One of the most common speech problems which can be identified in children from an early age is stammering, or as it is also referred to as stuttering. It is one of those conditions that can continue through to adulthood.
Stammering can be characterised in several different ways, one of the most common ways is by a child or adult repeating sounds or syllables, prolonging certain sounds to by pausing in such a way when talking that a word gets “stuck” or cannot be said.
Anyone suffering from this condition will attempt to avoid saying selected words or will even avoid having to speak when they can.
The severity of stammering or stuttering can and does vary from person to person. In fact whilst some people may find they will have continued problems with their speech, some people may only experience it at certain times or in certain situations.
Categorising Stuttering and Stammering
Over the years the medical profession has identified two main types and causes of stuttering, and blow is an overview of each of those two types.
Developmental – When a child first learns to talk they could start to stutter, and this is known as development stuttering and is in fact the most commonly diagnosed form of stuttering and stammering.
Acquired – Someone who has had a stroke or a severe head injury, or who is suffering from some form of progressive neurological disease, either as a child or an adult can also start to stutter or acquire a stammer.
Also if anyone has a history of talking certain drugs or medications, or has suffered from any type of psychological or emotional trauma then they could start to stutter.
There have also been reports that some gamblers can start to stutter or stammer when they are engaging in some forms of gambling, and during some gambling sessions. With gambling often being quite stressful there are also reports of people performing strange rituals when gambling which then leads to OCD type symptoms along with stammering episodes.
Why Do People Stammer?
Even though people have been stuttering for decades if not centuries, the medical profession are still unclear as to the exact cause of this now recognised medical condition. However, studies over the years have shown that the actual structure and the function of people’s brain who do stutter can be different to people who don’t.
It is therefore widely thought that it is the wiring of the brain which is the main cause of stammering and stuttering. In the case of a young child then as the brain develops naturally over time, then it is possible to treat this condition during their developing and formative years.
In fact there can also be a family history of stuttering and stammering, which does point to a genetic link as being the cause of some people’s condition. A recent study revealed that 66% of people who do stutter and stammer have a family history of this condition.
Highly stressfully situations or experiences can also cause some people to stammer. It is not unusual to hear people experiencing this problem when they are for example gambling for high stakes at a gaming table in a casino or betting large amounts at a racecourse.
Someone who has to give a speech to a large or even small gathering of people may suddenly start stuttering or stammering quite out of the blue when they take to the stage to give their speech, whilst showing no symptoms of doing so when they are not on the stage.
Facts and Figures
Over the years there have been several different studies into who is more likely to suffering from a stutter or stammer, and it has been discovered that one in twenty children will experience this condition during their formative years.
However, of those children that do stutter from a very easy age, around three out of every four of them will resolve and overcome this condition either with treatment or without it. Males do appear to be more prevalent in suffering from a stammer with four times as many males having a stammer than females.
In adults it has been found that around one in every one hundred people will experience a continued episode of stuttering and stammering.
Seeking help for a Stammer or Stutter
It has been found that the earlier you seek help and assistance for a child who is stammering or stuttering the better, and any child that is not yet at school who is stuttering or stammering should be referred to a GP who will then be able to refer that child to a Speech and Language Therapist.
However, older children and also adults can be quite successfully treated for this condition, and as such your first point of call should always be your family doctor who will then be the person who can then form a diagnosis and then refer that person to a Speech and Language Therapist.
Treating a Stutter or Stammer
Once you or your child has been referred to a Speech and Language Therapist there are several different ways that a stammer or stutter can be treated. Below are a few of the different ways this can be achieved.
Environmental Situations – The actual situations that a child or adult can find themselves in during the day do need to be considered as the cause of a stutter or stammer. This will see a Speech and Language Therapist helping the person suffering from this condition feel more confident and relaxed in certain situations that are recognised as triggering a stuttering or stammering episode.
Strategies – Recognising situations whereby a person can be anxious or fearful and also putting together a strategy to help improve the fluency and also the accuracy of communicating is another aspect that will be considered and discussed by a Speech and Language Therapist.
Electronic Devices – A range of electronic devices have also been developed which some people are finding a great help in curtailing their stuttering and stammering episodes. Those electronic devices help sufferers control their speech which is done by the device giving them sound feedback as they are talking.
Stuttering or more commonly known as Stammering is a speech disorder that makes the speaker repeat or prolong sounds, syllables or words, disturbing the normal flow of speech.
Almost all the people who have stuttering problems experience a lot of anxiety and inferiority complexes in their lives. But dealing with shuttering is not as big a problem as people think it to be. Changing your thinking, changing your actions and finally changing your behavior is the simplest and the basic remedy for dealing with stuttering. Successfully treating stammering does not only require the patient’s efforts but demands attention and efforts by the family too, especially the parents. This collaborative effort by the patient and family can work wonders in dealing with stammering.
Tips for dealing with stuttering:
We have compiled here a list of tips and techniques for successfully dealing with stuttering:
What parents should do:
- Try to provide a relaxed home environment to the child as stress, anxiety and social difficulties play a huge role in impairing speech. A friendly home environment encourages the child to express his feelings and speak more which in turn helps the child to have better speech fluency. Try talking to him when he is excited about something and has a lot to tell. Always take out time to have conversations with the child.
- Appreciate the child whenever he speaks with fluency even if some. Encouraging helps greatly in giving the child confidence and the feeling that he is doing right.
- Always take out time to listen to the child with patience. Do not make the child rush when he speaks and do not even let the child feel that you are in a hurry and he needs to finish quickly.
- Always let the child try and complete his sentences. Show patience and give the child the opportunity to complete his sentences or say his words himself.
- Do not scold or criticize the child if he stutters. This will make him nervous and conscious about about his speech and in attempting for perfection he will stutter even more.
- Last but not the least always show your support to the child and make him feel that it is okay to have a problem and that it can be solved.
What The Patient Should Do:
- Meditate and try to relax your mind as much as you can. Make your self believe that you can pull it up.
- Practice speaking with self-appreciation. Set attainable goals for anxiety control and pat yourself at the back every time you attain a goal for speaking a complete sentence without stuttering or speaking a difficult word perfectly.
- Practice speaking in front of the mirror, on the telephone, and in public eventually with confidence.
- Go easy when you stutter and do not panic or get nervous about it. When you panic the nervousness transfers to the listener which in turn makes you even more nervous making you stutter more.
- Have an optimistic approach about overcoming stuttering. Make yourself believe that you are capable of speaking perfectly and with some practice and control over your mind you can speak with perfection.
- Face the fear of stuttering and do not hesitate to stutter deliberately once in a while.
- Try to develop a rhythm in your speech. Singing songs can also help to attain better fluency.
- Joining a support team also helps in dealing with stuttering problems, as seeing others like you doing well gives you motivation to speak well too.
- Seek speech therapy.
What can I do to communicate better with people who stutter?
Stuttering which is a basically speech disorder, can make the communication more difficult with other individual. Having this problem, words, syllables, sounds are repeatedly used and prolonged. That’s why, the normal flow of speech become disrupted and often affect on the quality of an individual. Symptoms of stuttering can vary the life of person. Most of the time, group conversation, and telephonic conversation make the Stuttering more sever. At the same time, singing, reading can be disrupted due to this problem.
What causes stuttering?
Normally, there are two sorts of stuttering which are extremely normal today. There is also third type of stuttering found among the people rarely which is called psychogenic faltering, can be brought about by enthusiastic trauma or issues with thought or thinking. At one time, all stuttering was considered to be, yet today we realize that psychogenic faltering is uncommon.)
Developmental stuttering that usually occurs while children’s language and speech are unable to fulfill their verbal needs is very common form of stuttering. According to the scientists and specialist, this type of stuttering is generic problem, as it also runs within families. In the year of 2010, NIDCD researchers identify three different genes which lead stuttering.
Neutrogena stuttering might happen after a stroke, head injury, or other sort of brain damage. Having this stuttering, the brain has suffered various problem coordinating the diverse parts included speaking in view of signaling issues between the cerebrum and nerves or muscles.
How is stuttering diagnosed?
Identifying stuttering would seem like a very simple task, it can disrupt an individual communication. Having stuttering can be detected very quickly by other people. And stuttering could affect an individual’s observable speech. Apart from this, there are various nature of stuttered speech which is not so much easy to detect. So that, detecting stuttering perfectly needs proper skill, experience of a well trained speech-language pathologist or SLP.
Amid an assessment, a SLP will take note of the number and sorts of speech disfluencies a man produces in different circumstances. The SLP will also survey the courses in which the individual reacts and adapts to disfluencies. The SLP might also assemble detail about factors, for example, teasing that might make the issue worse. An assortment of different evaluation (e.g., discourse rate, dialect abilities) might be finished also, depending upon the individual’s age and history. Data about the individual is then dissected to figure out if a familiarity issue exists. Provided that this is true, the degree to which it influences the capacity to perform and take part in every day exercises is resolved. No single factor can be utilized to anticipate whether a youngster will keep on faltering. The mix of these components can offer SLPs some assistance with determining whether treatment is demonstrated.
How is stuttering treated?
Though, presently, there is no proper treatment or cure procedure for stuttering, but there are various types of treatments available that can lower the possibilities of Stuttering. Most of the case, the nature of treatment will vary according to the age, communication goals and other various factor. If your child have this problem, it is extremely essential to work with experienced speech-language pathologist to stop this problem.
There are various current therapies available for those who have stuttering problem. These therapies always concentrate on their learning ways. It can minimize Stuttering, while they speak for example slow communication; gradually develop from single-syllable responses to make longer words and to make complex sentences
The FDA or U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not approved any type of medication or treatment for the treatment of Stuttering. but, a few medications which are approved to treat other various health issues, for example, epilepsy, tension, or dejection—have been utilized to treat stammering. These medications frequently have side effects that make them hard to use over a drawn out stretch of time.
A few individuals who stutter utilize electronic devices or gadgets to control fluency. For instance, one kind of device suits into the ear canal, like a hearing aid, and digitally replays a slightly adjusted form of the wearer’s voice into the ear so it sounds as though he or she is talking as one with someone else.
Numerous individuals find that they get their biggest progress through a combination of self-learning and treatment. Self-improvement groups offer way for those individuals who stutter to discover assets and backing as they face the difficulties of stammering.
It is a speech disorder in which sounds, syllables, or words are not pronounced correctly and takes a longer time to complete the word or sentence. It is a prolonged delivery of speech which disrupts the normal speech flow. Such prolongation of the speech is accompanied with certain involuntary actions and behaviors like the tremorring of lips and the eye blinks in rapid motion. The stuttering may give a bad impression over the people and is not an effective communication, which often disrupts the repute of the person.
The stuttering is most often among the children of age group 2-5 years. In this age, the children are in the stage of development of their language skills. Almost 5% of children are likely to stammer under this age group, which is not a permanent and may fly away after a certain period of time. There has been observed that the boys are more prone to stuttering than the girls. Although, only less than 1% of adults stutters.
Production of speech mechanism-
The speech is a result of the synchronized action of movements between the muscles, the breathing mechanism, the articulation and the phonation. The movement of muscles is regulated by the brain and through the neurons responsible for the sense of sound receptor and touch.
Causes of stuttering-
The reasons of stuttering are not yet diagnosed by the scientists. Generally, the researchers say that it comes up in the hereditary and thus, a close family member having such a problem, then you are also prone to such problem.
There are three causes of stuttering discovered:
- Developmental Stuttering–
This type of stuttering is observed in the early stage of childhood, when the children are on a developmental stage to speak.
- Neurogenic Stuttering–
The whole of the connection of the speech generation is controlled by the brain and the nervous system. In a situation where the speech nerves and muscles are unfunctional, this disorder occurs. This disorder may also be a result of stroke or an injury in the brain or nervous system.
- Psychological factors:
Scientists have discovered that the causes of this disorder can be traced on to the psychological factors like the heavy stress, embarrassment or a sudden shock and excitement that could cause a stroke may also result in such ailment for lifetime.
Diagnosis of stuttering–
The stuttering can only be diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). An SLP is a professional in healthcare department who analyses the speech tone and evaluates the speech, voice and other language discrepancies. The pathologist would evaluate considering the hereditary factor in mind along with the language discrepancies, stuttering behaviors and child’s case history.
The pathologist would judge if the children would be able to overcome the ailment in the near future or not. The family history of the person would be kept in mind to reach to a conclusion.
Treatment of stuttering–
Till now, there has been no complete cure yet found for the stuttering, although there are variety of treatments available. The treatment methodologies differ from person to person, depending on the person’s age, sex and communication capability. Early treatment to the stuttering would result in a better treatment and prevent from permanent stuttering. Thus, the problem of stuttering must be treated up in a young age. If the child has been stuttering for a period of 3 or 6 months, then a pathologist must be contacted.
Some of the treatment methods are described as follows:
- The parents should provide an easy going environment at home by providing high opportunities to speak. The family members should try to interact much with the child to evict nervousness from child.
- Promote the child to speak much and much. Should react positively to each achievement of the child and should not react negatively of stuttering.