Stammering, also known as stuttering or childhood-onset fluency disorder, is a type of speech disorder that involves difficulty with normal flow of speech. People who have a stutter don’t experience difficulty with vocabulary as a result of their condition, but rather have difficulty expressing themselves verbally.
In patients with a stammer, words and vowel sounds can be unusually prolonged or repeated and may take extended pauses while speaking. While many people who have a stutter in childhood grow out of it naturally or with treatment, many speech disorders continue well into adulthood. If you have a stammer, keep reading to learn about some possible reasons for it.
What can cause a stammer?
Speech disorders, like stammering or stuttering, can have a variety of causes. With traditional childhood-onset fluency disorder, abnormalities in speech motor control and genetics are two of the factors experts believe play a significant role. Researchers are still studying the underlying causes of developmental stuttering and the factors that may influence disordered speech patterns, so there may be additional causes for stammering than are currently known.
A stammer can also develop later in life, often as a result of a stroke or traumatic brain injury. When stuttering is the result of a brain disorder that causes slowed speech or frequent pauses, it is referred to clinically as neurogenic stuttering. Emotional pressure or distress can also trigger episodes of disfluency even for speakers who do not have a stutter. In some cases, speech difficulties can appear after emotional trauma. This is referred to as psychogenic stuttering, which is different and less common.
What are your therapeutic options?
Anyone dealing with a speech disorder like stammering has a variety of treatment options. Since everyone’s body is different and the root cause of your condition can vary, finding the right solutions can take some trial and error. If you’re not seeing results from treatment and find yourself experiencing negative thoughts or low self-esteem, try a different approach. It’s important to be patient with the process, even though it can be frustrating.
Online speech therapy games are a great way for your child to keep up with speech therapy and complete exercises while having fun. The games are designed to produce a high number of repetitions but the enjoyment kids get from playing often makes them forget about the fact that they’re technically doing work. Your child’s therapist designs the curriculum and selects the exercises, so they can play at home whenever they want to.
Another option is to look for a CBT therapist. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on eliminating negative patterns of thought, which can be incredibly helpful for those who have a stammer. A simple search for “CBT therapist near me” will give you some options in your area, though it’s important to do your research before booking your first session. CBT treatment can be used in combination effectively with other therapeutic options like speech therapy.
Speech disorders are becoming increasingly common in both children and adults and can have a wide variety of causes. Natural development in younger children is the way stammering presents most frequently, but a stammer can also develop as a result of trauma, like brain injuries or strokes. In rare cases, even stress or emotional trauma can cause difficulties with speech. If you think you may have a speech disorder, it’s a good idea to seek medical care right away so your doctor can help you figure out what is causing the issue and what you can do to treat it.
Many people retain their stammer throughout their adult life, but cognitive behavioral therapy can help improve self-confidence and reduce negative thoughts. CBT used in combination with speech therapy could provide significant quality of life boost for people who have a stammer.