Why Do I Stutter Sometimes
“When you speak, your mouth opens and closes as if it were an inflatable hot dog on a stick — but without any sound coming out. You might have a cold, or allergies, or asthma, or sinus problems, or something else going on in your throat. Or maybe you’re just anxious about speaking in public. It could even be that you’ve been talking to yourself for so long that now you don’t know what to say!
Stuttering happens because your speech muscles aren’t coordinated properly. If you think about how your body moves while you walk down a hallway at school — swinging arms, moving forward, turning corners — then imagine having those movements occur simultaneously with your voice, it’s easier to understand why we get tongue-tied sometimes.
In this article, we’ll talk about why someone might stutter, and some ways people who stutter manage their speech. We’ll also look at whether there’s anything you can do to help your child overcome his/her problem.
If you’ve ever had difficulty getting words out, you probably noticed that some people seem to take forever to start sentences. They might pause after each word or before starting the next one. Some speakers will repeat themselves three times before delivering a sentence. Many others will stumble over syllables, especially if they haven’t used them in awhile. These types of speech disruptions are called “”speech disfluencies.”” And they happen to everyone — children, teens, adults. In fact, most of us do them from time to time.
The good news is that you can learn to reduce your tendency toward speech disfluency by taking small steps. For example, you can practice more active listening skills during conversation, which helps improve coordination between your ears and lips. Learning new vocabulary words can help strengthen your verbal agility. And practicing the art of articulation, or making sure all the parts of your mouth move together, can help increase overall fluency and reduce the number of speech disfluencies you make.
But what causes these awkward moments? Read on to find out.
Children Who Stutter
Treating Children With Stuttering Issues
Disfluencies Can Occur From Time To Time
Speech Disfluencies Cause Problems
Children Who Stutter
Teens Who Stutter
Tips for Treating Your Child With Stuttering Issues
You Don’t Have To Be A Perfectionist To Talk Like One
You Can Learn How To Reduce The Number Of Disfluencies You Make
Your Mouth Is Not Your Only Tool
It Might Help To Think About What You Want To Say Before You Start Speaking
Be Patient When Trying To Teach Someone New Skills
1. Speech Disfluencies Can Occur From Time To Time
Most people who stutter do so only occasionally. But sometimes they slip into uncomfortable silence for no apparent reason. This type of speech disruption occurs in the context of anxiety, panic, stress, fatigue, or frustration. The result: You feel overwhelmed, unable to express yourself adequately.
2. Speech Disfluencies Can Happen During Normal Conversation
Don’t assume that a person who speaks smoothly must have practiced her delivery extensively. Anyone who talks in front of large groups often gets flustered. Yet many people who stutter have worked hard to master their speech patterns.
3. Speech Disfluencies Are Common Amongst People Who Speak Other Languages
People who speak two or more languages often stutter less than native English speakers do. This may be because a second language requires more linguistic complexity than English does. It may also be due to the way multiple languages use different grammatical rules compared to English.
4. Speech Disfluencies Can Also Result From Brain Damage Or Disease
Some people who suffer from neurological damage or disease such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, or Alzheimer’s disease can develop speech disruptions. Stroke victims may also go through periods of speech disorder.
5. Speech Disfluencies Can Become Worse Over Time
People who stutter may notice that their speech becomes slower and more complicated as they age.
6. Speech Disfluencies Can Improve As Communication Skills Develop
Communication experts agree that therapy can improve communication skills, including speech. However, learning new techniques takes time and patience. Often, people who stutter need several years of therapy before seeing improvements.
7. Speech Disfluencies May Get Better With Practice
Practicing speech can decrease the frequency and severity of stutters and speech disfluencies. Even though you may continue to stutter in certain situations, the amount you stutter should decrease over time.
8. Speech Disfluencies Can Affect Everyone At Different Times
Sometimes stuttering is temporary, but other times it lasts longer. And it differs among individuals based upon factors like health, mood, and mental state.
9. Speech Disfluencies Can Be Persistent
Anyone who has ever stopped to try to figure out exactly where he was headed while walking home alone late at night knows how frustrating it feels when you get lost. That’s essentially what it feels like when a speaker stops midsentence or struggles to deliver a particular phrase. Stuttering can become a persistent issue if you don’t address it early enough.
10. There Are Ways To Manage Speech Disfluencies
There are lots of things you can do to improve your speech. Try to relax, avoid negative emotions, and breathe deeply. You can also ask someone else to listen to you. Afterward, see if you recognize any mistakes.
11. Speech Disfluencies Aren’t Always Bad
Even though it can be painful to stop mid-sentence, stuttering doesn’t always mean you’re doing something wrong. Rather, it may indicate that you haven’t mastered the skill yet.
12. Speech Disfluencies Can Be Solved By Working Harder
One way to improve your ability to articulate clearly is to work harder. Remember, however, that you should always let your audience know when you stop to gather your thoughts.
13. Speech Disfluencies Shouldn’t Stop You From Talking
Sometimes you might want to keep talking anyway, despite any speech disfluencies you make. Just remember to communicate effectively.
14. Stress Can Lead To Speech Dislocation
While anxiety can lead to a variety of speech issues, panic attacks can trigger speech disfluencies. Because of the nature of stress, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you begin to notice symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain, or dizziness.
15. Adults Who Stutter More Than Once Usually Master Their Problem
Many people who stutter report that they never really got past their first episode. On the other hand, some people who stutter experience regular bouts of speech disfluency. Generally, adults who stutter once or twice a week are able to control their speech better than people who stutter frequently.
16. Teens Who Stutter Aren’t More Likely To Drop Out Of School
Research shows that kids who stutter actually perform significantly better academically than nonstutterers. So instead of avoiding class discussions, teachers should encourage students to participate fully.
17. Tips For Treating Your Child With Stuttering Issues
1. Be patient. Although therapy can speed up progress, it can take time to resolve speech issues caused by developmental delay or physical impairment.
2. Keep conversations positive. Avoid focusing on the negative traits of another person or situation. Doing so can create feelings of guilt and low self-esteem.
3. Set goals. Explain to your child what you hope to accomplish with therapy. Together, formulate realistic goals and objectives. Then set periodic checkups to monitor progress.
4. Understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your child’s unique abilities can help you decide which areas to focus on.
5. Accept your child’s differences. Instead of telling him he’s stupid or worthless, acknowledge his strengths. Recognize that your child doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect in order to succeed.
6. Encourage effort. Praise your child when s/he tries to improve. Let your child know you believe in him/her.
7. Provide encouragement. Remind your child that he/she is capable of achieving great things. Also show support when your child makes progress.
8. Give praise. Reward your child for efforts made toward improving speech.
9. Use humor. Laughter can boost confidence levels and improve social interactions.
10. Focus on the present moment. Stay calm whenever possible. Don’t dwell on the past.
11. Ask questions. Allow your child to share what he/she wants to tell you. Listen attentively.
12. Show interest. Create opportunities for interaction with classmates and peers.
13. Communicate effectively. Share information with your child in a manner that promotes comprehension and encourages discussion.
14. Model effective behavior. Don’t criticize your child’s speech unless necessary.
15. Take action. Seek professional assistance if your child displays signs of developmental delays, depression, or obsessive-compulsive behaviors.