About Stuttering

What is Stuttering / Stammering?
Stuttering can be a frustrating and socially-challenging issue for many people. While stuttering cannot be cured, a person who stutters (PWS) can achieve near-complete control of the condition with the right treatment.

Stuttering, alternatively known as 'stammering', affects the fluency of speech where the normal speech flow is interrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, words, syllables and phrases. Blocks in the attempts to make sounds are common and often the harder the PWS tries to utter a word, the more difficult that utterance becomes. Dysfluency is considered to be a problem when it impacts on the person's ability to communicate or confidence in communicating.

Stuttering, which is not only a speech disorder but also a communication and behavioural disorder, affects a significant percentage of people worldwide. About 1% of the world's population, at least 90 million people, suffer from this affliction.

Stuttering and its Effect on Communication
Verbal communication is a vital and expected means of communication. To the majority of people, it is also an enjoyable method of sharing experiences and interactions with others. To many people who have to deal with a stutter however, verbal communication is not enjoyable. It can be a hindrance to the building of self-esteem and confidence. Many people who stutter (PWS) would rather stay at home and turn down a night of enjoyment simply because they find it difficult ordering a meal at a restaurant or buying tickets to a movie.

For people to be confident members of the community, average-to-good verbal communication is generally important. Verbal communication is required for a person to function well in their working life and to achieve social integration. The importance of verbal interaction with others generally increases as we age and experience employment, marriage, raising children and socialising. If a PWS moves through the developmental and teenage years without gaining some control over their stutter, their speech tends to be under more pressure as they age. This increase in pressure is associated with an increase in the severity of the stutter.

Stuttering and its Effect on Self-Esteem
The increase in pressure to verbally communicate can result in the development of other issues such as low self-esteem, lack of confidence, facial tics and an inability to function well in situations where verbal communication is required. These issues often lead to reduced levels of happiness, contentment, resilience and personal effectiveness.

The bulk of the stuttering problem is hidden from the listener. In this sense, the disorder can be likened to an iceberg. The physical symptoms of the stutter make up about 10% of the disorder. The negative impact (embarrassment, shame, anger, self-hate, etc), the other 90%, is hidden below the surface. The listener is usually unaware of what is going on inside a PWS. Stuttering means so much more than just dysfluency.

Simply undertaking an interview for a job can be a frightening experience for a PWS. A confronting situation such as this can cause a PWS to perform poorly and give the interviewer the impression that he or she would not be capable of managing the job. If this cycle of rejection continues without the person gaining some control over the disability, then employment chances are reduced considerably. Unfortunately a large number of people within society view a stutter as a mental disability, believing that the people afflicted are less capable of performing at a high level. This could not be further from the truth, stuttering is not an indication of intelligence in any way. It is unfortunate that these negative perceptions actually exist.

Though stuttering cannot be cured, there are techniques being taught that can give PWS near-complete control, even if they have lived with the disorder for decades. The degree of fluency control greatly depends on the motivation level and commitment of the individual.

Cognitive Program for People Who Stutter
The Stammer Stopper
The Ezy-Speech team is very happy to announce that Judy Rafferty's Cognitive Program for PWS is available free to anyone who has bought a Training & Support Pack.
Please contact us if you would like a copy.
It is also available for purchase.
Judy Rafferty is our Ezy-Speech psychologist.