The Valsalva Stuttering Network

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Free Stuttering Information

from William D. Parry,

an ASHA-Certified Speech- Language Pathologist

If you are a person who stutters (stammers), do words sometimes feel like "brick walls," even before you try to say them? Do you repeat, prolong, or force on initial consonants? Do you sometimes choke on words that start with vowels?  Do your blocks get stronger the harder you try to break through them?

This website will propose a revolutionary new approach to understanding and alleviating these common stuttering behaviors, based on the author’s clinical experience with Valsalva Stuttering Therapy. It will show that the problem is not in saying consonants, but rather the neurological substitution of effort in place of phonation of the word’s vowel sound. This reaction may be triggered by the anticipation of difficulty or the urge to use effort to reduce anxiety.

The core of ordinary developmental stuttering is the unreadiness of the larynx to voice the vowel sound of a word or syllable.  This occurs because the larynx is neurologically prepared to participate in the exertion of physical effort (by performing effort closure as part of a Valsalva maneuver) rather than phonation.  The neurological programming for effort attaches to the vowel sound – probably because this is heart of the word or syllable and the part that has the most energy.  Consequently, the speech mechanism gets stuck on the consonant or glottal stop that precedes the vowel – repeating, prolonging, or forcing on it – resulting in the various behaviors called “stuttering.” 

Therefore, it might be said that stuttering (stammering) is best understood and treated as a specific kind of voice problem, rather than as a “fluency” problem or an articulation problem.  

Stuttering (or stammering), in its most common form, may involve the stutterer's instinctive activation of the body's Valsalva mechanism in an attempt to force out words when he or she anticipates difficulty or feels the need to use extra effort to speak properly.  This possibility has been generally ignored by speech therapists and is rarely addressed by current stuttering therapy.  Because persons who stutter aren't taught to control their Valsalva mechanism, many continue to have difficulty controlling their stuttering blocks and often relapse after therapy, without understanding why they are unable to stop stuttering.

The purpose of the Valsalva-Stuttering Network is to promote research and education about stuttering and the Valsalva mechanism and to develop effective stuttering therapies and techniques to reduce the Valsalva mechanism's interference with speech.

The Valsalva-Stuttering Network welcomes everyone who has an interest in stuttering and/or the Valsalva mechanism, including persons who stutter, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and other professionals, and researchers.

In addition to its possible involvement in stuttering, the Valsalva mechanism is also associated with blocking or "stuttering" in the playing of brass musical instruments, such as the trombone.  Therefore, the participation of brass musicians is also welcome.

This website currently includes the following (with more to come):
bullet Introduction - An overview and basic explanation of stuttering, Valsalva-stuttering, the Valsalva mechanism, the Valsalva maneuver, the Valsalva Hypothesis regarding stuttering, the current shortcomings of stuttering therapy, and an experimental new approach called Valsalva Control.
bullet Free Stuttering Information - Information about controlling the physiological mechanism that may cause stuttering blocks.  Intended for persons wishing to explore the Valsalva Control approach to improving their fluency.
bullet Stuttering Blocks Explained (VIDEO).
bullet Articles - Links to more detailed articles on this website regarding stuttering, stuttering therapy, why various methods have been unsuccessful in stopping stuttering, the Valsalva Hypothesis, and Valsalva Control to improve fluency.
bullet The Worldwide Valsalva Stuttering Therapy Program  - Valsalva Stuttering Therapy is now available worldwide through video conferencing over the Internet.
bullet Research - Results of the first clinical study of Valsalva Control Therapy - plus video showing dramatic initial results of Phase 2 intensive therapy study - presented at the National Stuttering Association annual conference in Ft. Worth, Texas, July 7, 2011.  (NOTE: No additional volunteers are needed for the study, because there is already sufficient evidence as to the effectiveness of Valsalva Control.)
bullet Links - Links to external websites regarding stuttering, stuttering therapy, the Valsalva maneuver, stuttering support organizations, and other information resources.

 Copyright © 2011-2013 by William D. Parry

Now Available:

  The new Revised and Expanded Third Edition of Understanding & Controlling Stuttering (2013), containing new insights and self-help exercises based on Valsalva Stuttering Therapy.

  

Contact Information:

William D. Parry, CCC-SLP

A licensed speech-language pathologist, offering Valsalva Stuttering Therapy in person in Bala Cynwyd, PA (near Philadelphia), and by video conferencing over the Internet (depending on location and subject to applicable law). 

Mail: P.O. Box 55, Merion Station, PA 19066-0055

Phone: 215-620-6792

E-mail: stuttertherapy@aol.com

Websites:

Stuttering Therapy and Counseling: www.stutteringtherapist.com
        E-mail:
stuttertherapy@aol.com

The Valsalva-Stuttering Network: www.valsalva.org
        E-mail: contact@valsalva.org

Valsalva Stuttering Therapy is a new approach to improving fluency by controlling the physiological mechanism that may be causing stuttering blocks. For further information on Valsalva Stuttering Therapy, visit Stuttering Therapy and Counseling at www.stutteringtherapist.com.  If you are interested in therapy, send an e-mail to stuttertherapy@aol.com to inquire about a free consultation. 

The Revised and Expanded Third Edition of Understanding and Controlling Stuttering (2013) may be ordered from the National Stuttering Association or from Amazon.com.

For information concerning stuttering self-help and support, please contact:

National Stuttering Association

119 West 40th Street, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10018

Telephone: (800) 364-1677 or (800) WE STUTTER

Fax: (212) 944-8244

e-mail: info@WeStutter.org

Updated 4/13/14

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Last revised: 4/14/14