Stuttering is a speech disorder that affects three million adults in the United States.
Facts About Stuttering:
- Stuttering is a disruption in the normal flow of speaking characterized by repetitions, or prolongations of sounds or complete blocks of sounds.
- About one percent of any population stutters. That means in the United States there are at least three million people who stutter.
- Research has shown that stuttering is likely a physiological disorder not caused by psychological factors or the actions of others.
- People who stutter have a significantly slower ability to turn their voice on and off quickly.
- People who stutter use their brain in a different way to speak than people who don’t stutter.
- Three times more males stutter than females.
- Stuttering is genetic and runs in families.
- People who stutter don’t stutter when they:
- Speak along with a group saying the same words (choral speaking)
Therapies To Treat Stuttering:
- Stuttering Modification – Developed in the 1930’s – the goal is to learn to stutter more easily and feel OK with your stuttering.
- Fluency Shaping – Developed in the 1970’s – Prolonged Speech programs replace stuttered speech with stutter-free speech.
- SpeechEasy Device – Developed in 2002 – Feeds back the sound of your own voice at a slight delay and frequency shift using the choral speaking principal.
- Lidcombe Program – Developed in Australia recently. Parents of preschoolers are trained to reward fluency in the home environment.
Talking to People Who Stutter
- Try not to finish sentences or fill in words. No one likes words put in his or her mouth. Problems can also multiply if you guess wrong.
- Avoid suggestions such as “slow down,” “relax,” or “take a breath, just think about what you wnat to say”. If these suggestions worked, the person wouldn’t stutter.
- Wait patiently until your conversational partner is finished speaking. Maintain eye contact and try not to look embarrassed or alarmed.
- Talk about stuttering openly. It should not be a taboo subject. Your friend or family member will appreciate your interest in the subject.
Stuttering Resources Links
The Stuttering Home Page
Tons of information on stuttering, therapies, research, support groups etc.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
National organization of Speech Pathologists and Audiologists
National Stuttering Association
Support and self-help for people who stutter with local chapter meetings
New Stuttering Therapy Program using a vocal feedback on the iPad.
FRIENDS is the only national organization dedicated solely to empowering young people who stutter and their families