Sometimes, we tend to mumble words because of fear, anxiety, shyness, cold weather, or just a way of sarcasm. That’s okay, for as long as we get back into our normal straight communication. Unfortunately, not all people can have clear communication. I am very sure that you know someone who think as stupid or socially inept just because he has unintelligent speech. That’s not actually the case. This defines the communication disorder called stuttering.

What stuttering?  Maybe he’s just shy or crazy.

No. Stuttering is a neurological disorder and is not a reflection of a person’s character or attitude.

Stuttering or stammering is a speech disorder in which sounds, syllables, or words are repeated or prolonged, disrupting the normal flow of speech. These speech disruptions may be accompanied by struggling behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips. Stuttering can make it difficult to communicate with other people, which often affects a person’s quality of life.[1] This is where the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak.[2]

What causes stuttering?

There is no known cause of stuttering. A number of factors can contribute to the development of stuttering. Genetics is one cause.[3][4] Children who have first-degree relatives who stutter are three times as likely to develop a stutter.[3][5] There is evidence that stuttering is more common in children who also have concomitant speech, language, learning or motor difficulties.[3][5] Robert West, a pioneer of genetic studies in stuttering, has suggested that the presence of stuttering is connected to the fact that articulated speech is the last major acquisition in human evolution.[3][6] Another view is that a stutter is a complex tic.[3][7]

Certain genes also cause stuttering. In a 2010 article, three genes were found to correlate with stuttering: GNPTAB, GNPTG, and NAGPA. Researchers estimated that alterations in these three genes were present in 9% of people who stutter who have a family history of stuttering.[3][8]

Other causes of stuttering include physical trauma at or around birth, learning disabilities, as well as cerebral palsy, stressful situations such as the birth of a sibling, moving, or a sudden growth in linguistic ability[3][4], auditory processing deficits[3], and different functional organization of the auditory cortex in stuttering people.[3][9]

What are the symptoms of stuttering?

Primary stuttering behaviors are the overt, observable signs of speech fluency breakdown, including repeating sounds, syllables, words or phrases, silent blocks and prolongation of sounds.[3] Stuttering dysfluencies also vary in quality: common dysfluencies tend to be repeated movements, fixed postures, or superfluous behaviors. Each of these three categories is composed of subgroups of stutters and dysfluencies.[3][10]

Repeated movements[10]
Syllable repetition– a single syllable word is repeated (for example: on-on-on a chair) or a part of a word that is still a full syllable such as “un-un-under the…” or “o-o-open.”
Incomplete syllable repetition– an incomplete syllable is repeated, such as a consonant without a vowel, for example, “c-c-c-cold.”
Multi-syllable repetition– more than one syllable such as a whole word, or more than one word is repeated, such as “I know, I know, I know a lot of information.”
Fixed postures[10]
With audible airflow– prolongation of a sound occurs such as “mmmmmmmmmom.”
Without audible airflow– such as a block of speech or a tense pause where nothing is said despite efforts.
Superfluous behaviors[10]
Verbal– this includes an interjection such as an unnecessary “uh” or “um” as well as revisions, such as going back and correcting one’s initial statements such as “I, my girlfriend” where the I has been corrected to the word “my.”
Nonverbal– these are visible or audible speech behaviors such as lip smacking, throat clearing, etc.

The severity of a stutter is often not constant even for people who severely stutter. People who stutter commonly report dramatically increased fluency when talking in unison with another speaker, copying another’s speech, whispering, singing, and acting or when talking to pets, young children, or themselves.[3][5] Other situations, such as public speaking and speaking on the telephone, are often greatly feared by people who stutter, and increased stuttering is reported.[3][5]

Does stuttering have complications?

Yes, and that can be very severe because stuttering affects a person’s academic, work, and social life as well as his or her self-worth.

Stuttering could have a significant negative cognitive and affective impact on the person who stutters.[3] Feelings of embarrassment, shame, frustration, fear, anger, and guilt are frequent in people who stutter[3][5], and may actually increase tension and effort, leading to increased stuttering.[3][4]. With time, continued exposure to difficult speaking experiences may crystallize into a negative self-concept and self-image. Many perceive stutterers as less intelligent due to their disfluency, however, as a group, individuals who stutter tend to be of above average intelligence.[3][11] A person who stutters may project his or her attitudes onto others, believing that they think he or she is nervous or stupid. Such negative feelings and attitudes may need to be a major focus of a treatment program.[3][4] Many people who stutter report a high emotional cost, including jobs or promotions not received, as well as relationships broken or not pursued.[3][12]

What is done to manage stuttering?

Speech therapy is the management for stuttering. Several different approaches are available to treat children and adults who stutter. Because of varying individual issues and needs, a method — or combination of methods — that’s helpful for one person may not be as effective for another.[13]

A few examples of treatment approaches — in no particular order of effectiveness — include:

Controlled fluency. This type of speech therapy teaches you to slow down your speech and learn to notice when you stutter. You may speak very slowly and deliberately when beginning this type of speech therapy, but over time, you can work up to a more natural speech pattern.[13]
Electronic devices. Several electronic devices are available. Delayed auditory feedback requires you to slow your speech or the speech will sound distorted through the machine. Another method mimics your speech so that it sounds as if you’re talking in unison with someone else. Some small electronic devices are worn during daily activities.[13]
Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of psychological counseling can help you learn to identify and change ways of thinking that might make stuttering worse. It can also help you resolve underlying stress, anxiety or self-esteem problems related to stuttering.[13]

Parental support and involvement is a key part of helping a child cope with stuttering, especially with some methods. Follow the guidance of the speech-language pathologist to determine the best approach for your child.[13]

Treatment for stuttering may be done at home, with a speech-language pathologist or as part of an intensive program. The goal is to help you or your child communicate effectively and fully participate in daily activities.[13]

With early detection and management plus a supportive environment, any stutterer can live a normal and happy life.

1. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/stutter.aspx
2. http://www.stutteringhelp.org/faq
3. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuttering
4. Guitar, Barry (2005). Stuttering: An Integrated Approach to Its Nature and Treatment. San Diego: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-3920-9.
5. Ward, David (2006). Stuttering and Cluttering: Frameworks for understanding treatment. Hove and New York City: Psychology Press. ISBN 978-1-84169-334-7..
6. West, R.; Nelson. S, Berry, M. (1939). “The heredity of stuttering”. Quarterly Journal of Speech 25 (25): 23–30. doi:10.1080/00335633909380434.
7. Sixth Oxford Dysfluency Conference
8. “Genetic Mutations Linked to Stuttering”. Children.webmd.com. 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
9. Gordon, N. (2002). “Stuttering: incidence and causes”. Developmental medicine and child neurology 44 (4): 278–81. doi:10.1017/S0012162201002067. PMID 11995897.
10. Teesson K, Packman A, Onslow M (August 2003). “The Lidcombe Behavioral Data Language of stuttering”. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 46 (4): 1009–15. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/078). PMID 12959476.
11. http://guardianlv.com/2013/08/stuttering-children-more-intelligent-according-to-new-study-video/
12. Pollack, Andrew. “To Fight Stuttering, Doctors Look at the Brain”, New York Times, September 12, 2006.
13. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stuttering/basics/treatment/con-20032854