In most cases a stutter (also known as a stammer) is not acquired but developmental, adults presenting with a stutter usually have had it since childhood.
With a stutter, there is disruption to the fluency of our speech. This interference can be in the form of long pauses in the middle of a sentence, repetition of the first part of a word (wh-wh-where), interjections of smaller sounds/words (‘um’ or ‘eh’) or holding a single sound for a long time whaaaaaat).
Although stutters are somewhat obvious, an SLT will still perform an assessment to evaluate the speech problem properly. They will also speak at length to the person to understand the impact the stutter/stutter has had on this person’s life (social, academic, occupational and confidence) and what steps the client would like to take to make gradual changes so they can speak more confidently.
Symptoms Of Stutters
Stutter often includes repetitions of words or parts of words, as well as prolongations of speech sounds. These disfluencies occur more often in persons who stutter than they do in the general population. Some people who stutter appear very tense or “out of breath” when talking. Speech may become completely stopped or blocked. Blocked is when the mouth is positioned to say a sound, sometimes for several seconds, with little or no sound forthcoming.
Treatment Of Stutters
The long term goals of stuttering therapy are continued reduction of the impact of stuttering on the client’s life, continued follow-up and structured network of support for clients and maintain emphasis on chosen therapy, empowerment and acceptance. Therapy for stuttering is usually offered on an individual or a group basis for a pre-defined period of time. At an initial appointment or assessment, the therapist will discuss your individual needs with you. An individually tailored treatment plan will be devised with you and will include many of the approaches and techniques below.
The main forms of treatment offered for stutter are as follows:
Block modification: The aim is not for total fluency but to help the client stutter more easily. Involves work on attitude change as well as communication behaviour.
Avoidance reduction therapy: The person who stutters is taught to acknowledge that they stutter and approach speaking situations instead of avoiding them (this can include techniques such as voluntary stuttering)
Speak More Fluently: Fluency-modification techniques - Fluency-modification techniques such as slowed speech/ prolonged speech aim to replace stuttered speech with fluent speech in the clinic setting, and the client is then helped to carry over the fluency techniques into outside situations.
Psychological Approaches: Personal Construct Therapy (PCT) -Helps the client and therapist understand the psychological effects that stuttering has upon the client’s life. Through careful self-exploration and experimentation, the client works to increase speaking confidence and develop a more positive attitude towards their communication.
Our Expertise Of Stutters
You can expect treatment from an expert who has vast experience in the area of stuttering. We aim to successfully help you overcome barriers to communication
Support: Information sheets will be provided each week depending on the approach being taken. At all stages throughout the treatment plan, we will provide detailed guidance for you on how to support your communication and fluency between sessions depending on what stage of treatment you are at.
Our Adult Speech Therapists are here to help you regain your confidence and to successfully manage your stutter.
All of Spectrum Health’s Adult Speech and Language therapists are qualified from University with a B.Sc. or M.sc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy and have ample experience working with adults who have a stutter.