How We Developed An Incorrect Picture of Stuttering

This is a slightly edited version of a keynote presentation by John C. Harrison delivered at the 2004 World Congress for People Who Stutter, held in Freemantle, Western Australia on February 15 – 20, 2004.


(Begin with stuttering demonstration)

There was a time when I was so petrified by having a moment that was not filled by words that I would sooner die than stand up here and be …

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My Five Stages of Recovery – How my stuttering disappeared

by John C.Harrison

Pour la traduction française, cliquez ici

People often want to know when I first became fluent, and I sometimes feel as if they’re looking for the particular moment when I could speak without blocking. It’s not like that at all. Recovery from chronic stuttering does not happen overnight, except in very rare instances.

Most people change gradually, in stages, and although you can create mechanical fluency overnight …

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Understanding the Speech Block

John C. Harrison

At the heart of chronic stuttering — specifically, the kind of dysfluency that ties you up so you momentarily cannot utter a word — is something called a “speech block.”  We have traditionally seen speech blocks as having a life of their own, mysterious and unexplainable.  Speech blocks seem to “strike” us at odd moments, usually without our knowing why.

You’re standing in line at Macdonalds, about

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How I Recovered from Stuttering

A keynote speech by John C. Harrison to the Annual Meeting of the
British Stammering Association London, September 8, 2002

John C. Harrison

It is always a pleasure to come to my favorite city.  Especially when I get to talk about my favorite topic.  Stuttering had a big impact on my life, and I wrestled with it more or less for 30 years.

My stuttering was always very situational.  Around …

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Why Are Speech Blocks So Unpredictable

John C. Harrison

For years, I used to bite through pencils in frustration, trying to come up with some logical explanation for the seemingly capricious nature of speech blocks.

— Why do I have good days and bad days?

— Why do I sometimes block on words I usually can say without effort?

— Why does the feeling that I’m going to block seem to come out of the blue …

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The Feelings of Fluency

John C. Harrison

What is it like to be fluent?  What does it actually feel like?  When those who stutter think about fluency, their focus is almost always on their speech, rather than on their feelings. They see fluency as simply an absence of blocking. They believe that once fluent, they will be exactly the same person they are now; only their speech will change.

But fluency goes far beyond …

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