Stuttering is a problem in maintaining flow in speech which interrupts the normal speech. It is like saying something with difficulty. It is also called as stammering or dysfluency. It may begin at any point in life.
Stuttering can change from day to day. You may have times when you are fluent and times when you stutter more. Stress or excitement can lead to more stuttering.
Stuttering is more than just the pause or repetitions in your speech. It can also make you tense your body or struggle to talk. Stuttering may get in the way of how you talk to others. You may want to hide your stuttering. So, you may avoid certain words or refuse to talk in some situations. For example, you may not want to talk on the phone if that makes you stutter more.
What are the causes?
Stuttering usually starts between 2 and 6 years old. Many children go through normal periods of disfluency lasting less than 6 months. Stuttering lasting longer than this may need treatment.
There is no one cause of stuttering. Possible causes include the following:
- Exact causes are unknown but many researchers suggest the following may lead to stuttering:
- Genetically: Stuttering may run in families because of an inheritance.
- Family history. Many people who stutter have a family member who also stutters.
- Brain differences. People who stutter may have small differences in the way the brain works during speech.
- Brain injuries from a stroke can cause stuttering and other neurological disorder may also result in stuttering.
- Severe emotional trauma can cause psychogenic stuttering.
Risk factors for stuttering:
- Gender. Boys are more likely to stutter than girls.
- Mood and temperament. For children who stutter, mood and temperament may lead to more stuttering.
- Frustration or tension can cause more disfluencies.
- Being excited or feeling rushed can make you stutter more.
- You may stutter more if other people tease you or bring attention to your speech. Your stuttering may embarrass you. Or, you may feel more anxious about talking.
- Triggers. Some life events may “trigger” stuttering.
The disorder is characterized by interruption in the production of speech sounds, also called “disfluencies.” Most people have some disfluencies from time to time. For instance, some words are repeated and others are preceded by “um” or “uh.” Some of the behaviours of stuttering are:
(a) Repetition: Repetition is frequently the core behaviours of children. Syllable, word repeated several times.
(b) Prolongation: Prolongation denotes those stutterers in which sound or airflow continues but movement of one or more articulators is stopped. Prolongation may be as short as half a second and still be perceived as abnormal.
(c) Blocks: Blocks may occur as any level of speech mechanism that is respiratory, laryngeal or articulatory.
(d) Secondary Behaviours: Stutterers do not enjoy their stuttering. They react to their repetition, prolongation and blocks. Secondary behaviour divided into broad classes some of they are; escape behaviour, avoidance behaviour etc. .
How to check whether you or your child has stuttering?
- If your child stutters for more than 6-12 month without self-correction.
- If your child’s disfluencies increasing day by day with no sign of improvement in speech.
- If your child has another speech and language problems/ communication disorders.
- If your child struggle more while speaking with strangers, friends and relatives.
- If you find you are unable to face group discussion or presentation.
- Problem in clearing interview because of your oral communication.
- Problem in introducing your-self or explain about your-self.
Then consult a certified speech language pathologist who can help diagnosing and giving recommendation about treatment. Typically, you or your child can describe stuttering symptoms, and a speech language pathologist can evaluate the degree to which you or your child stutters with best solution possible.
There are different ways to help people with stuttering. A treatment team usually includes you, your child, other family members, and your child’s teacher with certified professionals. Treatment will depend on any or all of the following:
- Your child’s speech and language skills
- How much your child stutters
- How you/your child reacts when he/she stutters
- How stuttering impacts you/your child’s everyday life
- How others react to you/your child when he stutters
Stuttering is a tricky problem to treat. There is frequently relapse after treatment. So multi modal intensive therapy is required.
Margdarsi provides cure:
Traditional therapeutic interventions like Speech Therapy, Psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and such others are essential when stuttering is to be treated. But the doses of therapy have to cater to specific needs of the affected person. The traditional protocols for emotional management are used to supplement the rehabilitation intervention. Bio-medical intervention is considered on the need assessment.
One month long intensive therapy includes 6 hour to 8 hour of daily professional care and intervention at Margdarsi’s rehabilitation center. Such an intensive therapy protocol results freedom from disfluency. Follow up services are available to monitor any residual difficulties in speech fluency
Asst. Prof. Department of SLP