What do Ed Sheeran, Mike Rowe, Jimmy Stewart and Kylie Minogue have in common? They all suffer from a speech disorder – Disfluent speech or Stuttering

There are a few reasons why people who stutter don’t do so when they sing. One is called easy onset of speech, or easy voice, or smooth speech. This describes the way you sing. Think about it – you generally use a smoother and easier voice when you’re singing versus when you’re speaking. Speech therapists actually use the easy onset strategy when helping people who stutter.

Another reason why a person may not stutter while singing is because words are more prolonged (and less apt to be stumbled over) when they’re sung rather than spoken. Music is an activity in which you use the right side of the brain (language uses the left), so when you sing music, you’re no longer using your left brain (and probably no longer stuttering).

According to researchers and The Stuttering Research Lab of the University of Iowa. Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks. An individual who stutters knows exactly what he or she would like to say but has trouble producing a normal flow of speech.

After my TIA which caused my disfluency I was taught to move my hand for each word I spoke – giving a cadence, fluency to my speech.  Melodic intonation therapy was the theory behind my hand movement, After several embarrassing comments and the loss of my teaching position  – Neuro-Pulse was born. Studies suggest that speech recovery may be modulated by auditory, visual or tactile rhythmic cues such as tactile stimulation or tapping of the left hand – rhythmic pacing may have a strong impact on speech recovery in aphasic patients or stuttering. Furthermore, tapping, like a metronome, may pace the speaker and provide continuous cueing for syllable production. Also the left-hand tapping may serve the same function as a pacemaker or metronome in rehabilitation of other motor activities, and in so doing, may facilitate speech production through rhythmic anticipation, rhythmic entrainment, or auditory-motor coupling.

As a person who developed a speech disorder similar to stuttering I have first hand knowledge the stigma attached to this disorder.  It can affect your job, your friendships and recently I found it dramatically affects a business and domestic partnership. Some people do not understand that for speech disfluent sufferers speaking under stress is more difficult resulting in poor conversational skills. Instead of understanding name calling such as “stupid” becomes prevelanent.

The NeuroPulse device eliminates the need for tapping, hand movement oher coping skills while enhancing the quality of life through improved communication and diminished public stigma.  Once the electromechanical  device is set to the cadence as the patient reads a paragraph. This allows for fluctuation in speech and for multi-syllable words to be said more naturally. The device causes rhythm and clarity in their speech pattern.  The vibro-tactile device can increase/decrease the pace and the intensity of the vibration to meet the individual needs of the patient.  Initially the speech pathologist will change the pacing and vibration during visits which will become less frequent as the device is worn everyday along with the patient mastering the device.

Granted more research needs to be done and new technology developed to help the millions of people with speech disfluency.  When this is accomplished perhaps some people could develop some empathy and support to those with the infliction. We are not stupid or crazy – we are intelligent, energetic, enthusiastic people who do not have the good fortune to speak as well as you but we are survivors.

 

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