Types of Stuttering Therapy

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

Stuttering can have a significant impact on an individual's daily life. Read this lesson to learn more about the effects of stuttering and different types of stuttering therapy.

What is Stuttering?

Stuttering is characterized by the repetition of words, parts of words, and the heavy use of interjections like 'um', 'uh', or even 'like'. Normal speech patterns and conversation follow general fluency, or a general sentence flow that has minimal interruptions or word pattern changes and is easy to follow. A person who stutters speaks with disfluency, or an abnormal pattern in their conversations and verbal interactions.

The Impact of Stuttering

Occasional disfluency does not cause a significant impact to the individual, but severe cases of stuttering and disfluency cause people to avoid certain situations and make lifestyle changes to avoid speaking or making conversation. Cindy, for example, is an aspiring college student who is passionate about politics and looking forward to attending university sometime in the next year. Unfortunately, Cindy has severely stuttered since she was a young child. To make it through high school without ridicule and mocking from her classmates, Cindy has tried to:

  • Avoid teasing by others through avoidance of social situations.
  • Avoid heated and passionate conversations regarding hot political topics.
  • Frequently passed on her turn during debate.

After Cindy researched some potential political science programs, she learned that she will be required to debate differing perspectives, deliver public speeches, and ultimately translate her thoughts into effective verbal communication.

Treatment Options

For many years, Cindy refused to work on her speech impediment and denied that she had an issue with stuttering. Now that Cindy has made the decision to pursue her dream of a career in political science, she knows that she will have to work on her stuttering. She speaks with her high school's speech language pathologist (a credentialed professional who provides treatment for people with speech, language, and hearing deficits) to learn about her treatment options.

Sarah, the speech language pathologist (SLP), is happy to help Cindy overcome stuttering. The SLP recommends that Cindy commit to working with her regularly, and says treatment will consist of a variety of techniques and strategies based on individual needs. The techniques involve the physical nature of producing verbal language, as well as behavioral and psychological techniques to reduce stuttering and disfluency.

Psychological Treatment

Cindy has spent many years being afraid that others would make fun of her stuttering, and this fear has held her back from doing things she would otherwise enjoy. The SLP understands this, and spends time with Cindy discussing these fears and how to overcome them. Sarah tells Cindy that now that she has accepted the stuttering, she can work on making changes toward improving her situation. Because Cindy was aware of her stuttering, she could now accept it, and stop avoiding social situations.

Although running through some of her past experiences and fears related to stuttering is emotionally painful and difficult, it keeps Cindy motivated in her treatment plan and keeps her focused on getting into the political science program.

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