Most people have either had a personal experience with stuttering, or experienced a friend or loved one struggle to produce a normal flow of speech.
In fact, stuttering is relatively common speech disorder affecting roughly 3 million Americans of all ages. While it most often occurs in children between the ages of 2-6 that are developing their language skills, 25% of children continue to stutter as they get older. For these children, stuttering can persist as a lifelong speech disorder. This can have an impact on self-esteem and interactions with other people.
What makes stuttering especially frustrating is that individuals know what they want to say, but have difficulty saying it. For example, they may repeat a sound, word or syllable; prolong certain consonants or vowel sounds; or pause during speech. Stuttering can also be made worse when a person is excited, tired, experiencing stress or anxiety, or speaking in front of a group of people.
Why Does Stuttering Happen?
While researchers continue to study the underlying factors that contribute to stuttering, an exact cause is still unknown. According to the Stuttering Foundation, there are 4 possible causes:
- Genetics: Approximately 60% of individuals who stutter have a family member who does also.
- Child Development: Children with other speech and language problems or developmental delays are more likely to stutter.
- Neurophysiology: Recent research suggests that people who stutter process speech and language slightly differently than those who don’t
- Family Dynamics: Fast-paced lifestyles can contribute to stuttering.
What Can be Done About Stuttering?
While there is no known cure, there are a variety of treatments available. These treatments will differ depending on a person’s condition, age, communication goals, and other factors. As with many conditions, the best prevention is early intervention.
For children and adults who stutter, it’s important to receive help from Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP). They are trained in speech and language disorders, and are best equipped to provide the help you need.
If your child is stuttering, seeing an SLP can reduce the chances that your child’s stuttering will turn into a lifelong problem. You should contact an SLP immediately if stuttering:
- Lasts more than 3-6 months
- Occurs with other speech or language problems
- Becomes more frequent or severe
- Is accompanied by muscle tightening or visibly signs of struggle
- Affects his/her ability to effectively communicate at school, at work, or a social environment
- Causes anxiety or emotional problems
- Begins as an adult
If you stutter, it’s also important to visit with an SLP. Treatment for adults focuses on ways to manage your stuttering, and methods to help you feel less tense or anxious so you don’t avoid talking. The SLP will learn about your history with stuttering, test your speech, and work with you on strategies to manage your condition.
How Can Teletherapy Help with Stuttering?
- Teletherapy is More Affordable
Practices have to pay for a lot of expenses that aren’t directly related to patient care - facility costs, marketing, support staff. With teletherapy, these cost savings are passed down to the customers.
- Flexible Scheduling and Convenience
Instead of spending time traveling to and from in-person therapy sessions, patients can schedule and attend appointments from the comfort of their own home. Patients also have greater flexibility to schedule sessions on the dates that work best, and at the times that they prefer.
- Just as Effective as Traditional Therapy
Because all Expressable therapists are licensed Speech Language therapists, there’s no difference in quality between teletherapy and on-site therapy sessions. A landmark study from Kent State University showed that there was no significant difference in scores between students who participated in teletherapy versus on-site therapy.
For more information on Teletherapy, view our latest post “Why Choose Teletherapy?”
How Can Expressable Help?
Speech therapy with Expressable is just like traditional therapy, but sessions are administered online with modern video conferencing software that our clients can access from the convenience of their home. Expressable can offer incredible therapy at one-fifth the price because our therapists focus on serving families instead of dealing with long commutes, administrative tasks, and the burden of insurance overhead.
National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association