Stuttering is one of the most common speech impairments. Even with its commonality it can still affect an individual in ways that cannot always be seen or heard. Since the person is unable to properly communicate with other people or may be embarrassed by their speech impairment this can cause low self esteem and anxiety. The person fears speaking because they may feel as though they will be bullied or teased for not being able to talk. The person will avoid speaking if it is possible. For example in a presentation they have to give to a group or when they must speak within a group of people, even with friends. This may also cause the person to be diagnosed with social anxiety.
Now, there is no true cure for stuttering. There is also no miracle drug that can make the stuttering go away either. There have been attempts made to create a drug that will get rid of a stutter, but none of the drugs have worked and as of right now there is no approved drug by the FDA. Just because there is no drug or cure for stuttering that doesn’t mean that there is no chance to get rid of the stutter. There are many treatments out there that can help a person control their stutter. There are treatments for all age groups and each person is treated differently than any other person who suffers from a stutter. Those people who decide to go to speech therapy for their stutter will have treatment based on the severity of their stutter, their speech abilities, and their age.
Speech therapy is available to all ages including children, teens, and adults who suffer from stuttering. During therapy they would be taught how to speak slower and regulate their breathing as they talk. Depending on the severity speech therapist may have the person start from a few syllables and a few words. As the person gets better at controlling the stutter the therapist may have the person gradually increase the number of words and syllables the person speaks. This process will eventually lead the person to be able to speak more complex sentences while being able to control their stutter. The therapist will not only focus on the progress of their clients speech abilities, but also the anxiety that may stem from their stutter.
For children, it is better to get them into speech therapy earlier rather than later. This will help them to learn from a young age to control their stutter. This will also help the stuttering diminish where it will not become as big as a problem as they grow older, but as they are growing up and learning it is important to carry on what is learned in therapy to the home. A child should have a healthy, judgement free environment to speak. A parent should be able to help their child feel relaxed about speaking and encourage them to speak when they can. It is best not to make speaking seem negative or force them to speak. A child overcoming their stutter is a gradual process. It is important to be patient with the child and let them speak at their own pace. If they do begin to stutter they should be reminded of what they learned in therapy so they remember how to control it. The child with the stutter is not the only one who should be speaking slower, but the parent should also. This will reduce the pressure the child may feel since they can not speak as fast or clearly. It’s also important to be willing to talk openly about the stutter and be supportive of the child.
Sometimes speech therapy isn’t enough to help someone who has a stutter. Some people are given a small electronic device similar to a hearing aid. This device will delay feedback of what the person is hearing and it makes them speak slower and helps reduce the stutter. Another device similar to that one simulates the persons speech and makes it seem you’re speaking along with another person in unison. These devices will normally be worn everyday.
Other methods for stopping a stutter may be cognitive behavioral therapy. A therapist will help a person address what causes the stutter or what makes it worse and helps the person recognize that. This way they’ll be able to control their stutter better. Others chose to go the route of group therapy. This allows them to self reflect and have therapy while having support and resources available to them.
There are many treatments available to those who stutter and it is important for them to know their not alone and that they are in a positive environment without judgement.