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Fluency Disorders & Stuttering

People who stutter know what they want to say, but have difficulty saying it. They may repeat, prolong or pause before a word, a syllable or consonant/vowel sound.

Stuttering is common among young children as a normal part of learning to speak. Young children may stutter when their speech and language abilities are not developed enough to keep up with what they want to say, or, when they are acquiring a “burst” of language. Most children outgrow this developmental stuttering.

Sometimes, however, stuttering is a chronic condition that persists into adulthood. This type of problem with the normal flow and efficiency of speech can have an impact on self-esteem and interactions with other people.

Children and adults who stutter may benefit from such treatments as speech therapy, using electronic devices to improve speech fluency or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Stuttering signs and symptoms may include:

    • Difficulty starting a word, phrase or sentence
    • Prolonging a word or sounds within a word
    • Repeating a sound, syllable or word or adding extra words (“um”) 
    • Pausing for some syllables or words or within a word (broken word)
    • Tension or movement of face or upper body to produce a word
    • Anxiety about talking
    • Limited ability to communicate effectively

Speech difficulties of stuttering may be accompanied by:

    • Rapid eye blinks
    • Tremors of the lips or jaw
    • Facial tics or head jerks
    • Clenching fists

Stuttering may worsen when a person is excited, tired or stressed—or when feeling self-conscious, hurried or pressured. Particularly difficult are situations such as speaking in front of a group or talking on the phone. 

Most who stutter can speak without stuttering when:

    • Talking to themselves
    • Singing
    • Speaking in unison with someone else

Read more about speech & language disorders and treatment options at CFI…



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