Stuttering is considered to be a dysfunction of the flow of speech and is manifested by uncoordinated movements of the muscular system of breathing, voice, and articulation. In other words, a difficulty in the flowing speech. It is characterized by repetitions of syllables and words or by strenuous knock-downs. Stuttering will subsist in 75% of pre-school children. The 3/4 of the children, who start to stutter will overcome their difficulty during the course preschool age, while about 1% of the general population will settle for a long time problem.
A small percentage of children will continue to stutter for a few months, while other children may start stuttering only for some years. Finally, there are also children, who start to stutter for unknown reasons, the symptoms tend to be fixed as adulthood.
The beginning of stuttering is often gradual, with most cases beginning in the early childhood. Stuttering can theoretically occur at any age in the person’s life.
Factors contributing the stutter
The influence factors determine how much the stuttering person will be cured or not.
Genetic factors: A positive medical family history is a factor of influence (Buck et al, 2002). Stuttering is more likely to occur in boys whose father (and not their mother) or siblings, show stuttering. In 2000, Costa & Kroll reported stuttering in 9% of the daughters with stuttering fathers versus 22% of the sons, while adult women had a 17% chance of having daughters stuttering and 36% sons.
In a study by Cox et al, in 2005 gender differences were reported in the chromosomal semantics of stuttering. Studies in monozygotic and diffuse twins have also revealed a significantly higher incidence of stuttering, compared to the general population. More recent studies by Dr. Drayna, in 2009, provide rich information on genetic involvement in stuttering.
Developmental factors: Stuttering may first occur in young children in the context of speech development if the requirements of speech capacity and joint capacity do not conform to the maturation of motor, linguistic or even social skills (Adams, 1990). Different studies talk about speech difficulties (Anderson et al., 2006), while some others show increased speech abilities (Millard 2008). In most children with developmental stuttering, dysrhythmic speech is eliminated within a year or less (Stewart & Turnbull, 1995). Of the remaining, almost one-third is eliminated within 18 months, and the other third within three years of its first appearance.
Neurological factors: Evidence shows that stuttering has a neurological basis. Studies refer to variations in the brain activity of people with and without stuttering. In 2004, Alm underlined that early dysrhythmia at the age of 2.5 to 3 years, arises during a phase in the development of ganglia, where the dopamine receptors are at the highest point of development. High levels of dopamine have been found in people with stuttering (Maguire et al, 1997).
Language factors: Affect the flow, with stuttering being more common at the beginning of the sentence and large sentences with difficult retirement. (Melnick & Conture, 2000).
Gender Factors: In 2002, Craig found that stuttering occurs more often in men than in women, with the ratio increasing exponentially with age. Women are much more likely to return without interference and there is a greater number of men, who develop stubborn stuttering (Yairi & Ambroswe, 2005).
Environmental factors: People who stutter may develop behaviors to avoid situations that they find difficult, or associated with extensive stuttering. Children aged 3-4 are able to be bothered by older children, due to their difficulty in speaking. This continues throughout school years, influencing their school day and having long-term implications for their self-esteem and ability to interact with others in personal relationships (Hugh-Jones & Smith, 1999).
Psychogenic factors: A lot of anxiety and stress are associated with stuttering and appear to exacerbate the condition of the individual. As a disorder, stuttering is not new. On the contrary, there were references to its existence, since ancient times in all cultures. Explained elevated rates in our countries, maybe the intense lifestyle, the fast pace of movement and the nervous atmosphere that creates an environment quite suited to the incubation of various disorders. People with the speech flow disorder are consumed in the symptoms of their speech, and this necessarily causes stress. Stress, in turn, exacerbates the already existing difficulty in speech, replenishing the stress that is created. A vicious circle!
Therapy for stuttering
This versatile disorder cannot be considered as a one-way course according to its treatment. It is certain, that this disorder requires a multifactorial model of therapeutic intervention. Nobody is able to guarantee definitive removal of stuttering.
Therefore, only the timely and thorough evaluation and intervention will produce the best possible results. Treatment for stuttering is done by the logotherapist, using various methods, with the aim to limit the impact on their communication. Furthermore, psychological support from the wider environment is a very important factor.
Finally, people who stutter are aware of their problem and already have insecurity and fear. This means that they have to feel intimate, without being reminded of their difficulty.
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