The Science Behind: Stuttering
Over 70 million people in the world suffer from a stutter (also known as a stammer) on a day-to-day basis. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “Stuttering is a speech condition defined by the repeating of sounds, syllables, or phrases, as well as sound prolongation and speech blockages.” A person who stutters understands exactly what he or she wants to say but is unable to do it in a regular manner. Struggle behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or lip tremors, may accompany these speech disturbances.
Despite the fact that the exact cause of stuttering is unknown, there are different factors that can affect this phenomenon. The most common type of stuttering is known as developmental stuttering. Developmental stuttering occurs in young children usually between the ages of 3-8 as their language abilities are swiftly expanding. The demand on a child's brain increases as they develop longer and more complicated phrases. This additional workload may have an impact on the motor control required for speech production. Stuttering can happen when motor pathways can't keep up with linguistic impulses. Moreover, it has also been proven that genetics can affect whether individual stutters or not. Researchers haven't been able to locate a particular gene that causes stuttering. It's conceivable, though, that carrying particular genetic material makes you more prone to stutter. Thirdly, emotions and the environment can also contribute to how prone a person is to stuttering. As youth grow more aware of their inconsistencies, bad feelings about speaking may intensify, affecting their capacity to communicate more. Finally, in rare cases stuttering can be the cause of a brain injury or intense psychological trauma; this type of stuttering, referred to as "acquired" stuttering, varies from developmental stuttering in both origins and symptoms.
Stuttering remains a mystery that medical specialists and researchers all around the world are working to uncover. Although there is no “cure” for stuttering, stutters can make matters better for themselves by seeking certain treatments to assist them in navigating speech with their stutter. One of the most common treatments to cure a stutter is reducing disfluency. This is where stutters work with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to help them eliminate stuttering while talking. There are different treatments stutters participate in, but one thing they all have in common is that they require assistance and are pretty similar as they focus on speech patterns. Fun fact, people who stutter tend to have IQs 14 points above the average!