Stuttering and Fluency

Image of a boy speaking

What causes stuttering?

There is no clear cause for stuttering, or fluency disorder. Some possible causes include family history of stuttering, or differences in the brain. 75% of children who demonstrate stuttering behaviors experience developmental stuttering, which is likely to correct on its own without intervention.

Children typically begin stuttering between 2 and 6 years-old. A stutter that begins after age 3 ½ is more likely to persist. Other risk factors include:

  • Gender: there is a higher incidence of fluency disorder in males.
  • Family history of spontaneous recovery: a child is less likely to need speech therapy to manage stuttering if their family members demonstrated stuttering that resolved on its own.
  • Temperament: while a child’s mood, personality, or stress levels are not the root cause of stuttering, they can make moments of stuttering occur more often.
  • Big life events: stuttering may be brought on by a rapid burst in language acquisition, or a life event such as moving to a new place.

What does stuttering sound like?

Moments of stuttering, or “disfluencies,” can be:

  • Blocks: when there is difficulty getting a sound out, e.g. “I want a…..banana.”
  • Repetitions: when a sound, syllable, word, or phrase is repeated, e.g. “I-I-I-I want a banana,” “I want a ba-ba-ba-banana.”
  • Prolongations: when a sound is held for a long time with difficulty proceeding, e.g. “Iiiiiii want a banana.
  • Interjections: when there are very frequent occurrences of fillers such as “uh” or “um,” e.g. “I um um I want um uh uh uh uh I want uh banana.”
  • Revisions: when the speaker abandons an utterance and begins another often, e.g. “Can I have- I want a c- Mom, I want to eat- Please- Can I- I want banana.”

When to seek help with stuttering?

  • The stuttering develops after age 3 ½
  • There is a family history of stuttering
  • The stuttering begins to happen more
  • The stuttering has persisted consistently for more than 6 months
  • Another speech or language disorder is present
  • Your child appears to struggle to speak, or becomes visibly frustrated by his or her own speech

How can Expressable help?

Fluency disorders require a skilled speech-language pathologist to manage and treat. While there is no “cure” for stuttering, stuttering modification techniques and fluency shaping can help individuals learn to manage their stutter and communicate with greater ease and less frustration.

Stuttering therapy is perfect for online teletherapy, as clients are able to be matched with an experienced therapist and not just whichever therapist lives closest to their home. For children who stutter, teletherapy allows the whole family to be educated and involved in enhancing treatment outcomes. For adults who stutter, individualized treatment plans and home exercise programs are designed to help meet functional goals.

If you or a family member are experiencing difficulties with stuttering, contact Expressable for a free consultation and get started with your personalized therapy plan.

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