Facts About Stuttering & Speech Fluency

May is better speech and hearing month! In this month, we increase awareness of different treatments that can be provided for the various types of disorders that affect speech or language.

 Speech

This month I would like to draw attention to one speech disorder that I truly have a passion for:  stuttering.  Most people have an immediate reaction to this word.  They have a preconceived notion of what stuttering is or is not.  What most people do not know is that doctors in the United States have been trying to determine how to treat or manage stuttering (or fluency disorders) since the 1880s.  (http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~d...

Stuttering & Fluency Therapy

Fluency therapy today focuses on:

  1. Identifying whether a child or adult exhibits characteristics that are considered “stuttering-like” disfluencies
  2. Determining the best approach to address these disfluencies
  3. Addressing any under-lying emotions caused by the disfluencies
  4. Training the skills necessary to modify one’s speech to sound more fluent.  

Treatment is never considered an immediate fix and it can take years to work with a person until they are able to master the strategies.  But fluency therapy is more than just addressing the stuttering, it involves working with the person and any underlying emotions attached to this aspect of their lives.  Many children or adults who stutter develop negative feelings about it.  As therapists, this is an area that we dive into and attempt to build a different view of what the stuttering is and how other individuals deal with it.  This can increase the confidence of our patients and their success in using the treatment strategies.  Success is all about “wanting” something to happen.  If a patient does not “want” to participate, they will not improve.  Motivation is a big factor for treatment for stuttering.

Let’s dive into some aspects of stuttering that you may be unaware of! 

Risk Factors

First, there are several risk factors that indicate if a person will persist (keep a stutter) past childhood: (Taken from https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecif... )

  • A child is male
  • Family history of persistent stuttering
  • How long the child has been stuttering (Is it greater than 6-12 months?)
  • Age that the stuttering started (after the age of 3 ½)
  • If the child has other speech and language disorders

If there is more than one risk factor present, the child is more likely to keep the disfluency.  The good news is that speech therapy can help! 

Therapy Types
  • Fluency Shaping- This approach helps the person “speak more fluently”.  It attempts to establish more natural speech fluency using airflow and slowing of the rate of speech.
  • Stuttering Modification- This approach helps the person “stutter more fluently” using a set of specific tools to work on reducing disfluencies in speech.

The type of therapy is chosen based on each individual person’s needs.

Other Types of Disfluency

Finally, stuttering is not the only form of disfluency.  There is also a rarer disfluency that is called cluttering.  Cluttering is a bit different from stuttering because it seems like the person is talking extremely fast and is making many errors in speech sounds.  The funny thing about cluttering is that most people that do it have little awareness about it.  This is completely the opposite of stuttering!

I'm Worried about Stuttering or Cluttering. What Do I Do??

For more information, visit our website at https://www.silverliningsclinic.com/speech-therapy-fluency-disorders or The Stuttering Foundation at https://www.stutteringhelp.org/   There is much more information on disfluencies available, but too much for a short blog post!  We are always happy to provide more information and consult if needed.  


Please call our office at 256-489-1583 or email us if you are interested in setting up an appointment for yourself or your child to discuss your own personal speech concerns.  

Happy Better Speech and Hearing Month!!

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Brooke Sorrells, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Reference Not Previously Listed:  An Advanced Review of Speech-Language Pathology; Preparation for PRAXIS and Comprehensive Examination, Third Edition; Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, M. N. Hegdge.

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