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Suffolk Center for Speech

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Easy Onset of Vocalization

What is easy onset and what is it used for?

Easy onset refers to the light contact of the vocal folds during the production of a word. The goal is to produce easy closure of the vocal folds via airflow to produce a vowel, instead of a hard closure (attack) to produce a burst of air through the vocal folds (Super Duper, 2011). This strategy is used to increase fluency in those individuals who have fluency disorders (i.e., stuttering, cluttering).

What is the difference between Stuttering and Cluttering?

Stuttering is the most common fluency disorder. It is an interruption in the flow of speaking, characterized by repetitions of sounds, syllables, or words, prolongations of sounds, or blocks in speech. Oftentimes, people who clutter demonstrate disfluencies that may not be seen in people who stutter. People who clutter may exhibit excessive whole word repetitions, unfinished words and interjections (such as ‘um’ and ‘well’), and repetitions of the final part of a word. Some people who clutter also often have limited or no awareness of their irregular speech patterns, which is very different from what we see in stuttering. People who stutter often exhibit a slower rate of speech as an attempt to avoid stuttering, avoidance behaviors, and negative reactions to speaking, as they often experience social anxiety and negative thoughts about themselves or communication secondary to their stutter.

How do you practice using easy onset?

Try saying ‘Annie ate an apple’ out loud. If the words are being produced with too much force, try adding an ‘h’ to the beginning of each word and start with a very relaxed, slow voice (i.e., hhhh-annie hhhh-ate, hhhh-an hhhh-apple). The rest of your sentence should be normal speed.

When you add airflow for a vowel, or when you say the /h/ sound, the fold folds are wide apart (abducted), so the air is able to flow freely from the lungs and through the larynx and vocal folds. This reduces tension in the vocal folds, making stutters shorter and less noticeable.

Sources:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Fluency disorders. Fluency Disorders. https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/fluency-disorders/.
Leiman, B. (2013, August 20). Distinguishing cluttering from stuttering. Distinguishing Cluttering from Stuttering. https://leader.pubs.asha.org/do/10.1044/distinguishing-cluttering-from-stuttering/full/.
Stuckey, K., & Daymut, J. A. (2011). Promoting Easy Vocal Productions. Handy Handouts. https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/335_Vocal_Productions.pdf.

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