Stuttering & Fluency
The National Institute of Health defines stuttering as a speech disorder characterized by the repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks. An individual who stutters knows exactly what he or she would like to say but has trouble producing a normal flow of speech.
The exact cause of stuttering is unknown, although research suggests that those with a familial history are more likely to stutter. Stuttering appears to be more prevalent in males than females.
Interestingly, we may all go through periods of normal disfluency when we are young and learning to speak. However, if you or your child experience difficulty and tend to hesitate or repeat certain syllables or words for more than two months, that could be a sign of a stuttering problem.
- Consistently repeating sounds in a word or words in a sentence
- Hesitating involuntarily between words in sentences
- Avoiding saying words that are too difficult to say
- Showing signs of struggle or anxiety when trying to speak
The focus of therapy for children and adults is to change the way speakers stutter. These techniques target the speaker’s tension, struggle and avoidance of the core moment of stuttering. As a result, a reduction and management of fear/avoidance occurs through desensitization.
- Stuttering therapy for our youngest clients will be playful and we will work side-by-side with the child’s caregivers to maximize the treatment effect.
- For older children and adults, treatment focuses on managing stuttering. Our speech-language pathologists will help you feel less tense and speak more freely in school, at work, and in different social settings. We will also help you face speaking situations that make you fearful or anxious. This might include speaking on the phone or ordering food at a restaurant.
Stuttering modification strategies — the ultimate goal and benefit is to speak with less tension by reducing disfluencies, increase awareness of stuttering moments and treat secondary behaviors that result from stuttering.
Purposes of Stuttering modification strategies:
- Increase awareness of/reduce physical tension
- Reduce struggling behaviors/unlearn secondary behaviors
- Increase feelings of self-control
- Increase awareness of speech that is disfluent
- Increase feelings of openness and acceptance of disfluent speech