What is Stuttering?
Stuttering is a speech disorder where the person knows what he/she wants to say but at the time may be unable to say it because of disruptions to fluency. In most cases a stutter is not acquired but developmental, adults presenting with a Stutter usually have had it since childhood.
It is more than just talking…
Stuttering is more than dysfluent speech: It has an emotional and social impact as well. Unlike most other disorders, stuttering often is a source of shame and embarrassment that prompts stutterers to avoid speaking situations and refrain from discussing their stuttering.
Think of an Iceberg! We only see roughly 10% of an iceberg. The rest of the iceberg, the 90 percent below the waterline, is invisible. And that is where the emotional baggage lies. All those emotions of fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, hopeless, isolation, denial.
Seeking help from a Speech and Language Therapist
Speech therapy is not “one size fits all.” Speech therapists use different approaches to treat stuttering and often combine several methods to meet individual needs.
A speech and Language Therapist will carry out an in-depth assessment with the adult who stutters and discuss a suitable treatment approach. The Speech and Language Therapist works to help people who stutter lessen the impact or severity of dysfluency when it occurs. The goal is not so much to eliminate disruptions in fluency-which many people find difficult to do-but to minimize their impact upon communication when they do. The aim is not for total fluency but to help the client stammer more easily.
How to support a person who stutters
Stuttering may look like an easy problem that can be solved with some simple advice, but for many adults, it can be a chronic life-long disorder. Here are some ways that you, the listener, canhelp.
- Don’t make remarks like: “Slow down,” “Take a breath,” or “Relax.” Such simplistic advice can be felt as demeaning and is not helpful.
- Let the person know by your manner that you are listening to what he or she says — not how they say it.
- Maintain natural eye contact and wait patiently and naturally until the person is finished.
- You may be tempted to finish sentences or fill in words. Try not to. Use a relatively relaxed rate in your own speech — but not so slow as to sound unnatural. This promotes good communication.
- Be aware that those who stutter usually have more trouble controlling their speech on the telephone. Please be patient in this situation. If you pick up the phone and hear nothing, be sure it is not a person who stutters trying to start the conversation before you hang up.
- Speak in an unhurried way — but not so slowly as to sound unnatural. This promotes good communication with everyone
Here at Spectrum Health, we have a team of highly skilled Speech & Language Therapists who are very experienced when it comes to treating Stutter in both adults and children. If you would like to book an appointment with one of our team please click here. If you have any questions please ask our Patient Services team,who will be more than happy to assist you.