“W-w-w-what are you doing?”, “Today is sssssssunday.”, “That is a… (block) kite.” These are just some examples of utterances of people with stuttering. Also called stammering, stuttering as a speech and communication disorder is characterized by repetitions, prolongations and blocks that interfere with the forward flow of speech and effective communication. Stuttering can also be characterized by the inclusion of interjections such as “um”, “uh” and “like” in between utterances. When these are often present when speaking, they may indicate the presence of the disorder of stuttering. Speech pathologists are the professionals that help stutterers. These professionals teach the stutterers during their therapies different ways to stop stuttering and methods to prevent them from recurring.
The different ways to stop stuttering taught to patients are under the broad category called PROLAM-GM. This is composed of types of changes implemented in the patient’s speech to reduce the occurrence of stuttering events. The acronym stands for these intervention strategies that branch out to numerous techniques taught to stutterers. These strategies involve physiological manipulations, reduced rates, operant controls, length and complexity of utterance, attitude changes, monitoring, generalization, and maintenance.
What PROLAM-GM Stands For
The first set of ways to stop stuttering is physiological manipulations. These modify how the articulators (e.g. teeth, tongue, lips) are positioned when producing speech. These strategies are composed of breathy voice and soft contact. These two techniques teach the stutterer to whisper the utterances and produce the sounds as gently as possible, respectively. Second, rate manipulation, changes how fast the sounds are produced. This involves prolonging sounds and basically slowing down the production of sounds.
This is based on the belief that, prolonging and slowing the rate of production of speech will give the speaker more time to plan the production of sounds. Operant controls, the third set of ways to stop stuttering, are composed of positive and negative reinforcements given to stutterers every time they produce dysfluencies and stutter-free speech. Positive comments like “good job” and “very good” are believed to inhibit stuttering moments.
Length and complexity of utterance, fourth set of stop stuttering techniques, involves the systematic application of techniques from short to longer utterances. This gives the stutterer the chance to learn the techniques gradually. The patient will not be able to proceed to the application of techniques with words if he/she doesn’t successfully apply them with syllables first. An attitude change, the fifth set of ways to stop stuttering, involves teaching the patient to eliminate the negative feelings that developed because of stuttering. This teaches the patient to look at the disorder from a better perspective.
The sixth set, monitoring, teaches the stutterer to be conscious of how his/her speech is produced, making him/her in full control over stuttering moments. This teaches the stutterer to monitor the moments of stuttering and his/her stutter-free moments. Generalization, the second to the last set of ways to stop stuttering, involves the transfer of fluency techniques to different environments with varying degrees of pressure. Generalization may first be done in the clinical setting, then at home, then at school or workplace. Maintenance, the last set of intervention strategies and ways to stop stuttering, seeks to prevent the relapse of stuttering moments and ensures the incorporation of the taught techniques in the stutterer’s speech for good.
PROLAM-GM as one of the ways to stop stuttering targets the over-all speech of the patient. It involves the modification of the physical and emotional aspects of stuttering. It gives the patient a complete recovery plan because it gives life-long benefits. PROLAM-GM is incorporated in all types of speech therapies, making it one of the most tried and tested ways to stop stuttering.