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Stumbling during speech


I am a 25 year old male.  In the past few years I have found myself stumbling when saying words.  When I was young I had a stutter, but I went to speech therapy during a few years of elementary school and my stutter had all but disappeared by adolescence.  This childhood stutter would get me stuck on a specific syllable, and I would repeat it.  This childhood stutter still happens occasionally, however this is far too uncommon for me to care about.  Perhaps once a month currently, but I don't feel confident in giving any specific number since I've never kept track.  My current stumbling on words is different.  It is not on a specific syllable, but rather I repeatedly say each word from the beginning and fumble each successive pronunciation in a unique way.  I also occasionally say sentences improperly in a similar manner where the word order (or perhaps underlying grammar, I have not determined which) is incorrect in a unique way each repetition.  In both word and sentence stumblings I realize my mistake immediately and restart the saying without finishing the failed attempt.  The repetitions per event range from 2 up to perhaps 5 or 6 and average event being around 3 or 4 repetitions.  This only happens when talking to others, I occasionally talk to my self when trying to work an idea out and I do not stumble with the speech then.

Over then same period as the above I have had an increasingly frequent problem of not being able to remember a word while speaking.  This differs from the stumbling.  With the stumbling I'd know what word I wanted to say, I just could not say it.  This inability to recall the word for a specific idea (normally noun, occasionally verb and perhaps others) occurs both in conversation with others and talking to my self, unlike the stumbling.  When one of these recall events occurs I have the knowledge/feeling of what I want to express, but I can't attach a specific word or phrase to it.  I will often grasp at straws and vaguely describe the concept of the word I'm trying to say.  This occasionally helps others in the conversation to guess the word and allow me to continue with my original statement (whatever that was).  Most of the time the vague descriptions either help me determine the word, or at least stall until it pops into my head.  Only rarely does the word never come to mind and I don't think I've ever actually been stumped when I took the time to really think for a while.

This was just some needed background.  My real question to you involves the issue I presented in the first paragraph.  The word recall thing I described because I thought it might be relevant.  I am not implying that it is, but it was similar enough of an issue I felt you should be informed about it.

On to the real question, I have repellently discovered a very effective way of minimizing the stumbling.  When I mispronounce a word or sentence, I visualize in print in my mind (it looks a lot like times new roman most times) what I'm trying to say and then read aloud from that visualization.  If I do this I pronounce the word or phrase clearly without stumble, no exception.  My issue with this technique lies in that it takes much more concentration to visualize the text in my mind and then read from it than to just carry on normal conversation.  This means that when I visualize the text in my head I must devote all my attention it it and not to my environment and whatever task I was currently doing in addition to speaking.  This visualization technique will obviously not work in many situations where I must be responsive to my surroundings, most notably while driving.

I have just recently discovered this speech assisting technique and have not actively employed it.  I am worried that if I start to use it on a regular basis I may grow to become dependent on it and I may eventually have difficulty speaking while simultaneously doing other tasks because of my dependency on the technique.  If the current rate of stumbling events stays constant I would be okay with employing the visualization every time (safety permitting) since the frequency is still fairly low (0-5 a day, in bursts).  If the rate increases, as it has been for the past few years, I fear it could become a major issue.  I don't want to start visualizing text every time I have an event if it will worsen the condition, but on the other hand, perhaps the visualizations would help the stumblings.  Maybe the technique would even become a 'reflex' that I would grow to do without thinking about and it would not detract from my ability to interact with my surrounds.

I just don't want to end up where I can only speak if I visualize everything I say.  Do you have any advice on whether or not I should use the word visualization technique on a regular basis to help mitigate my stumbling during speech?

thank you.
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