National Stuttering Awareness Week
National Stuttering Awareness Week is from May 9th through the 15th. More than 70 million people in the world stutter, with over 3 million living in the United States. Here are three interesting facts about stuttering.
1. What is stuttering? Stuttering is a speech-language disorder that impacts ease of communication. It can include repetition of words or sounds, blocks that are audible or inaudible, and physical concomitants behaviors like facial movements and movements of extremities. Stuttering is a multifactorial disorder, meaning it stems from different factors, including genetics, neurophysiology, speech-language development (e.g., advanced, delayed, or disordered speech-language abilities), personality factors (e.g., temperament), and environment (e.g., face-paced, competition for talking time).
2. Stuttering Varies. Stuttering differs from person to person. Notably, occurrences of stuttering can also vary within individuals. Some people report having an easy time communicating in conversation but experience a significant increase in disfluencies when reading aloud; others may report the complete opposite. For some individuals, stuttering may only occur when they are engaged in certain speaking situations. For others, stuttering may be very consistent over time. It is important to know that variability in stuttering is common and that the way this disorder affects people can vary on an individual basis. This variability may be related to the multifactorial nature of the communication disorder. That is, the factor impacting the speech fluency of a person could vary, resulting in variability of speech itself.
3. Can a speech-language pathologist (SLP) cure stuttering? There are no guaranteed “cures” for stuttering. However, there are many treatment approaches that SLPs can use when working with people who stutter, ranging from early preschool-age to adulthood. For young children who stutter, early intervention can be especially beneficial. Adults who stutter may also benefit from therapy by learning ways to manage and cope with their communication disorder. If you’ve tried speech therapy in the past but feel it “didn’t work” or wasn’t beneficial for you, it may be worth seeking out services from a new provider. SLPs can take different approaches to stuttering therapy, and due to the individual differences present in stuttering, variability in therapy services is also essential. What “works” for one person may not “work” for another. It can be important to find an SLP that is knowledgeable about stuttering and a good fit for your needs.
Stuttering facts and information summarized from the Stuttering Foundation of America.
Photo by Giulia May