Stuttering – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Stuttering is a disorder that affects the quality of speech. It is a speech disorder that causes significant problems with the delivery of speech. People with stuttering disorder may repeat the same word or prolong a word or phrase during their speech. Stuttering problem is common among young children when they learn to speak. With proper training it can be overgrown during the course of development. Stammering or stuttering disorder can become chronic (lifelong) for some people and it can affect their self esteem also. Stress or anxiety can worsen the stuttering symptoms. Stuttering can be managed by speech language therapy and individual counseling and behavior therapy. Stuttering can be related to social anxiety disorder also.

Stuttering Symptoms :

Children or adults affected with stuttering disorder will have difficulty in starting a word or sentence. They would repeat particular syllable or word frequently. They would prolong a word or sound for few seconds. Some people would abruptly stop while talking and others would add extra words before moving to next word. It may cause tightness of muscle on the face, facial tics, rapid blinking of eye and mild tremors on their lips. These symptoms may worsen if they are stressed or tired. Due to stuttering some people may develop anxiety while talking and avoid situations that warrant talking to strangers. Casual talking on the phone can cause significant problem for them.


Causes Of Stuttering :

Exact cause of stuttering disorder is not known. It is believed to be caused by various factors like genetics (due to abnormalities in genes), defect in speech motor control, and certain medical conditions like stroke or trauma and due to rare mental health issues.

Risk Factors :

A person having close relatives who stutter, a child with delayed development increases the risk factor for stuttering. Males are more prone to develop stuttering than females, for reasons unknown.

Diagnosis :

Parents can observe their children while talking to check if they are stuttering. You can ask him to read aloud to detect any difference in speech. Young children would have problems in talking during the stage of learning to speak and you need to worry only if it is long term. Doctors would ask series of questions about their relationships, work and attitude for adults who stutter. They would find out if there is any mental health issues involved.


Treatment :

Combination of various methods is used for treating stuttering disorder. One method may be effective for one person and not for others. Experts would give therapy to talk slowly using controlled fluency method. You can make use of electronic devices while speaking that would help in slowing your speech to prevent stuttering. Cognitive behavior therapy CBT is helpful to change the way you think and behave. This is very useful in resolving situations of stress and anxiety.

Parents can identify which method is suitable for their child and follow it effectively to improve his speech. Encourage your child and praise him which helps in growing his self esteem. Don’t criticize your child because he stutters while talking since this would affect his overall development. You try to accept what he is and find out ways to improve his performance.

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