What is Stuttering? Causes, Effects & its Treatment
Stuttering is a perplexing disorder with no definitive cause. Autonomic nervous system activation, syntactic complexity, motor control issues, and improper breathing patterns have been identified as several possible contributing factors (Kleinow & Smith, 2000).
About 2.4% of Kindergarten children are likely to be stutterers and they recover by their childhood and remain up to 1% worldwide – Andrews’s et.al (1983). Bloodstein and Andrews in 2008 suggested the prevalence of stuttering is reduced after puberty and is less than 1%`. Andrews in 1983 reported the incidence of stuttering is about 5%. The study done at All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) in 2005, reports that 10% of the school going children are with communication disorders, stutter.
Traditional approaches to stuttering therapy focused on speech mechanism throughout the 20th century. It only focused on having children and adults with stuttering to change their breathing patterns, control their speaking rate, and work towards fluent speech. This could be achieved with a combination of non-speech exercises and speech exercises.
The term stuttering means disruption in the flow of speech. At times we all tend to add “uh” or “you know” to what we say and we do not speak smoothly. Or, we may say a sound or word more than once and become disfluent. These disfluencies are normal if they happen once in a while. When it happens a lot, it may be stuttering.
Stuttering usually is seen in young children which are called as Developmental Stuttering, also it can occur in adults called Acquired stuttering.
CAUSES OF STUTTERING:
Stuttering starts usually between 2 and 6 years old. There is no one cause of stuttering. Possible causes include the following:
- Family history: Family history is common in stuttering, people who stutter may have a family member who stutters.
- Brain differences: Stutterers may have small differences in the way the brain works during the speech
EFFECTS OF STUTTERING:
People who stutter may have the following types of disfluencies:
- Blocks– This happens when you have a hard time getting a word out. You may pause for a long time or not be able to make a sound. For example, “I want a …… cookie.”
- Prolongations– You may stretch a sound out for a long time, like coooookie.
- Repetitions– You may repeat parts of words, like co-co-co-cookie.
Who should you consult?
It is very important to visit the best Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) for a check-up.
Following factors an SLP looks at to check to shutter:
- Child’s speech and language skills
- How often the child is stuttering
- How the child & others react when he/she stutters
- How stuttering impacts a child’s everyday life
TREATMENT FOR STUTTERING:
- For children who are 2–6 years old, treatment may focus on either of these two things:
- Direct strategies—working with the child to change how he/she speaks. The speech-language therapist uses some techniques and analogies to reduce the disfluencies eg. Lilly pad technique.
- Indirect strategies—finding ways to make it easier for the child to talk. This may include speaking in speaking slowly and asking fewer questions.
- For adults the management of stuttering focuses on fluency rather than stuttering, i.e speak more fluently. Various techniques are used by the SLP in the treatment process eg: Airflow therapies.
Yoga has been practiced in India for thousands of years for better control of mind and body. Yoga aims to improve people’s inner tranquillity and free them from fears and anxieties. Since it is known that stuttering includes an element of anxiety and fear, Yoga can help reduce this.
- We at Progressive Care and Progressive Yoga have designed a program that will help individuals with stuttering disorders. Individuals are assessed on a SSI-4 scale and a tailor-made program is designed using cumulative techniques traditional speech therapy and Yoga therapy to help stutters overcome the disorder the best possible extent.