From an Adult who Completed the New England Fluency Program
Dear Prospective Client,
I completed Adriana's program the summer after graduating from college. During my last few months of school, I became increasingly fearful of how my stuttering would affect my job performance, as well as my ability to enjoy whatever career path I chose. I worried that I would be unable to communicate effectively in person, and that I would avoid the telephone. My worst nightmare had me dreading getting up in the morning for the rest of my life because of the array of fluency challenges I would have to face each day.
I admit to being somewhat skeptical upon entering the program. My past efforts at speech therapy had been half-hearted and infrequent, and never successful in the long term, albeit occasionally beneficial in the short term. In addition, I had developed enough avoidance techniques to speak without stuttering when I really needed to, so I wondered how much benefit I could really gain from a month-long intensive program. What I didn't realize, however, was the importance of addressing the mental aspects of stuttering. One of the many things that distinguishes Adriana's program from others is the attention she pays to the "head stuff;" the denial, embarrassment and fear that make stuttering management so difficult.
Although the motor retraining and actual fluency shaping aspects of the program clearly improved my fluency to levels I never thought attainable, I derived even more benefit from the psychological components. At the outset, I was convinced that I could never be comfortable with myself as a stutterer, that I would always resort to my old patterns of denial. Much to my tremendous surprise, I discovered that accepting myself as a stutterer was, in fact, possible. Most importantly, I am no longer afraid of my stuttering.
When I speak today, I make decisions about my level of fluency. Am I perfectly fluent all the time? Certainly not. It is unrealistic to think that I can monitor my speech at all times, and that I will never have a block. The program will not hand you fluency on a silver platter, but it will give you the opportunity to be in control. If I hit a block, I know that I have the tools to release the tension and ease out of it. If I want to be perfectly fluent, I know I can do it as long as I concentrate and make the effort necessary. Success requires lots of hard work, but at the end you will be rewarded with the freedom that comes with being in control.
Best of luck!