October 22, 2017, will be International Stuttering Awareness Day this year. Many people who stutter, therapists who work with stuttering and stuttering researchers use this day to pass along accurate information about stuttering and stuttering therapy. There are many myths about stuttering that are still believed by many people who stutter and parents of stutterers today. Here are a few of these myths that I regularly hear…
- Stuttering is caused by parents over-correcting their preschoolers while they are learning to talk. This theory was popular in the 1930s through the 1960s. My own mother was told that she was the cause of my stuttering by an “expert” stuttering therapist.
- Stuttering is caused by scarring, tickling, traumatic events etc. – Stuttering is a physiological problem in the brain that people who stutter are probably born with.
- Stuttering was learned or “caught” from another person. – The person who stutters has their own physiological difference which underly the stuttering.
Stuttering therapy in the 1930s consisted of techniques to help the person stutter more easily. They believed that stuttering was an emotional problem because people looked nervous and anxious when they stuttered. Actually, anyone who could not say their own name when asked probably would have a reaction to the stress and anxiety. If that reaction was not present under the circumstances, that would be abnormal. Now we replace the stuttering completely with a new way of talking. – Stutter-Free Speech.
Since then, research science has carefully studied the act of stuttering and the people who stutter. We now know that stuttering is a physiological difference in the brains of stutterers and non-stutterers. Brain scans using EEG and MRI show this clearly. They are even beginning to identify the areas of the brain that at most involved with stuttering.
Research has also shown that the best outcome with stuttering is to replace the stuttering completely with a new way of talking. The Stutter-Free Speech Program here at Power Stuttering Therapy does exactly that.
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