Stuttering is a problem that many toddlers, adults, and youth have to deal with. Stuttering occurs naturally and is something that has been around ever since humans started to communicate. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that nearly 3 million people across America have a stuttering problem or disorder. Stuttering is a disability of speech that is frequently misunderstood.
What is Stuttering?
If you ask people to define stuttering, each definition will be different. Generally, a stutter is referred to as a common disorder that pertains to speech and how certain words, syllables and sounds are spoken. A lot of the time a stutterer will have sounds that repeat themselves or are drawn out. In addition to stuttering, there are some people that experience issues other than just a stutter. These might include behavioral issues or other physical annoyances such as eye twitching or blinking. Often times someone who stutters might find it a bit challenging to communicate or get a point across.
When children are of 2 to 5 years of age, many develop a stutter while trying to advance their language skills. Most studies show that boys have a higher risk of starting to stutter than girls do. While most grow out of this problem, many do not. A stuttering disorder might occur for two weeks, a year, or even a lifetime for some. People many times refer to stuttering as stammering, but no matter what you call it, it is still a big issue for many across the US.
Different Types of Stuttering
Stuttering happens for different reasons and because of this there are different categories of stuttering. Between the different types of stuttering some are easier to get rid of and others aren’t.
Developmental stuttering, hence the name, starts when a child is young and is just learning how to talk. This is the most common type of stuttering and often times the easiest to fix.
Neurogenic stuttering occurs after a traumatic injury to the brain, a stroke, or other damage to the head. When neurogenic stuttering happens, it is caused by a dysfunction of brain signals to the nerves and muscles of the body.
Psychogenic stuttering is the least common form of stuttering and is thought to be caused by a traumatic emotional event or psychological issues such as impaired reasoning or thinking.
What Causes Stuttering?
There might be many different reasons as to why kids and adults stutter. Although the cause is still being researched, many different things might be playing into why you or someone you know stutters. Sometimes stuttering is hereditary and is present from generation to generation. Stuttering might also be an effect of a genetic abnormality or even as a result of a medical condition that has occurred. Depending on the child or the adult, there might be several reasons why they stutter. The severity of a stutter is different from person to person.
How can I stop my stutter?
There are elderly people who have stuttered their whole lives and it hasn’t bothered them much at all. But for those who want to know how to stop stuttering, you have to find the solution that works best for you. That may be through medical treatment, speech therapy or even just by using different language techniques and activities. In today’s world it is so easy to find some of these exercises online through the use of the computer and youtube. You might even find speech therapists that offer a video download to help you get started in your battle against stuttering.
When looking at a case of stuttering, a speech pathologist will look into the history of stuttering, the stuttering behaviors, and how the stutter may impact the person. If you think your child might suffer from this speech disorder it is crucial that you do not ignore the onset of the problem. If you take your child to a speech language pathologist, you might be able to catch the problem before it progresses.
Stutter vs Disfluency: How to Identify a Stutter
We have all had times when suddenly you notice a word that comes out of your mouth and sounds different than it normally would. Its part of human nature to get excited about things and sometimes that leads to a stutter. Preschool kids have frequent disfluent moments as they are learning to speak fluently, but how can we tell if they are actually stuttering? The difference between a stutter and a disfluency is dependent on consistency.
In order to be able to tell whether or not someone has a stutter or is just having a disfluent episode, you should look out for 4 different signals.
1. Frequency of Disfluency
How many times a child has trouble getting out their words or repeating sounds may indicate that a stutter is going to pose problems later on.
2. Muscle Tension
When you are speaking to someone who stutters it is very possible to notice muscle tremors in tension in the muscles around the jaw and the mouth. Stuttering is sometimes a result of this muscle dysfunction.
3. Body Movements
Another common sign of a true stutter is movement of the body when stuck on a word. A head tilt or even rapid eye blinking may be an indicator that someone stutters.
4. Change of Voice
Another symptom of a stammer is if the person changes the pitch or volume of their voice when then try to get past a certain word.
When someone with a stutter sings a song, a stutter can be even more apparent or in some cases can even be hidden. So it’s best to keep an eye out for all of these symptoms in regular conversation.
How to Help your Stuttering Toddler
Many parents worry about their preschoolers as they are learning to speak, and it’s very important to catch the signs and symptoms of stuttering so that you can try to put a stop to it before it gets worse. It’s better to start to get rid of a stutter while your child is young, than to let it become a problem that lasts the rest of their life. Typically the stuttering diagnosis will be given by a speech language pathologist who deals with everything to do with language and speech. As parents you can:
- Designate special times to talk to your child in order for them to practice their language skills
- Avoid acting negatively after your child stutters
- Positively correct your kid’s stutter and praise when there is no stutter
- Encourage slow and relaxed speech
- Let your child finish their thought and do not speak for them
When it comes to a parent and their child, most parents will take every step necessary to ensure their child lives the best life possible. So if you have a child that does stutter, it is important that you help by watching videos with them and doing everything necessary to get rid of or improve the stutter. Most importantly, you should always make sure to have a positive approach in aiding your child to deal with stuttering. A lot of little kids get frustrated with themselves, so to be encouraging and compassionate might help them to keep their self confidence.
If you don’t want to take your child to a specialist right away you can provide a stepping stone to getting rid of the problem by trying some speech therapy at home. Online, you can find many speech activities and techniques that you can use to teach your child yourself. These activities don’t have to take long and can be integrated into your child’s night time routine before bed.
Currently there is not a cure to fully treat stuttering. Although stuttering cannot currently be cured, there are some ways that you can make it better. There are many treatments, speaking activities and materials for stutterers to utilize to help prevent impairments and better speech. There are not any FDA approved medications to treat stuttering, but other drugs that have been used to help with other disorders and complications are sometimes used to treat stuttering.
Support groups are a great way to be around others who all have the same speech problem. There are local support groups and national conferences that target people who stutter. This helps stutterers cope with their speech disability, get tips to improve their speech, and get a boost of confidence.
In a survey done by the National Stuttering Association it was discovered that people who attend local support group meetings and events say that it helps to improve their thoughts, their speech and their attitudes.
There are many different kinds of speech therapy that could produce great results in those who stutter. A speech therapist can help with problems relating to articulation, fluency and voice. When you go to a speech therapist they will have you participate in a variety of activities that will not cure the problem, but it will lessen the problem.
American Celebrities have that well put together image that makes them seem flawless. But there are actually many famous people that have a stutter just like anyone else. Emily Blunt, Marc Anthony, John Lee Hooker, Marilyn Monroe, Ed Sheeran and Samuel Jackson are just a few iconic stars who have had or still have a speech impairment. You would think that if someone is a singer, they probably wouldn’t have a speech problem. Actually some singers’ stutters accentuate their voices which creates a unique style and tone to their music that people love!
Other famous stutterers include John Melendez, Darren Sproles, Joe Moglia, John Stossel, VP Joseph Biden, Annie Glenn, and many more. Some scholars even think that the famous bible character, Moses, had a stutter.
How can stuttering affect someone?
Stuttering is not something that most people would want to deal with. For many people who stutter, this speech impairment is known to hinder areas of life at the office, at home, and at school. There are many teachers across the country that help students with stutters, but there is only so much a teacher can do. The National Stuttering Association has discovered that eight out of ten kids who stutter experience bullying, and 40 percent of adults don’t get a job because of a stammer they have.
There are many different foundations and organizations where people who stutter can find free resources, advice and information. Many stuttering foundations provide a means for people who stutter to come together to form a safe community to share ideas and feelings.
What is being done to learn more about stuttering?
Researchers are constantly learning more and discovering new things about stuttering. This speech problem is getting old for many stutterers who want to kick it to the curb, so new research is done everyday in hopes of finding a solution.