Stuttering is a speech disorder that affects three million adults in the United States. Therefore stuttering information is important to this segment of the population.
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 so 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. Furthermore, scientific studies have shown that:
- 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.
- Lidcombe Program – Developed in Australia recently. Parents of preschoolers are trained to reward fluency in the home environment.
Talking to People Who Stutter
Here are some tips when you have a conversation with a person who stutters:
- Try not to finish sentences or fill in words. No one likes words put in his or her mouth and problems can also multiply if you guess wrong.
- Avoid suggestions such as “slow down,” “relax,” or “take a breath, just think about what you want 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 Information Resources Links
There are many web pages that provide useful information:
The Stuttering Home Page
There are tons of stuttering information, 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