disfluently, but sometimes really nasty blocks occur and that bothers me. I do not expect a cure, but it will be very helpful if I have the confidence that I will be able to plug through a bad block within a second or two.

    Greetings from Bulgaria,
    Koki :-)

  4. Hi Koki, thanks for your comments. It's great that your stuttering doesn't bother you too much. Actually, I feel basically the same as you describe - that it's not a problem for you - but it can be a hassle. I think this acceptance of our own stuttering can have both positive and negative effects. Positive in that it reduces stress and is generally more healthy to accept your personal attributes for what they are.... and negative in that it may make me less driven to manage my speech to achieve more fluency.... being well-adjusted has its drawbacks, I guess : )
    Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting. I'l post again soon. John

  5. Hi John,

    Do you feel increased tension in your larynx after drinking coffee? I tend to block more after drinking coffee.

    Thanks for writing this blog, keep it going!


  6. Hi Csaba - good question! I do feel a little more laryngeal tension after a couple of cups of coffee. Not too, too much, but it's definitely noticeable. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. Wow. I was on trial 2 of pagaclone and I had no fluency gains at all. I am so jealous! I also tried Zyprexa and it made my stuttering and blocking much worse and my left eyelid tremored badly for almost 1 year. Maybe I should take my chance and get bashed in the head in the hopes of neurological reorganization. If it gets worse I can donante my freak brain to science.