A new way of speaking
Balbus allows you to gain control over speech.
It consists of five simple exercises that, through constant and continuous training, allow you to learn how to control your speech.
Balbus is based on one premise:
Stuttering is a disorder caused by an impaired speech motor control.
You know exactly what to say, you know exactly the words you want to say, everything is right in your head, but turning your thoughts into action is challenging.
- Due to your lack of confidence to even voice your opinion
- Due to your determination to avoid any opportunity to speak, not only in public
These are the situations that make your stuttering worse over time.
To eliminate this habit, continuous and systematic training is required, as well as constant and timely feedback on speech performance.
Skills that are not yet part of a person’s behavioural repertoire, in fact, cannot be automatised in a short period of time and with little exercise; on the contrary, they require:
- Correct setting for the right exercise
- Regular training
Regular feedback on performance can help you understand how your learning is progressing, thus encouraging you to learn. The voice biofeedback, a Balbus tool, will provide you with regular visual and auditory feedback on your speech performance.
Training with Balbus for 45 minutes a day; it would be ideal to have two 45-minute daily sessions, as suggested in the rehabilitation protocol; speech will be automatised and you will be able to speak fluently because a new way of speaking will have become embedded in your behavioural repertoire.
In other words, new knowledge will have been acquired, different from before, which requires perfect speech motor control.
They will show almost immediately: you will be able to notice a degree of mastery of your speech from the very first sessions.
You will be encouraged, from the very beginning, to use the same ways of speaking – learned during training – in all social and relational contexts, so as to encourage the generalisation of the new speech fluency pattern.
In the first phase, this improvement is still related to the attention you pay to your speech disorder because the process is not yet automatised and the goal has not been achieved.
However, when motor control is automatised, as a result of constant training, you will be able to speak correctly automatically; it will be a bit like learning to ride a bike!
Balbus tools and technologies
Balbus consists of numerous tools, which flank the most modern of technologies, designed to provide you with the maximum amount of useful data to document your progress.
This section will present the specific tools and technologies that make up Balbus.
Balbus includes a voice recognition engine that allows you to check the correct pronunciation when reading passages, or that will perform a transcription of the speech in the case of free conversation.
The correct functioning of voice recognition is based on: a stable Internet connection, the use of Google Chrome as a browser and the performance of the exercise in a silent environment.
At the end of each exercise, it will be possible to view and print a complete report containing all the information collected during the duration of the exercise.
Each report is edited according to the type of exercise performed and the related information is saved in the personal profile to allow you to always have the data of all previous exercises available and therefore monitor your improvement over time.
All tutorials are recorded to allow the session to be played back; you can also download the audio track to your computer.
No data and no registration made on the platform is saved on Balbus servers, privacy is a serious matter!
Song reading or free conversation
Balbus contains reading passages that are constantly updated to ensure a new experience and to prevent the possibility of learning them by heart during the continuous exercises, as this falsifies the project’s success.
In addition to this, Balbus, through the exercises performed in free conversation, allows you to practice even by reading an article on the web from the blog that attracts your attention, or a short article from your favourite magazine, a recipe of the best dish you have ever cooked, something from your favourite book or even dictating an email then copying the transcribed text.
You can choose different types of exercise:
The first exercise of Balbus consists in reading a passage word for word. The text is displayed using the technique of lateral masking; only the current word is readable, obscuring the rest of the text. The reading speed will be scanned by the Reading frequency parameter, which can be customised for each exercise, allowing the subject’s speed of verbal fluency to be adjusted.
The goal of the exercise is to get used to reading slowly, thus extinguishing the tachylalic behaviour typical of stammering, reaching the pronunciation of ~40/45 words per minute, perfect for reading or for clear, fluent conversation. Through lateral masking of the text, you will avoid distractions due to the following words, respecting the chosen reading time.
Voice Biofeedback is the cornerstone of Balbus.
Whether you choose to read a predefined passage or to have free conversation, the goal of
this exercise is not to exceed a maximum volume, expressed in decibels, during speech.
The real-time graphic display of the voice and sound feedback will allow you to instantly understand if you have exceeded the maximum allowed volume, enabling you to modulate your voice again.
The correct way of speaking is learned through continuous and immediate feedback in order to stay within the chosen volume range. Any verbal emission outside this range is promptly reported to the subject through acoustic and visual feedback, who will be led to make instant correction in this way.
Delayed Auditory Feedback – D.A.F.
D.A.F. allows you to listen to your voice with a delay chosen at the beginning of the exercise. By making the vocal emission coincide with that of the D.A.F. by prolonging the syllables, you will learn to slow down the speed of your speech.
By extending the interphonemic space during speech, subjects will not only learn to speak more slowly, but also to decrease the tension of the phonation muscles, improving the quality of their conversation more and more.
There is a metronome in Balbus that marks time by the number of beats per minute. In an interval, you will have to say one word and only one word.
The subject, who usually has a disharmony in the muscle groups responsible for breathing, phonation and articulation, can, by programming the speed of the metronome, make an emission of words and phrases in tune with the respiratory rhythm.
Binaural masking consists of the continual reproduction of a broadband noise in headphones, through which it will be impossible to listen to one’s voice during speech.
Through the verb-acoustic interruption, disfluent subjects cannot hear their own voice during the conversation. In this way, the phobic conditioning, i.e. the link between critical situations and the anxious reaction of the subject, will be eliminated, thus improving one’s own fluent speech. In this particular exercise, the audio recording of the exercise plays a crucial role for the subject; in fact, this will be the only evidence of proper elocution.
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