Also called childhood-onset fluency disorder, stammering is a disorder of speech. Read the article to learn about stammering and its effect on an individual.
Stammering or stuttering causes a multidimensional effect on an individual's personality. It affects all stages of life, such as childhood, adolescence, and the adult phase of a person. It not only affects the individual but in the long run, it affects the family also. The impacts of stammering are beyond what we see.
Developmental Stammering: It occurs during the early childhood phase, during which language and speech skills develop.
Late-Onset Stammering: In this type, although stammering was not present in early life, children and adults may develop stuttering because of stroke, neurological disorders, head injury, drugs, or mental trauma.
The following are the symptoms of stammering:
Syllables, sounds, or words are repeated.
Starting to say words, sentences, or phrases becomes difficult.
Talking a word requires a lot of effort, which is exhibited by tension, movement of the face, and tightening of the facial muscles.
Silence or pauses between words or sentences.
The thought of talking creates anxiety.
A syllable or sound takes a prolonged time to pronounce.
In addition to the difficulties in speech, the following signs are seen with stammering:
Jaw or lip tremors.
Rapid blinking of the eyes.
Jerking of the head.
The cause of stammering depends on the type. Although an exact cause of stammering is still under research, it has been attributed that several factors may contribute to stuttering.
The following are the causes of stammering:
Speech Motor Control Abnormality - An incoordination between the sensory, timing, and motor function may develop due to an abnormality in the speech motor control center of the brain.
Hereditary - It can also occur due to a genetic abnormality. A family history of stammering may make the individual more susceptible to developing this condition.
Late-onset or acquired stammering can be due to either psychogenic or neurogenic causes.
Psychogenic Stuttering - In the case of psychogenic stuttering, emotional trauma is the cause of stammering. However, emotional stress can make them dysfluent in a few, thus creating stuttered speech.
Neurogenic Stuttering -
Neurogenic stuttering occurs due to neurological disorders or disruptions:
Brain injury due to trauma.
Disorders of the brain.
The following factors may make an individual more prone to the development of stammering:
Stress caused by family or high expectations from parents.
Children who have had delays in the general development of speech.
The treatment for stammering is not aimed at eliminating it on the whole. Instead, it helps in teaching the following skills:
Actively engaging in work, school, and other social activities.
Enhances fluency of speech.
Enables effective communication.
Treatment varies from one individual to another because every person has different needs. A multifactorial approach is needed to treat stammering which a speech-language pathologist decides.
The following are a few treatment approaches that are effective in treating stammering:
Electronic devices help in improving fluency by mimicking your speech. The speech is slowed down with the help of delayed auditory feedback. These types of electronic devices can be worn throughout the day and are recommended by a speech-language pathologist, depending on each patient's condition.
It helps identify the areas where the individual stutters, thereby enabling them to slow down their speech. Although it is a slow process, it can give a more natural way of speaking with time.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
Cognitive behavior therapy detects the thought process that makes stuttering even worse. As a result, it is altered to treat stammering. This type of psychotherapy is used in managing conditions related to stuttering like anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.
At the early stages of life, when the child experiences stammering, the family must understand the child's condition. The parents need to tell the teacher the problem of children related to stuttering. So that in school, the teacher can check the child's activities and help him out in the case of bullying or teasing.
The parents should not react with anger. Anger will not help the child to overcome stuttering. These children often experience a wide range of emotions such as anxiety, anger, and fear. Parents usually come across this emotional outburst. They also complain of the child being depressive or violent. The child will not be able to express their emotions. The effects of stuttering during speech causes the child great difficulty in expressing his inner feeling, causing frustration which may come out in the form of anger. In these cases, therapeutic intervention is required.
Once it is confirmed that the stuttering is not improving with growing age and the child is likely to suffer ill effects, then the family must consult a speech therapist. Studies have proved that people who consult therapists have improved stammering and a better quality of life.
The better quality of life for people with stuttering gives them better emotional balance and self-confidence.
The following can help with your child in coping stammering:
Attentively listen to your child.
Do not finish the sentence; instead, wait for the child to complete the word or sentence.
It would help if you also spoke slowly so that your child also does the same.
When your child speaks clearly, appreciate it even for the slightest things.
The following are the complications associated with stammering:
Difficulty in communication.
Speaking causes anxiety.
Avoids speaking in needed situations.
Facing bullying or teasing by others.
Stammering is a speech disorder that can bring mental trauma to the child and their family. Addressing the disorder at the earliest can help in resolving the issues associated. As a parent, encouraging and standing by your child can provide a sense of emotional support that can help your child overcome it. It is advisable to reach out to a speech-language pathologist when your child experiences any signs of stammering.
Last reviewed at:
10 Jun 2022 - 5 min read
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