ESCAPING THE REPEAT CYCLE : A BRIEF ANATOMY OF STUTTERING



What actually is Stuttering?

  • Stuttering is a speech problem which occurs when the speaker is not able to maintain a smooth forward flow of speech and experiences recurrent blocks in the production of speech sounds in conversational speech, particularly when excited or under psychological stress.
  • According to Wikipedia, Stuttering is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the person who stutters is unable to produce sounds.

What are the types of Stuttering?

There are three types of stuttering:

  • Developmental: It is most common in children younger than 5 years old as they develop their speech and language abilities and usually resolves without treatment; more common in males than females.
  • Neurogenic: It is caused by signal abnormalities between the brain and nerves/muscles.
  • Psychogenic: It originates in the part of the brain that governs thinking and reasoning.

What causes Stuttering?

Researchers are still studying the underlying causes of persistent stuttering. A combination of factors may be involved. Possible causes of persistent stuttering include:

  • Abnormalities in speech motor control : Some evidence indicates that abnormalities in speech motor control, such as timing, sensory and motor coordination, are implicated.
  • Genetics :Stuttering tends to run in families. It appears that stuttering can result from inherited (genetic) abnormalities in the language centers of the brain.
  • Medical conditions : Stuttering can sometimes result from a stroke, trauma or other brain injury.
  • Mental health problems : In rare, isolated cases, emotional trauma can lead to stuttering.

What are some of the common signs and symptoms of Stuttering?

Some common signs and symptoms associated with Stuttering includes the following :

  • Problems starting a word, phrase or sentence.
  • Hesitation before certain sounds have to be uttered.
  • Repeating a sound, word or syllable
  • Certain speech sounds may be prolonged
  • Speech may come out in spurts
  • Words with certain sounds are substituted for others (circumlocution)
  • Rapid blinking (when trying to talk)
  • Trembling lips (when trying to talk)
  • Foot may tap (when trying to talk)
  • Trembling jaw (when trying to talk)
  • Face and/or upper body tighten up (when trying to talk)
  • Some may appear out of breath when talking
  • Interjection, such as “uhm” used more frequently before attempting to utter certain sounds.

How can I cure Stuttering?

Some aspects of stuttering are obvious to everyone, while others are not. To have a comprehensive and reliable diagnosis the patient should be examined by a well-qualified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP).

The SLP will note how many speech disfluencies the person produces in various situations, as well as the types of disfluencies. How the person copes with disfluencies will also be assessed, how the person reacts to such factors as teasing, which can exacerbate their problems.

The SLP may perform some other assessments, such as speech rate and language skills – this will depend on the patient’s age and history. The SLP will analyze all the data and determine whether there is a fluency disorder. If there is one, the SLP will determine to what extent the disorder affects the patient’s ability to function and take part in daily activities.

Assessments for older children and adults are aimed at gauging the severity of the disorder, and what impact it has on the person’s ability to communicate and function appropriately in daily activities.
Treatments for people who stutter tend to be aimed at teaching the person skills, strategies, and behaviors that help oral communication. This may include:

1. Fluency shaping therapy:

  • Controlling monitoring speech rate – this may involve practicing smooth, fluent speech at very slow speed, using short sentences and phrases. The person is taught to stretch vowels and consonants, while trying to secure continuous airflow. With practice the person gradually utters smooth speech at higher speed, and with longer sentences and phrases. Patients have higher long-term success rates if the sessions with the SLP are followed up regularly – this helps prevent relapses.
  • Breathing control – as the patient practices prolonged speech he/she also learns how to regulate breathing. Added to this is operant conditioning (controlling breathing, as well as phonation, and articulation (lips, jaw and tongue).

2.Stuttering modification therapy:

The aim here is to modify the stuttering so that it is easier and requires less of an effort, rather than eliminating it. This therapy works on the principle that if anxiety exacerbates stuttering, using easier stuttering with less avoidance and fear will alleviate the stuttering. Charles Van Riper developed Block Modification Therapy in 1973; it includes four stages:

  • Stage 1 (Identification) – the therapist and the patient identify the core behaviors, secondary behaviors, and feelings and attitudes that accompany the stuttering.
  • Stage 2 (Desensitization) – the patient freezes stuttering behavior in an attempt to reduce fear and anxiety – this involves confronting difficult sounds, words and situations (rather than avoiding them), and stuttering intentionally (voluntary stuttering).
  • Stage 3 (Modification) – the patient learns easy stuttering. He/she learns how to apply: a) ‘cancellations’ – stopping a dysfluency, pausing for a moment, and then repeating the word, b) ‘pull-outs’- pulling out of a dysfluency into fluent speech, c) and ‘preparatory sets’ – anticipating words that cause stuttering and using ‘easy stuttering’ on those words.
  • Stage 4 (Stabilization) – the patient prepares practice assignments, makes preparatory sets and pull-outs automatic, and changes the way he/she sees himself/herself from being a stutterer to being a person who speaks fluently most of the time, but stutters mildly occasionally.

3.Electronic fluency devices

Some patients have responded well to this type of treatment, while others have not.

The patients hear their voice differently. Altered auditory feedback effect can be done by speaking in unison with another person (as groups of people do when they are praying or singing), and blocking out the stutterer’s voice while talking – this is called masking.

Some ear-pieces can echo the speaker’s voice so that they feel they are talking in unison with someone else. Most stutterers can sing flowingly without stuttering – it seems that talking in unison with someone else often has the same effect as singing on a stutterer.

Does anybody who stutters succeed in life?

Friend, in our total span of life, we face several problems. Stuttering is one of those problems. But we must believe without ourselves that stuttering or any other problem, that you have, cannot supress you from achieving your true potential.

Remember, it does not matter how hard you get hit, it matters how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. You are better and much stronger than your problems. I am sure you will overcome your problem and achieve your true potential in your life.

Below is a list of famous people who stuttered :
Aesop – Greek storyteller
Alan Turing – Computer science founder
Aneurin Bevan – Labour Party MP and Minister
Anthony Quinn – Actor (Zorba the Greek)
Aristotle – Philosopher
Arnold Bennett – British writer/journalist
Bruce Oldfield – British fashion designer
Carly Simon – Singer (You’re so vain)
Charles Darwin – Scientist/Naturalist
Claudius Cesar – Roman Emperor.
Demosthenes – Greek orator
Sir Jonathan Miller – British theatre/opera director
Elizabeth Bowen – Author
Erasmus Darwin – Scientist/Doctor, grandfather of Charles Darwin
Field Marshall Lord Carver – British military leader/author
Gareth Gates – English pop star
George Washington – American President
Harvey Keitel – Actor (Life on Mars)
Isaac Newton – Scientist
Jack Harold Paar – US comedian & TV host
James Stewart – Actor (It’s a wonderful life)
John Montague – Poet/Author
Joseph Priestley – Scientist (discovered oxygen)
Kenneth Tynan – British theatre critic, writer
Kim Philby – British double agent for the Soviets
King Charles I – England 1625-1649
King George VI – UK 1937-1952
Lenin – Russian revolutionary
Lewis Carroll – Author (Alice in Wonderland)
Louis II , King of France, 877-879
Marion Davies – Famous silent-movie actress
Michael Bentine – British comedian, script-writer and TV star
Michael Ramsey – Archbishop of Canterbury 1961-1974
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra – Author
Nevil Shute (1900-1960) – Author
Philip Larkin – Poet, author, critic.
Raymond Massey – Actor (High treason)
Richard Condon – Author
Robert Boyle (1627-1691) – Scientist
Robert Heinlein – Author
Rowan Atkinson – Actor (Mr. Bean)
Sam Neill – Actor (Jurassic Park)
Samuel L. Jackson – (Pulp Fiction)
Somerset Maugham – Author
Theodore Roosevelt – American President
Thomas Becket – Archbishop of Canterbury 1162-1170
Thomas Jefferson – American President
Walter H. Annenberg – Publisher, diplomat, philanthropist
John Updike – Author
Bill Withers – Singer, songwriter (Ain’t no sunshine)

      _____________________________

In case we are meeting for the first time,

Hi! I am Kingshuk Kundu,17, ‘A student of Life’.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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6 Replies to “ESCAPING THE REPEAT CYCLE : A BRIEF ANATOMY OF STUTTERING”

  1. Hi Kingshuk! Thank you for stopping by The Little Red Wagon blog and liking my post
    https://thelittleredwagonblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/sunday-wonder-light-joy
    You might enjoy reading the previous post that Sunday was the sequel to:
    https://thelittleredwagonblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/saturday-silent-dark-cold
    btw….you may want to check out the link to your site—when I clicked on your pic it took me to a page that said you deleted the blog. I was able to find you by using one of the links that wordpress sent to your blog and that led me to this site! Glad to be able to find you and say thank you! 🙂
    God bless you! Seek Him and He will be found!
    Marcy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank for sharing this. I’m 25 and I’ve been stuttering since I was 4. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it prayer; patience; and perseverance I have grown so much in spite of it. I knew a lot of famous people who stuttered, but I didn’t know former U.S. presidents stuttered as well.

    Like

  3. I grew up with a horrible stutter… I even clicked (back of the throat). Thank God I overcame it. Stuttering is something that debilitates you. I still may do it every blue moon. All in all, great article.

    Like

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