What Is Stuttering

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Stuttering is a speech disorder where the individual’s natural flow of speech is disrupted by frequent repetitions or prolongations of certain sounds, syllables and words. Sometimes, this makes it impossible to even start a word.

Aside from difficulty in speaking, this is usually accompanied by raid eye blinks, tremors of the lips or jaw and in the upper body. Stress makes the situation even worse when he or she has to speak to a large crowd or talk on the phone. However, this changes when one is singing or speaking alone.

This disorder is also known as stammering. It should be pointed out that this is different from two other speech disorders namely cluttering and spasmodic dysphonia.

Studies show that there are 3 million Americans that stutter. This starts at the age of 2 to 6 since this is the time that they are still developing language. This ratio between boys and girls is 3 to 1. The good news is that many children outgrow this and only a small percentage of those who suffer are adults.

To prove a point, some of the best speakers in the world that had stuttering in their early childhood include Bruce Willis, Carly Simon, James Earl Jones and Mel Tillis. You may not believe it but these people overcame this challenge.

But what causes people to stutter? There are many forms and some scientists believe that this is genetic because it is developmental. Others argue that this is neurogenic which means that signal problems between the brain and the nerves causes this to happen. As a result, the brain is not able to coordinate properly the different components of speech. This can also happen if the person suffered from a stroke or other form of brain injury.

Stuttering may also originate in the mind or what is known as psychogenic but this only accounts for a small number of sufferers.

The best person to diagnose if you are stuttering is with the help of a speech language pathologist even if it is quite obvious by how you speak. This person is trained to conduct a variety of tests so it will be easy to prescribe proper treatment.

But at present, there is no available cure for stuttering. Treatment can only improve the person’s condition given that the majority of those who stutter are “behavioral.”

The program is designed to teach the patient to monitor the rate at which they speak. They will also learn to say words slower usually short phrases first until such time that they can speak much faster and longer sentences. Follow up sessions are needed to prevent relapse making this a life long problem.

Aside from the patient, the parents should also be educated so they know what to do when you stutter. It is best that they provide a relaxed home environment that allows the child to speak. If the child should stutter, they should refrain from criticizing as this has negative effects. Parents can also help by speaking slowly and in a relaxed manner as this will also be followed.

Some doctors have utilized medications and electronic devices to treat stuttering. Unfortunately, the use of drugs often causes side effects and relying on a machine makes it hard to carry around especially when there are other people around.

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