Stuttering, or stammering, refers to a speech disorder that results in speech being discontinuous or broken in its rhythm and pace. Words may be prolonged or repeated, sometimes accompanied by physical signs of struggle such as rapid eye blinking or lips shaking. Stuttering can affect all age groups, although it usually occurs in male children.
Method 1 of 2: Reducing the Effects of Stuttering Download Article
Visit with a doctor or speech language pathologist. Health care professionals and specialists in speech problems can work with you or your child to overcome the effects of stuttering. Stuttering is best treated sooner, rather than later, as it may become more difficult to treat later in life. Contact your doctor if your notice any of the following aspects to your stuttering:
- Stuttering that develops during adulthood.
- Any muscle tightening or visible difficulty speaking.
- If your stuttering is affecting your social life, work life, or quality of life.
- Any stuttering that causes anxiety, fear, or loss of self-esteem needs to be addressed.
- Stuttering that lasts for longer than six months.
- If stuttering occurs along side other speech problems.
- If you notice stuttering worsening either in yourself or in your child.
Practice controlled fluency. Speaking quickly or in a hurried fashion can have an effect on the amount of stuttering that occurs in conversation. By slowing down and speaking deliberately, a person can learn exactly when and what triggers their stuttering.
- Speak slowly and simply. Try saying one syllable words, one at a time. Strive to have each word come out clearly before moving on to the next word.
- Monitor your speech as you talk, looking for which words or mental states might cause stuttering to occur or worsen.
- Don’t be afraid to leave pauses or silence in your speech. Go at your own pace as you practice.
- Practice words that you notice as problematic.
- Gradually increase the length of words and sentences. Overtime you will work towards implementing problematic words in your speech.
Ask your doctor about electronic devices that reduce stuttering. There are two main types of devices today that can help with stuttering problems. Some of these are small enough to be worn throughout the day by the person who stutters.
- One device plays back a persons voice to them in an ear phone, with a delay. This delay causes the person to slow their speech down, which can reduce stuttering.
- Another method makes it sound like your own speech is in unison with the speech of another person. Hearing your own speech in this way can also reduce any stuttering.
- You can also install and make use of some anti-stuttering apps available on iOS and Android.
Work with a cognitive behavioral therapist. By applying the techniques and practices of cognitive behavioral therapy, a person who stutters can learn which mental states might be responsible for worsening their stutter. An added benefit of this therapy is that it can help reduce anxiety, stress or self-esteem issues that may have arisen from the stuttering.
Relax when speaking. Taking your time and saying what you want to say can help you reduce your stuttering. Give yourself plenty of time when speaking and try to remain as calm as you can.
- Don’t always change your words or what you want to say.
- Take your time and say the words that you want to use.
- Relaxing and reducing anxiety about speaking can help reduce stuttering.
- Don’t force words. Say them at your own pace. Forcing words can make them more difficult to say.
- If you stammer in the middle, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and continue. Pretend as if nothing happened.
Discover what the main causes of stuttering are. There are three causes of stuttering that are understood today. The two main types are called, developmental and neurogenic. The third, and most rare type, is termed psychogenic.
- Developmental stuttering arises early in a child’s life when they are learning to speak. Most children will have some level of stuttering as they grow, but some will have problems that persist. There is also some evidence that stuttering of this type is genetic and can run in families.
- Neurogenic stuttering can arise after a serious medical issues such as stroke or head trauma. The connections between language centers of the brain and the muscles that are used in speaking are weakened or disconnected.
- Psychogenic stuttering is caused by exposure to an emotionally traumatic event.
Method 2 of 2: Speaking With Someone Who Stutters Download Article
Don’t finish sentences. When you are speaking with someone who stutters, you may be tempted to finish a sentence for them. This can be even more frustrating for the person who stutters. Avoid cutting them off and finishing what you think they are about to say.
Keep things calm. When speaking to either an adult or child who suffers from stuttering, keeping the conversation calm and relaxed can help. By speaking slowly and without a sense of urgency, it allows both people to communicate without pressure, helping to reduce the effects of stuttering.
Stay engaged during a conversation. While speaking with someone who stutters, give them the same attention and care that you would in any conversation. Maintain focus on the speaker, make appropriate eye contact, and practice good listening skills as they speak.
- Don’t assume you know what they are going to say and lose interest.
Offer praise and acceptance to children who stutter. If you are speaking with a child who stutters, never criticize or become frustrated with them. Treating anyone who stutters poorly will only lead to the development of self-esteem and confidence issues.
- Give praise to children when they are speaking clearly. Never punish or criticize them when they stutter.
- Accept them as they are, offering encouragement and support.