What is Stuttering?
Stuttering is a form of dysfluent speech. Stuttering appears in more than 10% of a speaker's spoken words and may include repetitions, prolongations, blocks, and/or interjections. When a person blocks, no production of sound takes place, and the person appears stuck on or in the middle of a word or a phrase. Interjections are words such as "um" "like" and "uh" that are repeatedly and repetitiously used by a person who stutters.
Developmental dysfluencies in children are not the same as stuttering. Dysfluencies typically manifest in children who are first learning how to speak; however it is possible for stuttering to continue throughout a lifetime.
When stuttering is severe, it can affect a person's actions and behaviors and may create "secondary characteristics". A person who stutters may feel these secondary characteristics help them avoid more stuttering or distract from the stuttered moment. These behaviors include squinting, eye-blinking, head-nodding, throat-clearing, oral posturing, and/or production of various other noises.
Some examples of stuttering include:
- "Let's go to the, go to the go to the grocery store." (Phrase repetition)
- "Today we we we went to the pool." (Whole word repetition)
- "I would like Co-Co-Coffee please." (Part-word repetition)
- "I go to SSSS outhlake Middle School." (Sound prolongation)
- "Her sister has a f-f-f-flat tire." (Sound repetition)
- "I read um, um, um, uh, uh, like at least ten pages." (Interjections)
- "My name is C------(pause with a voiceless break )-----Cait."
Depending on the individual, stuttering may affect a variety of daily activities, such as: talking on the telephone, talking before large groups, participation in school or work, or communication at home.
Speech therapists work with people who stutter using a variety of techniques. Some methods focus on behavioral goals, such as helping the person who stutters monitor their reaction to their stuttering. Other methods focus on particular aspects of speech, such as monitoring speaking rate, tension, breathing, pacing, and phrasing.
Speech therapy may lessen the effect of stuttering on a person's communication. It may also help a person accept the fact that they stutter and reduce the desire to hide their stutter. This may decrease stress levels while speaking, which may also improve fluency.
It is important that the person who stutters to generalize what they learn in speech therapy to the environment in which they speak regularly. Follow-up sessions may also be required to assist a person who stutters in maintaining improved fluency.
"More Detail About Stuttering - National Stuttering Association." National Stuttering Association More Detail About Stuttering Comments. Accessed April 17, 2015. http://www.westutter.org/who-we-help/more-detail-about-stuttering/.
"Stuttering." Stuttering. Accessed April 17, 2015. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering.htm.