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Stuttering is a disorder in the flow of speech. Speech is interrupted by the repetition of sounds, syllables or words or by silent blocks. During the articulation, there can also be uncontrolled movements of hands or legs as well as greatly changing facial expressions. If the lack of fluency in speech persists for more than three months and there are also signs of tension, there is a risk of incipient stuttering. However, this must be differentiated from lack of fluency in speech, which can occur between two and five years of age due to development. Loose repetitions of syllables and words occur primarily. These phases of lack of fluency during the child's language development must in any case be distinguished from stuttering…
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Symptoms & side effects
When stuttering (balbuties) the normal flow of speech and the timing of speaking are interrupted. It comes to among other things
- Stretches as well
especially of sounds and syllables. The stuttering lasts for a long time. The frequency, severity and combination of symptoms vary from person to person. Stuttering can show up in childhood, but can also occur in adolescence and adulthood. The symptoms can be very noticeable, but also barely noticeable to laypeople.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned, there are various accompanying symptoms, reactions and abnormalities. It occurs among other things:
- pressed voice, forced breathing,
- increased accompanying movements - for example facial expressions or extremities,
- Paragraphs, insertion of sounds, syllables, words, sentence breaks etc.
Fears, shame, frustration, decreased self-esteem, withdrawal, but also anger and aggression, etc. can be related to stuttering. The psyche, social behavior and everyday life can be heavily burdened or impaired.
Various factors are involved in stuttering. The causes have not yet been fully clarified. Hereditary predisposition, organic causes, developmental disorders as well as various other factors that are involved in triggering and maintaining are discussed. Deficits in language development, speech disorders, certain forms of communication and interaction in the family or in the close social environment and much more can have an impact. However, the causes are not always immediately apparent.
To clarify stuttering, symptoms are recorded and examinations are carried out. Among other things, it is essential
- Stuttering symptoms and accompanying symptoms: extent, duration, beginning and type of stuttering. Language development is assessed. This is done, for example, using questionnaires, checklists and tests. Video and sound recordings can also be made.
- Clarification of any illnesses or disorders: e.g. the presence of other disorders of speech, behavior, concentration, attention disorders, neurological or psychological disorders or disorders.
- Social environment: e.g. parents or legal guardians, family, social life. Lifestyle and quality play a role in diagnosis and therapy.
The therapy is based on the individual situation and usually combines different treatment approaches. It aims to improve speech fluency. The reduction of the burden of stuttering and the effects on the psyche, social life, quality of life and activity are essential. Affected persons or their parents / guardians are informed and advised in detail about stuttering, therapy, relapses and how to cope with them. Individual and group treatments are possible.
The therapy includes:
- Working directly on stuttering through various methods of speech and stuttering modification, such as speech therapy. In doing so, work is carried out on the way those affected speak and / or on a specific event, e.g. speaking training through prolonged speaking, soft use of the voice.
- The treatment or working on accompanying symptoms. A change in attitude to speaking, various changes in behavior, self-assessment, etc. are also included in courage (e.g. through the use of psychotherapy, breathing and relaxation techniques.
- Treatment of any underlying diseases or disorders.
- Including the environment. The environment is essential for therapy and development. This includes the social environment (parents, legal guardians, school) and their cooperation. In addition to advice and guidance, practice at home is important. The implementation of what has been “worked out” in everyday situations is also part of the therapy.
- Self help.
- Possible use of technical or electronic aids, e.g. devices, software, apps.
Whom can I ask?
Contact points are - depending on the age of the person concerned and health situation - among others:
- Specialist in paediatrics and adolescent medicine
- Specialist in ENT (specialization in phoniatrics)
- Speech therapist
The family doctor can arrange examinations and initiate referrals. The following may also be involved in the diagnosis and therapy process:
Diagnosis and treatment are partly carried out in special departments of clinics, e.g. for phoniatrics, speech therapy and hearing, voice and language disorders.