Stuttering is a speech disorder where someone has difficulty producing fluid or smooth speech. Stuttering can be characterized by involuntary hesitations, blocking sounds, sound repetitions, word repetitions and prolongations. These characteristics make it difficult for the speaker to get their message across smoothly.
Stuttering therapy is appropriate for adults who are bothered by their stuttering. Experts know that stuttering is only problematic when the person who stutters feels that it is. Some people would rather tackle their stuttering from an acceptance approach rather than a reduction approach, and we respect that choice. Contact us and we can discuss treatments options that suit your feelings about stuttering.
+ What is stuttering?
Stuttering often begins during childhood and in certain cases, lasts into adulthood. A stutter affects the fluency of speech and can be defined as an “interference” in the process of producing speech sounds, also called a “dysfluency”. Almost everyone has minor dysfluencies now and then, for example saying “um” while trying to express a thought, but if an individual is producing dysfluencies frequently (within most sentences), then this can affect one’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
For most people who stutter, at least some of their daily activities are impacted, such as speaking on the telephone or in front of large groups. The specific challenges will vary from person to person. Whether these challenges are occurring during one’s personal, academic, or professional life, communication difficulties may prompt the individual to limit their participation in certain activities.
+ What are some of the signs and symptoms of stuttering?
Characteristics of people who stutter often include: the repetition of words or parts of syllables, words or phrases, seeming out of breath, speech that gets completely stopped or blocked, and secondary behaviors like ticks or jerky blinking. People who stutter often prolong sounds in order to delay the rest of the sentence when feeling stuck.
A stutter can manifest in different ways. For example, “W-W-W What time is it?”
In this example, part of the word is being repeated and it takes several attempts to successfully complete the word “what”.
Another example is, “What day are you free for din, din, din, diner?”
This particular sentence displays several interjections. This can be considered a form of stalling because of an individual’s difficulty saying the words “you” and “free” smoothly one after another.
+ What is the process of diagnosis in stuttering?
Our speech therapist will conduct a comprehensive assessment, in which they will observe the frequency and types of disfluencies, while cross referencing with other qualities such rate of speech and language skills. Assessment may include standardized and nonstandardized assessment measures.
Other factors that might prove to be relevant during a diagnosis include:
The existence of other speech or language challenges A family history of stuttering The length of time that a stutter has been present
These factors are all considered in order to design a specific treatment plan that will help the individual to communicate more clearly, fluently, and effectively while participating more in daily activities.
+ How is stuttering treated at Well Said: Toronto Speech Theapy?
Most treatment plans are considered to be behavioural, meaning the individual is practising particular behaviours or skills that eventually result in improved oral communication. SLPs often suggest the individual adjust the speed and rate at which they are speaking. Someone might need to first learn to speak more slowly and in shorter sentences in order to smooth their speech, increasing the speed and length of sentence over time, achieving natural, fluent speech.
Follow-up appointments are often recommended in order to avoid any regression.
SLPs will work to - not necessarily eliminate, but to - help minimize disfluencies. As the individual becomes more comfortable with their fluency in their sessions, they will be prompted to practise their new skills in real life situations.
SLPs might sometimes employ an assistive device to help with the process. For example, it can be helpful for certain individuals to hear a recording of their voice played back to them, or when they have headphones playing music in their ears while they practise their speech.
Other resources can be found through organizations such as:
The Canadian Stuttering Association The International Stuttering Association
People who stutter can also find support through stuttering support groups, which create a community of people who are dealing with similar stresses, possibly working towards similar goals. These groups can become a safe space to practise skills learned in SLP sessions.
+ How should I communicate with someone who stutters?
People who stutter want to be treated like anyone else. Try not to judge someone who is stuttering, it's not their fault and it does not mean they are being dishonest. It's also important to demonstrate patience. Give the person time to get their thoughts out. If the person who stutters knows that you will wait for them, they are more likely to have an easier time getting their words out.
+ How common is stuttering?
In many cases, a stutter will first appear as early as two-and-a-half years old. Children are often unaware and unbothered by their stutter. With age though, if the stutter persists, people become increasingly more aware and more bothered by their difficulties. This is particularly because of the way others react to their speech.
Of course, every case is different. There is not conclusive evidence to explain why some individuals overcome their stutter during childhood, while others have their stutter persist into adulthood.
At Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy, our experienced team of speech-language pathologists supports teens and adults exclusively. No matter how big or small your communication concern is, we can help.
As the first and premier Toronto adult speech clinic, Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy, we have the experience and dedication to help you achieve measurable improvements in your fluency. Using a client-centered, evidenced-based, holistic and collaborative approach, we employ the latest research to achieve your fluency goals.
Our services are covered by most workplace and education insurance plans. Try our "Is Stuttering Therapy for Me?" self-reflection tool below to discover how fluent you can become.
Is stuttering Therapy for me?
Are you unsure if stuttering or fluency work is right for you? Try our new self-assessment tool by clicking on the box below. A box will open with a series of questions that will help you decide if this work is right for you.
Establish a baseline
Identify and understand your dysfluencies. Learn about the science and the research behind stuttering therapy.
Learn the strategies and address the feelings
Learn the tools for fluent speech and tackle the feelings interfere with fluency.
Practice the New Way
Achieve your goal through step-by-step practice in a safe space.