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Stammering Problem of all Ages

Medikoe Wellness Expert

Medikoe Wellness Expert

  80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru     Sep 22, 2020

   8 min     



Stammering, also called stuttering, is a speech disorder where a person repeats or prolongs words, syllables, or phrases.

A person with a stammer (or stutter) may also pause during speech and make no sound for several syllables. In this article, we explain the reasons for stammering, how it is diagnosed, and available treatments.

We all have the potential; it may happen during a stressful job interview, addressing emergency services on the telephone, or during a presentation to a large crowd.

Stammering is normal when children are learning to talk and is a supposed five times more common in boys than girls. However, the majority of children grow out of it. Speech disorder impacts less than 1% of all adults.

For a few, however, the problem continues and demands some kind of professional guidance, such as speech therapy.

Symptoms of Stammering

A person who stammers usually repeats words or parts of words, and leads to prolonging certain speech sounds. They may also find it difficult to start some words. Some may become tense when they begin to speak, they may flicker rapidly, and their lips or jaw may shiver as they try to communicate verbally.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a few individuals who stammer look extremely tense or out of breath when they speak. Their speech may be totally “blocked” (stopped).

“Blocked” is when their mouths are in the correct position to pronounce the word, but virtually no sound comes out. This may remain for several seconds. Sometimes, the desired word is spoken, or interjections are used in order to hesitate the initiation of a word the speaker knows causes difficulties. Examples of interjections include such words as “um,” “I mean,” “like,” “well,” or “umm.”

Typical signs and symptoms related to stammering:

  • Pause before certain sounds have to be uttered.

  • Difficulties in starting a word, phrase, or sentence.

  • Repeating a word, sound, or syllable.

  • Speech may appear out in spurts.

  • Specific speech sounds may be continued.

  • Words with several sounds are interchanged for others (circumlocution).

Also, when talking, there may be:

  • shivering lips

  • prompt blinking

  • a trembling jaw

  • foot-tapping

  • the face and/or upper body tightens

Causes of Stammering

Experts are not entirely sure what causes stammering. We do know that somebody with a stammer is much more expected to have a close family member who also has one, compared with other people. The following factors may also trigger stammering:

Developmental stammering

As kids learn to speak, they often stammer, primarily early on when their speech and language abilities are not well advanced. The majority of children encounter fewer and fewer symptoms as this developmental stage progresses until they can speak fluently.

Neurogenic stammering

This type of stammering occurs when the signals between the brain and speech nerves and muscles are not operating properly. This may harm children, and can also affect grown-ups or adults after a stroke or any brain injury. The following may induce neurogenic stuttering/stammering:

  • head trauma

  • stroke

  • tumours

  • ischemic attacks – temporary block of blood movement to the brain

  • degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s

  • meningitis

Psychological factors

It used to be thought that the leading causes of long-term stammering were psychological. Luckily, this is no longer the case.

But, psychological factors may make stuttering worse for people who already stammer.

For example, stressanxiety, and embarrassment can make the stutter or stammer more noticeable; but they are not usually seen as the underlying cause.

In other words, anxiety, low self-confidence, nervousness, and stress do not cause stuttering; instead, they are the outcome of living with a stigmatized speech problem, which can sometimes make symptoms worse.

Stammering risk factors

Age when stutter starts – A child who begins stammering before 3.5 years of age is less expected to stammer later in life. The earlier the stammering occurs, the less likely it is to remain long-term.

Time since stammering started – Nearly three-quarters of all young children will end doing stammering within 1 or 2 years without speech therapy.

The longer the stammering remains, the more probable is that the problem will go long-term without expert help (and even with professional help).

Family history – Many children who have a stammer that extends beyond the progression stage of language have a close family member who stutters. If a growing child has a stutter and also a close family member who stammers, their possibilities of that speech disorder lasting are much greater.

Sex – Long-term stammering is four times more prevalent among boys than girls. Experts consider there may be neurological reasons for this, while others impute the way family members respond to little boys’ stammering compared with little girls’ stammering. However, nobody is absolutely sure what the reason is.

Diagnosis of Stammering

Some aspects of stammering are evident to everyone, while others are not. To have a comprehensive and reliable diagnosis, the patient should be monitored by a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

The SLP will remark the types of problems the individual has when speaking and how frequently issues occur. How the person tackles with the stutter is also evaluated.

The SLP may implement some other assessments, such as speech rate and language skills, which will depend on the patient’s age and history. The SLP will examine all the data and conclude whether there is a fluency disorder. If there is one, the SLP will discover to what extent the dysfunctioning affects the patient’s capability to function and take part in regular activities.

It is necessary to try to foretell whether a young child’s stutter will grow long-term. This can be somewhat accurately done with the help of a range of tests, observations, and interviews.

Assessments for older children and adults are directed at assessing the severity of the disorder, and what result it has on the person’s skills to communicate and work appropriately in daily activities.

Treatment of Stammering

A thorough evaluation (diagnosis) is necessary, as this decides what the best treatment might be. Treatments for people who stammer tend to be intended at teaching the person skills, tactics, and behaviours that improve oral communication. This may include:

Fluency shaping therapy

Regulating monitoring speech rate might include practising smooth, fluent speech at very idle speed, using short sentences and phrases. The person is instructed to stretch vowels and consonants. With practice, the person can speak at a higher rate, and with longer sentences and phrases.

Breathing control – as the patient practices prolonged speech, they also learn how to control breathing.

Stuttering modification therapy

The purpose here is to adjust the stuttering so that it is easier and needs less effort, rather than eliminating it. This therapy goes on the principle that if anxiety makes stuttering worse, lessening the effort required will mitigate the stuttering.

Electronic fluency devices

Some patients respond favourably to this type of treatment, but others do not. This applies the so-called altered auditory feedback effect. An earpiece echoes the speaker’s voice so that they assume they are talking in unison with someone else. In some people, this can relieve the stutter.

Speaking with somebody who stutters

People who are not used to communicating to somebody with a stutter might be hesitant about how to respond.

Sometimes, the listener will see away whenever the stutterer stutters, or try and support by completing their absent words or phrases – or simply to seek to avoid people who stutter altogether.

It is essential to recognise that a person who stutters is interested in talking just like everybody else. The focus should be on the subject of the speaker and the message they are trying to get across, rather than how it sounds.

A stutterer is very conscious of what their speech is like; they know too well that they can take longer to pronounce phrases. In fact, this realisation sometimes makes the stuttering worse.

It is vital that the listener carries out a feeling of patience, calmness, and peace. An anxious listener, or a listener who looks impatient, may make it more difficult for a stutterer to speak. Trying to fill in the gaps (stating the missing words, for instance) is usually an attempt to help, but the stutterer can regard it as impatience.

Saying the stutterer to relax, or to take a deep breath, may have beneficial intentions, but could accentuate them out even more (it may help some, though). Stuttering is not easy to overcome, and cannot normally be instantly sorted out with a few deep breaths.

If you are really not sure how to act, and you are communicating to a person who stutters, and nobody else is around, it might be valuable to ask them what would be the most reliable way to respond.

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Tags:  General Health ,child,Mental health ,Stuttering, Stammering, Speech therapy, Speech disorder, Voice disorder, pause in speech, child disorder, Electronic fluency devices

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