Stuttering — also called stammering or childhood-onset fluency disorder — is a speech disorder that involves frequent and significant problems with normal fluency and flow of speech. Stuttering is more than just disfluencies. Stuttering also may include tension and negative feelings about talking.
We all have times when we do not speak smoothly. We may add “uh” or “you know” to what we say. Or, we may say a sound or word more than once. These are called disfluencies.
People who stutter may have more disfluencies and different types of disfluencies. They may repeat parts of words (repetitions), stretch a sound out for a long time (prolongations), or have a hard time getting a word out (blocks).People who stutter know what they want to say, but have difficulty saying it. For example, they may repeat or prolong a word, a syllable, or a consonant or vowel sound. Or they may pause during speech because they’ve reached a problematic word or sound.
There are three types of stuttering –
Most common in children younger than 5 years old, particularly males, this type occurs as they develop their speech and language abilities. It usually resolves without treatment.
Signal abnormalities between the brain and nerves or muscles cause this type.
This type originates in the part of the brain that governs thinking and reasoning.
Stuttering signs and symptoms may include –
• Difficulty starting a word, phrase or sentence
• Prolonging a word or sounds within a word
• Repetition of a sound, syllable or word
• Brief silence for certain syllables or words, or pauses within a word (broken word)
• Addition of extra words such as “um” if difficulty moving to the next word is anticipated
• Excess tension, tightness, or movement of the face or upper body to produce a word
• Anxiety about talking
• Limited ability to effectively communicate
The speech difficulties of stuttering may be accompanied by:
• Rapid eye blinks
• Tremors of the lips or jaw
• Facial tics
• Head jerks
• Clenching fists
Stuttering may be worse when the person is excited, tired or under stress, or when feeling self-conscious, hurried or pressured. Situations such as speaking in front of a group or talking on the phone can be particularly difficult for people who stutter.
However, most people who stutter can speak without stuttering when they talk to themselves and when they sing or speak in unison with someone else.
Causes & Risk Factors –
Stuttering usually starts between 2 and 6 years of age. Many children go through normal periods of disfluency lasting less than 6 months. Stuttering lasting longer than this may need treatment.
There is no one cause of stuttering. Possible causes include the following –
• Family history. Many people who stutter have a family member who also stutters.
• Brain differences. People who stutter may have small differences in the way their brain works during speech.
You cannot always know which children will continue to stutter, but the following factors may place them at risk –
• Gender. Boys are more likely to continue stuttering than girls. Data are currently limited to individuals who identify as male or female.
• Age when stuttering began. Children who start stuttering at age 3½ or later are more likely to continue stuttering.
• Family recovery patterns. Children with family members who continued to stutter are also more likely to continue.
Stuttering can lead to –
• Problems communicating with others
• Being anxious about speaking
• Not speaking or avoiding situations that require speaking
• Loss of social, school, or work participation and success
• Being bullied or teased
• Low self-esteem
A speech language pathologist can help diagnose stuttering. No invasive testing is necessary. Typically, you or your child can describe stuttering symptoms, and a speech language pathologist can evaluate the degree to which you or your child stutters.
Not all children who stutter will require treatment because developmental stuttering usually resolves with time. Speech therapy is an option for some children.
▪︎ Speech Therapy
Speech therapy can reduce interruptions in speech and improve your child’s self-esteem. Therapy often focuses on controlling speech patterns by encouraging your child to monitor their rate of speech, breath support, and laryngeal tension.Parents can also use therapeutic techniques to help their child feel less self-conscious about stuttering. Listening patiently is important, as is setting aside the time for talking. A speech therapist can help parents learn when it’s appropriate to correct a child’s stuttering.
▪︎ Other Treatments
Electronic devices may be used to treat stuttering. One type encourages children to speak more slowly by playing back an altered recording of their voice when they speak quickly. Other devices are worn, like hearing aids, and they can create distracting background noise that’s known to help reduce stuttering.
Whether or not you decide to seek treatment, creating a low-stress environment can help reduce stuttering. Support groups for you and your child are also available to help.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda, it is to believe that the body is controlled by three different Dosha (energies) which are Vata, pitta, Kapha. This dosha help in maintaining balance in the body if these doshas get disturbed this will create many health problems.
In Ayurveda stammering is mainly caused by Vaak pravritti which is an important function of Vata dosha to precise Udana Vayu, a subtype of Vata dosh.
The Indriya which is responsible for speech is Vaak indriya (tongue) that acts passively after receiving a command from Shira (head).
Some helpful medicines –
• Ashwagandha is a multiple benefit drug. Due to a decrease in a healthy lifestyle, many problems like stress induces disorders which are anxiety, stress, depression many neurological and chronic diseases can be treated with Ashwagandha. Hence Ashwagandha capsules are beneficial in stammering.
• Brahmi helps in increasing lifespan and concentration, boosting brain, and helps to maintain vocal cords.
• Vacha, also known as ‘sweet flag’. It helps in treating many brain disorders. It is very beneficial in speaking ability, speech coordination, and memory power.
Other Tips –
• Start Speaking Slowly
Practice speaking slowly which helps you improve your speech.
Try to read the book fast as possible, in starting you will make a lot of mistakes but make a regular habit it will give you feel of words in your mouth which will improve your speaking power.
• Breathing Exercise
Take a deep breath to inhale and exhale through your mouth it will help in reducing tension in muscles during the speech.
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