Stuttering is a problem that affects the fluency of speech. In some cases, it begins in childhood and can last a lifetime. Interruptions in the production of sounds characterize the disorder during speech, defined as dysrhythmias or disfluencies. There are several types of dysthymia:
Tonic dysphemia: the problem lies in the existence of a block at the beginning of the speech.
Clonic dysthymia consists of slight muscle contractions that cause the repetition of sounds or syllables during speech.
Tonic-clonic dysphemia: where both repetitions and prolongations of syllables occur. Some dysrhythmias may occur from time to time, i.e., they do not constitute a problem. However, we speak of a disorder when these dysrhythmias hinder the ability to communicate.
Stuttering can appear between 2 and 6 years of age, when children are in the full development of speech and language, being more frequent in boys than in girls. Nowadays, with an adequate and early intervention (before the age of 5) or in older cases, as long as it is started soon after the problem appears, it is possible to solve the verbal fluency disorder in a very high percentage and thus avoid its intensification.
Regarding the symptoms of dysthymia, people who stutter can:
- Repeat sounds, have blocks, and make prolongations of parts of words and whole words.
- Pause between words or within a word.
- Choose simple words instead of those that are more difficult to speak.
- Appearing tense or awkward when speaking.
- Adding “uh” or “um” in the middle of a sentence.
- Adding unrelated words or phrases (rarely).
According to the most common speech errors, dysphemia can be classified as clonic (compulsive repetition of syllables or words), tonic (paralysis or spasms causing interruptions or choppy speech), and myoclonus or mixed (combination of the two with a predominance of one over the other).
While the onset in childhood has no known genetic cause, in adults, it can have two leading causes: an inadequate or non-existent treatment in childhood or a neurological problem. The latter is called Acquired Dysphemia.
Dysphemia in adulthood represents a double effort; in addition to reducing stuttering, it is necessary to work on the person’s security so that he/she does not feel inferior or become nervous in certain situations.
If you are looking for ways on how to stop stuttering, it is recommended to go to the speech therapist and psychologist, who, through therapies, will help to reinforce the security and improve the fluency of speech. If it is a neurological problem, the neurologist should coordinate with the two previous specialists and medication.
The key in stuttering is to have patience, not give up, and follow all the exercises. Attention should be focused not only on speaking well but also on activities that we are good at and leave the problem aside.
The goal of speech therapy is to ensure that basic techniques (breathing, articulation, rhythm control, etc.) can be effectively incorporated into the patient’s social skills.
These are some of the techniques you can employ in daily life to deal with stuttering:
- Relaxation: The general objective is to achieve peace of the general and phonatory musculature.
- Breathing: Work is done to achieve proper phonorrespiratory coordination with costo-diaphragmatic breathing.
- Articulation: The aim is to gain control of the tonicity and coordination of the phonation musculature.
- Linguistic aspects: To develop the ability to associate ideas and express them.
- Reading: To gain self-confidence in front of a written text.
- Conversation: To accomplish an everyday speech and with a decrease of blockages.