Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Continuous phonation-How important is it to fluency?

I am back. I didn't think I would get a chance to write another blog before 2010, but I got up early today and had time.

I was recently reading an article about continuous phonation and linking words together. As many of you know, I am a graduate of the Precision Fluency Shaping program. I teach many of the skills I learned along with cognitive modifications and some stuttering modification tools. It was a wonderful program and I recommend it if you live in Virginia. I would recommend either follow up by a local SLP weekly, practice groups or even me via a webcam. The carryover is the tricky part. I like doing this program on consecutive weekends with older teens and adults in groups of 2, 3 or 4.

Getting back to continuous phonation. Many times when I am working with people who stutter, I will close my eyes as I am linking my words together. I don't do this in real life situations, but in exaggerated practice. Why, because it allows me to feel the vibration on the voiced sounds (ex: vowels,and consonants: b, d, g, j, l, m, n, r, v, w, x, y, z). If you put your hand to your throat and contrast cognates g (guh) and K (kuh), you will feel the guh is voiced and a buzzing will occur as your vocal folds meet. This doesn't happen for kuh (unvoiced sound) so you would have to feel the vibration on the vowel. This is how an easy onset starts. People who are naturally fluent do not break up their words and sentences. The sentences and words flow together. In the early years I was so jealous of this. Such an easy task, but so difficult for people who stutter. Later on , I realized I had to almost examine and dissect fluent speech to change my dysfluent speech patterns and treat others who stutter. When my clients link their words together, they are generally increasingly fluent. Many times this has to start with adequate full breath breathing. If you start to exhale all your air and then talk, stuttering and tension will occur. If you don't take in enough air, words will sound pushed and struggle will occur. This is why people who block in the laryngeal area have silent blocks when air capacity is reduced. I know this is hard to visualize in writing. I will try and make a you tube video tomorrow if my new flip camera comes. Continuous phonation and easy onsets are important and require intense practice. Please e-mail me with any questions. Also, SLPs on LI, please e-mail me if I can provide any inservices to your districts. tks Lori

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