Asked Questions About Stuttering
percentage of people stutter?
The overall prevalence (proportion of the population exhibiting a stuttering problem at a particular point in time) is between one-half and one percent. The incidence (proportion of the population that has exhibited a stuttering problem at any time in their lives) is approximately 10 percent.
my child outgrow stuttering problems?
A large proportion of young children who stutter (anywhere from 60 – 90%) recover without therapy. When recovery occurs in these children, it typically does so within 12 – 36 months after the stuttering problem first begins.
do you know which children will outgrow stuttering and which ones will
need speech therapy?
Researchers and speech-language pathologists are getting better at predicting which children are likely to recover soon after the problem begins (without therapy), and which are unlikely to recover without help. This second group of children is likely to continue to stutter beyond early childhood, and will need some form of therapy to learn to talk more easily.
As with the cause of stuttering, it's probably true that multiple factors in certain combinations lead to early (unassisted) recovery.
can I make sure my child gets the kind of treatment s/he needs?
The first thing you can do is to learn about stuttering. The more informed you are, the more you will be able to make decisions about your child's needs. If you have decided you would like your child to be screened for a stuttering problem, call either your local school district or the local hospital to find out about speech screenings.
do some people stutter when they speak, but don't have a problem when
There are a few reasons why people who stutter don't do so when they sing. One is called easy onset of speech, or easy voice, or smooth speech. This describes the way you sing. Think about it - you generally use a smoother and easier voice when you're singing versus when you're speaking. Speech therapists actually use the easy onset strategy when helping people who stutter.
Another reason why a person may not stutter while singing is because words are more prolonged (and less apt to be stumbled over) when they're sung rather than spoken. Music is an activity in which you use the right side of the brain (language uses the left), so when you sing music, you're no longer using your left brain (and probably no longer stuttering).
The bottom line is this: Whenever a child or adult who stutters talks differently than the way he usually does, he will be fluent. That includes using a stage voice or a foreign accent or dialect, whispering, singing, speaking to a rhythmic beat, using ‘baby talk' and speaking at a lower or higher pitch than normal. Besides sounding and feeling unnatural, however, these ‘tricks' rarely produce long-term fluency.
saw a device on television that helped a man who stutters become more
fluent in his speech. To use it, he attached something like a hearing
aid in his ear. Does that cure stuttering?
There are no instant miracle cures for stuttering. Therapy, electronic devices, and even drugs as permanent remedies for stuttering are not an overnight process. However, a specialist in stuttering can help not only children but also teenagers, young adults and even older adults make significant progress toward fluency.
I'm talking with a friend who stutters, is there anything I can do to
make his / her speech easier?
Refrain from making remarks like: "Slow down," "Take a breath," or "Relax." Such simplistic advice can be felt as demeaning and is not helpful.
Let the person know by your manner and actions that you are listening to what he or she says—not how they say it.
Maintain natural eye contact and wait patiently and naturally until the person is finished.
You may be tempted to finish sentences or fill in words. Try not to do this.
Use a relatively relaxed rate in your own conversational speech—but not so slow as to sound unnatural. This promotes good communication no matter with whom you are speaking.
Be aware that those who stutter usually have more trouble controlling their speech on the telephone. Please be extra patient in this situation. If you pick up the phone and hear nothing, be sure it is not a person who stutters trying to initiate the conversation before you hang up.
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