Stammering or stuttering is a disorder of fluency in speech where the person requires unusual amount of muscular effort to speak. It is a speech coordination problem that is related to faulty breathing and speaking patterns. Speech needs a very specific sequence of coordinated movements of breathing and speech muscles. Any interruption in the sequence can lead to stammering. It can be compared with a hose pipe, if you constrict the pipe anywhere along its length, water flow is not smooth.
Stammering is not just repetitions of syllables as in ‘b-b-banana’ it’s also when a person uses extra sounds like ‘uh’ or ‘um’ to get a word started. The pauses in speech could last from a few seconds to even a minute.
This condition is often associated with other typical behaviours such as poor eye contact, abnormal head and hand movements, shifting the jaw to one side or flaring the nose while speaking. The person facing this concern may also have low self esteem and may avoid usage of certain words or speaking situations. Stammering generally starts in early childhood around 2 – 5 years of age, when a child is in the process of speech development and can continue in adulthood if not treated completely. Onset of stammering in adults is less common and there is no definite cause for why it happens.
Why it happens
The most common form of stammering in adults is due any injury to the brain from trauma or stroke. The other reason is due to some emotional or stressful events. The person may start stammering due to the shock of the event and may even recover on her own after the shock wears out. Some people who have had stammering in childhood and then got cured may experience a relapse of symptoms in adulthood.
The relation between stress and stammering is a vicious circle. You develop stammering due to anxiety and because of the diagnosis you get further anxious and your problem worsens.
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