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iStutter / Faq

What is the meaning of stutter?

Throughout the years, there have been countless definitions of stuttering. These definitions may vary from different experiences and perspectives (from people who stutter, researchers and clinicians or society in general). The term “stuttering” or “stammering” may refer to speech behaviors that are judged to be atypical, such as repetitions of sounds and/or syllables, prolongations, and/or blocks of an involuntary nature and with variable duration. The person who stutters experiences a loss of control that can lead to behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and physiological reactions. Recent studies indicate that for adults who stutter “the term stuttering signifies a constellation of experiences beyond the observable speech disfluency behaviors that are typically defined as stuttering” so the term can be used holistically to describe the overall impact of living with the condition (Tichenor & Yaruss, 2019).

How can I stop stammering?

To put it bluntly and simple: there is no definitive treatment for stuttering that works for everyone. Stuttering is complex, hence seeking simplistic treatments does not live up to that complexity. Treatment should be individualized and should not focus only on fluency, but also on the quality of life of the person who stutters.

What is the best treatment for stammering?

There is no “best treatment” for stuttering/stammering. When talking about stuttering and its treatment we need to keep in mind that a “one-size-fits-all-approach” doesn’t work. Every individual is different and so every person has his/her own experience with stuttering. Before deciding which treatment to follow, any specialized stuttering therapist undertakes a comprehensive assessment. Then, the therapist thoroughly considers different approaches that should be adapted in the best way possible to an individual’s needs and characteristics.

What is the difference between stammering and stuttering?

There are no differences between stammering and stuttering. These are two different words with the same meaning. The word “stuttering” is commonly used in North America and Australia, while “stammering” is mostly used in the United Kingdom.

Can stammering be cured in adults?

Stuttering has no cure, but it has treatment. The goal of our treatment is to make sure that a person who stutters can say and do whatever s/he whishes to say and do, anywhere, all the time. In other words, we want to make sure stuttering has the least harmful impact possible on a person’s quality of life.

How can I stop stuttering permanently?

Contrarily to what many unscientifically claim, there is no silver bullet for stuttering treatment nor a “one-size-fits-all approach” that works for everyone. Stuttering treatment requires an individualized approach and should not focus only on fluency, but also on the quality of life of the person who stutters. Stuttering is complex and therefore seeking simplistic treatments does not live up to that complexity. It is important to highlight that, with the right individualized therapy, there are no limits to what a person who stutters can achieve!

What causes sudden stuttering in adults?

Developmental stuttering usually arises during preschool years (usually between 2 and 3,5 years old). If stuttering suddenly arises in adulthood this is viewed as a warning sign for a possibly different form of stuttering such as neurogenic stuttering, psychogenic stuttering or pharmacogenic stuttering.

More in detail:

Neurogenic stuttering is an acquired speech disorder characterised by stuttering-like disfluencies following brain damage. It may occur after a Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), after brain trauma or as a result of a degenerative neurological condition.

Even though it’s very rare, we also need to consider psychogenic stuttering. It may arise after a traumatic experience, a long period of stress or in combination with a psychiatric disorder. In these cases, a neurogenic cause has to be excluded.

Lastly, some medicines, such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants may lead to the occurrence of speech dysfluencies as a side effect which is called pharmacogenic stuttering.

The moment of onset and the client’s medical history are crucial to make differential diagnosis with developmental stuttering.

Can stuttering be cured in adults

Stuttering has no cure, but it has treatment. The goal of treatment is to ensure that stuttering has the least impact possible on a person’s quality of life and that s/he can say and do and whatever s/he wants, all the time, everywhere.

Will my child grow out of stuttering

Approximately 80% of children who stutter will get their fluency back spontaneously. However, since it is impossible to distinguish kids with temporary stuttering with the ones that will develop a permanent stutter, we do not take risks, nor leave it to chance: whenever stuttering behaviors are identified (such as prolongations, repetitions of blocks) we advise seeing a specialized Speech Therapist, who will ensure that stutters disappears as soon as possible or that the child (and respective family) learns how to handle it since early age, avoiding negative experiences that can be extremely harmful.

Is stuttering a disability

Stuttering is not a disability, but a disorder that affects the normal flow of speech. It is related to the way the brain processes and programs the movements of speech and has nothing to do with intellectual capacity or intelligence.

Is stuttering a handicap

Stuttering can be experienced as a handicap depending on how the person relates to his/her stuttering. There are many people who stutter worldwide that would not classify stuttering as a handicap, but rather as a characteristic of speech.

What drugs can cause stuttering

Some drugs may induce stuttering; in these cases, it is called acquired stuttering, different from the stuttering that appears in children during their period of speech and language development. If you feel that you, or someone you know, may be experiencing such situation, we advise booking a session with one of our stuttering experts.

What causes stammering and how do you stop it

The origin of stammering is still thoroughly studied, but it is known that the majority of cases are related to genetic and neurological preconditions. The interplay between these preconditions and a child’s development may lead to the emergence of atypical speech disruptions during their preschool period. If stuttering does not disappear quickly, the only way to stop it is through targeted and individualized treatment.

Can stress cause stuttering

Stress does not cause stuttering nor people who stutter are more anxious than people who do not stutter. However, stress and anxiety associated with more challenging communicative situations, such as public speaking, can aggravate the symptoms of stuttering.

Why is my stutter coming back

Your stuttering keeps on coming back because stuttering is highly variable. At times, you may stutter quite a bit and, on a subsequent occasion and without any apparent reason, you may experience a smooth and fluent speech. People do not stutter the same way or the same amount in all situations. The variability of stuttering can be quite challenging for a person who stutters and not-so-easy-to-grasp by listeners.

Why is stuttering more common in males

Although we already know that stuttering is more frequent in males than in females, the concrete reasons remain unclear, but they are most likely connected with genetic factors. Two current assumptions are that females are potentially more resistant to inheriting stutter and/or that they experience higher recovery rates than their male counterparts. For now, the bottom line is that there are fewer females who stutter.

How does stuttering affect your life

For people who stutter (PWS), stuttering can be embarrassing and/or strongly impact day-to-day communication, as well as social and professional goals. Normally, a PWS tries to hide stuttering from others, namely by avoiding situations in which the foreseen likelihood of stuttering is higher. Hiding stuttering can also increase a person´s feeling of shame, guilt and anxiety of speaking in different situations. People who stutter become ‘masters’ in changing words and avoiding specific social situations. However, these ‘tricks’ only reduce the person’s ability to say what s/he wants to say. Usually, this avoidance happens from an early age and can have a harmful impact on a person’s wellbeing and mental health.

What percentage of stuttering is normal

There are a few abstract figures that a professional can point out as being above or below an average speaking pattern. For example, a person who stutters is disfluent on approximately 10% of words. However, these types of fluency measurements do not tell us much about the person’s wellbeing or the potential benefits of enrolling in speech therapy. Besides, frequency data is also very dependent on the person’s age.

Does stuttering affect reading comprehension

No. There is no relationship between stuttering and reading (or oral) comprehension. Stuttering has nothing to do with the level of intelligence.

At what age does stuttering develop?

Currently, there is consensus that developmental stuttering usually begins between 2 and 3.5 years old. However, in some children it occurs at the exact moment they start talking, which is before the age of 2. Rarely a child begins to stutter much later, for example at 10 or 12 years.

What are the first signs of stuttering?

The first signs of stuttering are characterized by persistent stuttering-like disfluencies, which involve repetitions, prolongations, or blocks. These may emerge suddenly, cyclically or gradually. However, stuttering is a complex condition that involves more than observable stuttering behaviors. For instance, parents may notice that, shortly after the onset of stuttering, a child may behave (i.e., react) differently. The loss of communicative control may lead to behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and physiological reactions.

How can I improve my stammering speech?

There are some techniques that can briefly alleviate severe stammering. However, stammering is much more complex than that, thus any effective and sustainable treatment must address more than just the observable speech disfluencies (i.e., the fluency dimension). Addressing stammering as a whole (i.e., fluency and the non-observable stammering behaviors, such as the associated negative emotions) is the key to helping people reducing the impact of stammering in their lives.

How can I speak fluently without stammering?

There are some techniques that can briefly alleviate severe stuttering. These are called fluency shaping techniques and their first objective is to promote a more fluent speech. Subsequently, these techniques focus on transforming fluency into a ‘normal-sounding’ speech. However, therapies that focus only on fluency shaping understate (or even ignore) the importance of the behavioral component, which encompasses the desensitizion and acceptance of your stammering and reduction of avoidance behaviors. If you do not work on these different spheres, your treatment will be incomplete and you risk a big relapse when you are faced with a more difficult stuttering moment. Besides, mastering these techniques can be so mentally demanding that you cannot possible pay equal attention to both the conversation and your speech.

Is there any surgery for stuttering?

There is no surgery for stuttering, but there is treatment. The professional who is designated for this intervention is the Speech and Language Therapist specialized in Fluency Disorders.

How can I reduce my stuttering at home?

Stuttering treatment is not just about reducing disfluencies, and there is not a perfect “recipe”. Furthermore, looking for simplistic treatments such as a list of exercises to practice at home does not fulfill the complexity of stuttering. Treatment should be individualized and under monitoring of a Speech Language Therapist.

How do I stop my child from stuttering?

There is not a magical answer for this question. It is important to focus on assuring your child does not feel a negative impact towards his/her stuttering, rather than “stopping stuttering”. Depending on the age of the child, and other factors, s/he might recover from stuttering. To clarify: preschool age children have a good possibility that stuttering disappears; however, as of school age, this chance is very unlikely and it is always advisable to schedule an assessment with a Speech Language Therapist to help you better understand how to help your child.

There are some strategies that parents can practice, in order to help children who stutter (CWS) to be more fluent, such as: reducing your pace when talking to CWS; adding more pauses to speech; listening fully; not interrupting nor making comments like “breathe before you talk, relax”; asking family members to take turns while talking and listening; avoid making questions one after the other.

How do I stop my 3-year-old from stuttering?

There are some strategies that parents can practice, in order to help children to be more fluent, such as: reducing your pace when talking to them; adding more pauses to speech; listening fully; not interrupting nor making comments like “breathe before you talk, relax”; asking family members to take turns while talking and listening; avoid making questions one after the other.

Studies show that, as many as 75-to-80% of preschool children who stutter, will recover. This recovery can be aided (with the help of clinical intervention) or unaided (without any treatment). However, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with a specialized Speech Language Therapist, who will evaluate the prognosis and the need for direct treatment, as well as give parents indirect strategies to help the child.

What are the effects of stuttering?

The effects of stuttering are different in each individual. However, there are common reported effects like: trouble in communicating with others, avoidance behaviors, low self-esteem, anxiety towards day-to-day social situations, affected quality of life, negative influence on job opportunities, amongst others.

How do you treat mild stuttering?

It depends on how much it affects the person’s quality of life. Some people have a mild stuttering, but with a severe impact on emotions and cognitions, which limits them in their daily life. Others have a mild stuttering and a mild impact. Taking this into account, a specialized clinician chooses the therapeutic approach that best fits the patient. If the stuttering and its impact are both mild, Fluency Shaping techniques might be a good option.

What are stuttering modification techniques?

Stuttering Modification Therapy’s goal is to train people who stutter to stutter more fluently (easily) instead of being fluent. It reduces struggle and avoidance behaviors, which perpetuate stuttering, and modify the stuttering behaviors. Modification techniques are: Cancellation, Pull-out and Preparatory-sets.

How do I start stuttering therapy?

Once you are ready for a change and motivated to seek help, look for a specialized Speech and Language Therapist and book an Assessment. At iStutter Center we have specialized and experienced therapists who can provide a preliminary assessment as well as online sessions (in case they are recommended after the referred assessment). Email us and we will be happy to reach back to you.