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Stammering

What is stammering?

Stammering is a disorder that affects the forward flow of speech. Speech may be interrupted by repetitions, interruptions on the sounds and words in speech. Stammering is also known as stuttering.

What is normal?

Many children between the ages of two and six repeats sounds, words and parts of words when they are speaking. This is usually natural and is called normaldysfluency. Here are some examples:

  • Repeat one word or few words: “I want the-the-the balloon.”
  • Change a sentence: “ Mum, I want… the balloon is red.”
  • Fill a pause with “um” “ah” “uh”: “ I want um – that – um – balloon.”
  • Unfilled-pause or hesitations: “ Mum,—-see that balloon!”
  • Repeat a part of a single word: “ the ba-ba-lloon.”

When to be concerned…

A small number of children will have a problem with stammering that can become deep-rooted without timely treatment. A few danger signs to watch out for:

  • Often repeats sounds and part of words, majorly the initial syllable of a word: “ Ca-ca- can I have cho-cho-clate?”
  • Gets stuck on words: “Papa, I want……that toffee.”
  • Prolongs a sound for longer than three seconds: “ I knoooooow the balloon mmman.”
  • Looks away or is afraid to talk in some situations, shows an expression of fear – before saying certain words
  • Avoids certain words, makes unusually long pauses in speaking, stops speaking altogether
  • Shows trouble in speaking by blinking their eyes, stamping their legs, fidgeting with their fingers, moving their head or taking deep breaths

Myths about stammering

  • People who stammer are not smart.
  • Nervousness causes stammering.
  • Stammering can be “caught” through hearing another person stammer.
  • It helps to tell a person to “take a deep breath before talking,” or “think about what you want to say first.”
  • Stress causes stammering.

Risk factors.

  • Family history of stammering – a parent, sibling, or other family member who still stammers.
  • Age at onset – after age 3
  • Time since onset – stammering for 6-12 months or longer.
  • Gender – It has been found that males are at a much greater risk of stammering compared to females.
  • Other speech production concerns – speech sounds errors or trouble being understood.
  • Language skills – advanced, delayed, or disordered.

Age at onset

Children who begin stammering before age 3 and a half, are more likely to outgrow stammering. If your child begins stammering before age 3, there is a much better chance she will outgrow it within 6 months.

Sometimes you stammer and sometimes you don’t. . .

It is easy to see why people find it hard to understand stammering. Sometimes your child may speak quite easily, and at other times talking is difficult. When your child plays alone in the room and talks out loud, everything is fine. When the child talks to a baby or a pet animal, usually there is no trouble. While singing, the words come out fluently. Some children don’t stammer when they are angry; for others, facing uncomfortable social situations may make the stammering worse. Perhaps it’s easy for the child to talk to their younger brother or sister, but have difficulty talking to grown-ups.

Who can help?

There are also many people who can help children with their stammering problem. Of course the child’s parents and family members can help. But sometimes that is not enough. Then a professional speech therapist or speech language pathologist can help.

When to refer to a speech language pathologist:

  • If you are at all concerned.
  • When your child knows he is having trouble speaking.
  • When your child’s pattern of stammering change. For example: stammering happens more often and / or you can see him struggling or forcing sounds.
  • If your child is stammering and there is someone else in your family who stammers.
  • If the child faces ridicule from peers or has problems in school, bullying by classmates etc.

What to expect from therapy

Our therapists work 1:1 with the child to help with the specific goals of communication to the maximum. Young children will be immersed in a therapy environment that facilitates an easier approach to speech production.

Duration of therapy

Depending on the severity duration of therapy varies, but approximately 7 to 8 months required for a dedicated and motivated client.

Prognosis

Between 75% and 80% of all children who begin stammering will stop within 12 to 24 months without speech therapy. If your child has been stammering longer than 6 months, he may be less likely to outgrow it on his own. If he has been stammering longer than 12 months, there is an even smaller likelihood he will outgrow it on his own. With expertise technique and counseling there is 100% chances of recovery in children with stammering

Stammering in Adults

What is stammering

Stammering is a disorder that affects the forward flow of speech. Speech may be interrupted by repetitions, interruptions on the sounds and words in speech.

What are the signs?

Primary (core) behaviors

  • May seem stuck on a sound or a word.
  • Stretching a sound out on a word

Example. “Wwwwwhat”

  • Repetition on sounds or words

Example: “ h-h-h-h-hello”

  • Difficulty to start with
  • Speech that requires frequent revisions and filler words

Example: “umm” or “ like”

  • A struggle that show possible anxiety and frustration.

Secondary behaviours

  • Escape – Get away from the stress of stammering through eye blinks, head nods,interjections and other bodily gestures
  • Avoidance behaviours- occur when a speaker anticipates stammering by changing words, pauses, postponements, starters.

Myths and beliefs:

  • I am alone.
  • I stammer because I am a nervous person.
  • Stammering is my fault.
  • I am just not trying hard enough.
  • I need to hide my stammering.
  • I must speak without stammering.
  • I shouldn’t talk about stammering.
  • Stammering will hold me back in life.
  • Stammering is un-cool and stammerers can’t be successful.

When can stammering be diagnosed?

Stammering can evolve and can be diagnosed as early as 3 years. It can also have an onset at any time of life. Occurrence Sex Ratio- 3 male to 1 female.

Speech therapy

Many teens and adults who stammer have been to speech therapy for their stammering at least once in their lives. Some people have been through years of therapy. Just because you may have had treatment for your stammering in the past does not mean you shouldn’t consider it again. It is common for stammering to change over time or for emotions and attitudes about your speech to change as you have new experiences. It is important for you to have a clear idea about your motivation for going to therapy because your reasons for seeking treatment will help you decide.

Goals for Therapy

Stammering therapy for teens and adults usually means changing long-standing speech behaviors, emotions, and attitudes about talking and communication in general. As a result, length and type of therapy can vary greatly depending on your goals. A list of sample therapy goals for teens and adults includes:

  • Reducing the frequency of stammering;
  • Decreasing the tension and struggle of stammering moments;
  • Working to decrease word or situation avoidances;
  • Learning more about stammering;
  • Using effective communication skills such as eye contact or phrasing; and;
  • Determining whether goals relate to long-term change or to meet a specific short-term need, such as a job interview.

Expectations for Success

We hear from many people who are doubtful that stammering therapy can help them. They may believe this because they had limited success or a bad experience in therapy years ago, or because their stammering is worse than it’s ever been. If you have stammered all your life, it is unlikely that the stammering will ever go away completely. However, a speech pathologist who is knowledgeable about stammering can almost always help adults and teens who stammer make positive changes in their communication skills. As you work with your speech pathologist to set your goals, you will also set your criteria for success. Becoming an effective communicator and living successfully with stammering should be among the most important of these criteria.

Can stammering be cured?

At Preschool level – 100% recovery
After puberty-will make only partial recovery

Tips for Speaking With Someone Who Stammers

  • Don’t make remarks like: “Slow down,” “Take a breath,” or “Relax.” Such simplistic advice can be felt as demeaning and is not helpful.
  • Let the person know by your manner that you are listening to what he or she says — not how they say it.
  • Maintain natural eye contact and wait patiently and naturally until the person is finished.
  • You may be tempted to finish sentences or fill in words. Try not to do so.
  • Be aware that those who stammer usually have more trouble controlling their speech on the telephone. Please be patient in this situation. If you pick up the phone and hear nothing, be sure it is not a person who stammers trying to start the conversation before you hang up.
  • Speak in an unhurried way — but not so slowly as to sound unnatural. This promotes good communication with everyone.

Duration of therapy

Depending on the severity duration of therapy varies, but approximately 7 to 8 months required for a dedicated and motivated client.
Prognosis

For confirmed stammering it is” a hard nut to crack” but with effort and will 80% of recovery chances are possible within 6 to 7 months, with regular practices benefits are gradually vivid.