What is Stuttering?
Stuttering is a disorder that affects the flow of speech by prolongations of sounds, involuntary repetitions, and multiple blocks that don't allow a person to speak fluently. Also known as childhood-onset fluency disorder and stammering, this is a common disorder that often diminishes in childhood, though for some people it may last for a lifetime. There are three Types of Stuttering depending on what they affect:
- Developmental: Commonly affecting children younger than 5 years, this mainly affects the speech and language.
- Psychogenic: This disorder originates in the brain and impacts thinking and reasoning. This is not common and generally occurs after emotional trauma.
- Neurogenic: This happens when the signals between the brain and the nerves & muscles get disrupted.
Stuttering symptoms vary from person to person and depend on her/his age and the severity of the condition. Some of the most common symptoms to look out for are:
- Prolonging sounds.
- Repeating sounds and words.
- Repeating the same consonants.
- Talking slowly with several pauses.
- Inability to speak or blocked speech.
- Nervousness or breathlessness while speaking.
- Avoiding talking altogether.
- Lip tremors, persistent eye blinking, stiff face, and body while attempting to speak.
- Extra interjections of sounds and words.
- Making long sounds with words and unconsciously rearranging words in a sentence.
These symptoms mostly occur when children are learning to speak and go away on their own. However, when Stuttering persists for a long time, treatment may be required to avoid letting this problem become lifelong.
Who is at risk?
Stuttering risk factors may not always trigger the condition but put a set of people at a higher risk of acquiring it. Some of the most common reasons why people stutter include:
- Children in the age group of 2-5 years are at a higher risk.
- Boys are more likely to stutter than girls.
- Children who have other speech problems or developmental delays are at a higher risk.
- People or children who live in high-stress environments that include high expectations and pressures of having a good speech are more prone to Stuttering.
Stuttering is caused due to several genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some of the most common causes of Stuttering include:
- Genetics: Stuttering runs in families and genetics are known to contribute.
- Motor control abnormalities: Any abnormalities in timing, sensory, and motor coordination.
- Injuries: A stroke or trauma to the brain due to an accident.
- Stress: Emotional distress caused due to high-pressure and stressful environment, emotional trauma, etc.
How is Stuttering diagnosed?
Stuttering diagnosis techniques are different for adults and children. They commonly include:
- The parents are asked about the child's health history and if there is a Stuttering case in the family.
- The family environment is studied to check for stress & pressure indicators.
- The child will be asked to read aloud to check for signs of Stuttering.
- The doctor will rule out other possible causes of Stuttering like general nervousness or Tourette's syndrome.
- The doctor will enquire about your history of Stuttering and check if it is genetic.
- The doctor will look for situations when Stuttering affects you the most during the day.
- Rule out other conditions that may be causing it.
How is Stuttering treated?
There is no Stuttering treatment but techniques available that teach people how to improve their speech and communication. There are no Stuttering medicines available but therapies that have been known to help people. After conducting an exhaustive Stuttering test, the therapist will suggest ways in which this condition can be managed better. These include:
- Speech therapy: The therapist will guide you about ways in which you can notice things that trigger your Stuttering and techniques like how to slow down when that occurs.
- Electronic devices: These devices mimic your speech and guide you on when to slow down and make changes in your speech patterns.
- Behavioural therapy: This cognitive psychotherapy aims at reducing your anxiety, stress, and self-confidence problems that may be compounding your speech problems.
Many of us may stutter at different points in our life. However, when this issue lasts for more than 6 months, becomes more frequent, and starts having an impact on your confidence, ability to communicate & participate at work or school, medical intervention is required. At carefit we have the country's top paediatrics and speech therapists that can help you with the best Stuttering remedies. You can make an appointment from the comfort of your house through our website and mobile application.
How can Stuttering be prevented?
While there are Stuttering prevention techniques, there are several ways that can help in reducing its occurrence. Some ways in which this can be done include:
- Practicing your speech with your family and friends and trying to speak slowly.
- Avoid words that trigger Stuttering.
Using a speech monitor that gives you frequency-altered and delayed feedback is known to help and prevents Stuttering instances.
- Join self-help groups that can help you in overcoming your anxiety and bring a positive change in your speech.