Stuttering, stammering, and dysfluency, are all labels for speech that is characterized by repetition or prolongation of speech sounds at the individual sound, syllable or word level. These breaks in the flow of speech can be severe, moderate, or mild; happen most of the time or hardly at all. Most often it is heard at the beginning of sentences, but it can occur anywhere along the sequence of words. Frequently there are other behaviors accompanying these instances of stuttering, such as eye blinking or grimacing. Other than traumatic brain injury or stroke, there is no confirmed explanation for why some people stutter.
Early Childhood Stuttering
Stuttering is common in young children as they develop language, most will outgrow but not all will. It is, unfortunately, not possible to predict, based on severity or length of time they’ve been stuttering. Years ago, parents and professionals were taught to not refer to the child’s stuttering for fear it would create more stuttering, but that thinking has changed. Fortunately, with the advent of The Lidcombe Program of Early Childhood Stuttering which involves a proactive, parent-involved program in which the child is reinforced for “smooth” speech along with infrequent corrections of dysfluency, children have had high success rates of eliminating their stuttering behaviors before they reach school age. Carole Kornsweig is trained in the Lidcombe program, and it is offered at CLK Speech.
Stuttering in the School aged and older
Children over 6 or 7, as well as adults, who continue to stutter will need to undergo fluency enhancing treatment to learn to control stuttering using various techniques such as fluency shaping, which involves easier speaking, easy onset of voice, lighter contacts, and coordinated breathing. Regardless of technique, the most important thing is for the individual who stutters to be comfortable with speaking and maintain or regain positive self-esteem regardless of whether they are fluent or not at a given time.