If you’re suffering from one of the several types of stuttering that plague us as speakers, you’re not alone. Several celebrities and countless others have suffered from different types of stuttering and improved the way they speak. Marilyn Monroe adopted her slow, breathy way of speaking to help her overcome a childhood stutter, and James Earl Jones, who as Darth Vader has one of the most famous voices in the world, worked on improving his stutter for years. Sam Neill is another famous actor who has been outspoken about his, and his daughter’s, struggle to master their stutters.
Everyone can overcome their types of stuttering and it need not prevent someone from accomplishing their dreams. That is exactly why it is important to know the different types of stuttering, what causes the stuttering and how to go about treating it.
What Is a Stutter?
The term stuttering is often used interchangeably with the term stammering, and both refer to the more technical diagnosis of childhood-onset fluency disorder. There are several types of stuttering, which is a speech disorder where an individual will struggle to form a normal flow of their speech. They might repeat the same word over and over, or they might slur words together. Stuttering is a condition that can often be corrected as it makes itself known early in life.
Although it is possible to develop stuttering, later on, it usually appears in younger children. This can be due to the child not developing their language skills to keep up with other children his or her same age. When it comes to the different types of stuttering, most of these conditions become chronic and, if not taken care of and addressed, will continue into adulthood.
Due to this, stuttering can impact a person’s overall self-esteem when they talk in front of and around others. By addressing stuttering early on, it becomes easier for a child to improve the way they talk and avoid these kinds of self-esteem issues that might plague them later on in life.
Most Common Types of Stuttering: Causes & Treatments
When considering different types of stuttering, remember that different people will experience stuttering or stammering differently, as made clear by their symptoms. The way they talk might require different treatments although some children will respond and react differently to varying forms of treatment. That is why it is important for parents to remain open to different treatments as one might work better than others.
Common Symptoms of Stuttering
The different types of stuttering appear in varying symptoms. These symptoms can include the difficulty to start a word, sentence or phrase. They might drag some words out with additional sounds within the word. An individual might repeat a word, syllable or the portion of a word, or there might be a brief silence within the word or syllable, usually right before (or right after) a certain sound.
Individuals who add additional “ums” or other fill words into their speech may be considered stutters, while they might display additional anxiety, tightness or tension within their face as if they are going to great lengths to talk. An individual might also struggle to communicate themselves effectively. They might use a few words and keep it basic.
Physical Symptoms of Types of Stuttering
Often, the types of stuttering come with additional symptoms associated with other parts of the body. Due to this, it is important to monitor these different symptoms as each is additional signs of needing help and the help of a speech therapist. If a person has facial ticks or if their head jerks when talking. If a person displays clenched fists as they talk, or if they have tremors in their jaw or lips. Someone with stuttering problems might also rapidly blink their eyes.
When a person becomes excited, their stuttering will usually become worse (or emphasized). This might also take place when they are stressed or when they are feeling self-conscious. These events might cause someone to speed up their way of talking, which might hinder their ability to communicate.
Causes of Stuttering
The different types of stuttering are caused by different issues that are broken down into two categories although it is possible to be affected by both categories. The first is genetics. If a parent suffers from stuttering, it increases the chance of a son or daughter suffering from stuttering. Stuttering is an abnormality that is passed down from a parent to a child, so many children who suffer from stuttering do so because their parents did so.
Abnormal Motor Control
The second cause of stuttering is abnormal motor control problems. Sometimes a child will display issues with their motor coordination and sensory skills. This will affect their ability to communicate and increase the potential for stuttering.
Sometimes, different types of stuttering can be traced back to an external event. If a person experienced a stroke, it leads to a lack of blood flow to the brain, which can cause issues for the person. Sometimes this results in stuttering problems. These stuttering problems are often harder to correct since a person’s ability to talk is often affected by a stroke. It also usually takes place later on in life, in which case it is more difficult to correct than early in life.
Disease-Causing Types of Stuttering
In certain instances, a person suffering from emotional trauma or distress might display stuttering, even if they had never suffered from stuttering in the past. These cases of stuttering might go away once the signs of distress or trauma go away. Other times, it lingers and must be addressed. Men are more likely to stutter than females although being female does not prevent someone from developing a stutter. Additional risk factors include stress and delayed childhood development as kids who don’t get to interact with other children don’t have as many chances to develop their motor skills until later on in life.
Last, even if someone does not have an immediate family member who stutters, if someone has a relative who stutters there’s the possibility of developing stuttering. Sometimes the gene is dormant within a parent, but they received the genes from their parents and skips a generation.
There are several treatment options for the different types of stuttering. This often comes down to what works better for individual patients. What works for one patient may not work for another. Due to this, it is important to remain open to these different treatments and to experiment. A speech therapist can assist with many of these forms of treatment and direct an individual down the path of treatment.
Speech therapy is one of the best ways to improve stuttering. Speech therapy helps someone slow down their speech and learn to pinpoint stuttering. At the beginning of speech therapy, a therapist will have an individual slow down their talk and often speak deliberately. This might feel and sound strange, but it’s like tearing down a road to build a new, better one.
There are electronic devices that help improve fluency. These are in more extreme conditions. The electronic device will delay auditory feedback to your ears. Due to this, you will need to speak slower or the speech will come back distorted. Another way to work with electronics is when a therapist will have a patient mimic the way someone else talks. This will work on key trigger words and phrases that often leads to stuttering.
Parent-child interaction is important for improving the way a child talks, and a therapist will develop new forms of communication and how to work with one another to assist the child. This will help a child cope with their stuttering and identify ways to improve their form of speech. Cognitive therapy is another way that helps with different stuttering. It is used to identify what is causing the stuttering and to focus on improving these issues. As stuttering can often be connected to problems with self-esteem, stress or anxiety, it becomes much more important to treat these conditions.
Medication might be prescribed in certain circumstances although there is no specific form of medication used to treat stuttering. Ultimately though, when a child stutters it is important to work with a child and to never cut them off when they are talking, even if what they are trying to say is known to you. They need to be encouraged to work on their speech and complete their sentences. When speaking with a child that stutters, speaking slowly is important as they may then replicate this form of speech.
There are different types of stuttering a child (or adult) might suffer from, but there are many treatment options that can help you or your child overcome their stutter or stammer. Whether caused by genetics or issues with motor skills, it is important to work on these problems early on. By focusing on these different issues it then becomes that much easier to overcome speech problems and to help a person overcome their stuttering problem. Stuttering need not be something that plagues a person for life.