David Harris of Dr Fluency addressing a class in Jerusalem

 

One of the unique dimensions that distinguishes us from other forms of life is our complex speech. Very often, the way we articulate a message can be the key to a successful first impression.

The story of Dr. Fluency’s cutting-edge treatment program for speech fluency began many years ago, when a man called Aryeh emigrated from Latvia to Israel seeking to pursue a doctorate in Quantum Physics but could not get accepted into a program and fulfill his teaching requirements because of his severe stutter.

Aryeh enrolled in an intense three-week speech program at a hospital in Israel that helped to improve his speech dramatically. He was then accepted into the program, but after three months of teaching, he began to relapse and his disfluency returned. He panicked and ran back to the hospital and realized he was practicing what he had learned incorrectly.

Aryeh realized that while the course at the hospital had been effective, it was not possible to maintain fluency once the program ended and he was on his own.

He decided it would be more effective to have a treatment program that included a technological component that would allow patients to continue practicing what they learned. To that end, Aryeh found David Harris. Originally from the Five Towns but now a resident of Jerusalem, David Harris possessed knowledge of Artificial Intelligence and advanced computer recognition technologies. Working together, Aryeh and David developed a computer program that would enable people who stutter to re-learn how to speak and gain control of their speech. They focused on developing a software program to teach clients their unique method of gaining control over their speech production system while enabling them to practice the lessons at home, independently.

The revolutionary tablet of Dr. Fluency

Thus, Dr. Fluency was born. The Dr. Fluency method is a speech treatment program aided by computer technology that has already helped thousands of people who stutter achieve fluency in their speech and untold self-confidence in their lives.

Since their inception fifteen years ago, Dr. Fluency is now expanding their horizons in the Five Towns. Since opening their office in Cedarhurst, they have already begun to change lives.

I was speaking with David Harris the other night and we delved into the focus on speech in the Torah. We spoke about the odyssey of Moshe Rabbeinu and his chief objection to Hashem when Hashem designated him as the person to demand the release of his nation from two hundred years of enslavement in Egypt.

Moshe’s chief complaint was that he had a serious speech impediment, or what he referred to in the Torah as a “locked lip.” Moshe felt he would not be a good spokesman for the Jews because of his speech impediment.

Despite Hashem’s promise to cure Moshe, Hashem assured him that he should not be concerned since Moshe’s brother Aharon would act as spokesman. But after the first meeting with Pharaoh, when Aharon spoke for Moshe, Moshe then proceeded to speak for himself both to Pharaoh and to Bnei Yisrael for the 40-year journey through the desert.

Now, more than 3,300 years later, according to David Harris of Dr. Fluency (and Google), about 1 in every 100 people experience some level of dysfluency in their speech. Considering the population of the United States, that would amount to 3.8 million people who experience some level of dysfluency.

The Dr. Fluency method, which has been working effectively in Israel for many years, consists of 15 lessons. People who stutter or experience other kinds of dysfluencies such as stammering or cluttering, which is speech that sounds rapid, unclear, and/or disorganized, will typically achieve fluent speech in about two to three months. Those who sign up for the speech sessions receive a tablet that includes daily lessons that help participants practice the techniques they’ve learned as they work toward their speech goal of achieving fluency.

David points out that traditional programs that focus on stuttering and stammering are typically too intense for most people.

Traditional programs are generally concentrated to a very short time period that causes difficulty when attempting to transfer clinical learning to real life situations. At Dr. Fluency, a speech therapist works closely with a patient, accompanying them in everyday tasks, such as going to the store or speaking on the phone, to help them gain confidence in their speech.

I asked David about the source of stuttering and whether it was something neurologically-based or the result of a childhood trauma from early in life. I was surprised to learn that it is a neurological condition involving a command from the brain to the vocal cords that can cause a blockage in speech. However, I was happy to learn that Dr. Fluency can solve this problem by teaching patients how to control their speech with the help of the revolutionary Dr. Fluency tablet, and by meeting with an expert therapist trained in speech improvement techniques.

When I asked David about what motivates him in his work, he expressed the fulfillment that comes from helping people achieve self-confidence and control of one’s speech production system. “It is truly remarkable even after all these years how exciting and uplifting it is to help a client achieve fluent speech. Just recently I had a conversation with one of my clients who only a few months ago could not even say his own name, but now was speaking without a detectable stutter. Every year we receive dozens of wedding invitations from former clients and hear good news that a former client was able to obtain a job in a public speaking role, such as a teacher or rebbe, or that a former student recently completed a siyum or gave a dvar Torah in front of a formidable crowd of people. We are looking forward to holding our first U.S.-based graduation exercise after holding eleven such events in Israel to date. During these exercises, roughly seventy people get up on stage and speak in front of a crowd of hundreds with control and mastery. These speeches are available on our website for anyone looking for inspiration about what the power of our method can do.”

It’s an exciting step forward that Dr. Fluency is now in New York and will hopefully be available in other areas in the near future. Dr. Fluency works with clients of all ages, from students to retirees. It’s never too late to achieve fluency in your speech. For more information, please visit Drfluency.com or call 516-284-0199 for a free initial evaluation.

 

Read more of Larry Gordon’s articles at 5TJT.com. Follow 5 Towns Jewish Times on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and live videos. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome at 5TJT.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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