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Stuttering is a disease that can and should be treated. Getting stuck in speech hinders communication and interpersonal contacts. Interestingly, specialists see a link between stuttering and left-handedness in children.

Stuttering , as few speech disorders cause isolation in the group, hinders education and career development. Over 80 percent of people who stutter are men. Interestingly, the representation of both genders is similar among 2-3-year-olds who cannot speak fluently, but already in primary school, stuttering is noticeable four times more often in boys than in girls.

Stuttering - where does it come from and how it manifests itself

Stuttering usually begins in childhood, between the ages of 3 and 6, during the development of speech (early childhood stuttering) and then develops during adolescence and adulthood (advanced stuttering). However, there are forms of acquired stuttering caused by neurological changes or psychological trauma. Acquired stuttering can arise at different ages, and its course is atypical.
Stuttering is not so much inherited, but inherited, we are passed on to a defective nervous system, which sometimes produces susceptibility to disorder. However, it is true that if at least one parent hasspeech disorder , the child's risk of stuttering increases significantly, regardless of gender. It is supposed that this may be due to differences in the structure of the corpus callosum, which connects the hemispheres of the brain. In women, it is more developed, which allows for a greater exchange of information between different centers in the brain and promotes the development of fluent speech.In people who stutter, apart from disfluent speech, specific neurophysiological reactions are observed. It may be a raised tension in the speech organs, e.g. trembling lips or tongue, eyes closing, frowning of the forehead and eyebrows. They often turn red or pale and have trouble breathing or maintaining eye contact.

Stuttering hinders interpersonal contacts

Speech disorders can significantly hinder interpersonal contacts. Stutterers speak reluctantly, speak to a negligible extent, and significantly reduce the length of their speech. Logophobia, or the fear of speaking, and the resulting problemsEmotional stuttering occurs primarily in cases of more severe stuttering. It sometimes happens that anxiety states that it is difficult or impossible to communicate linguistically.

Stuttering and left-handedness

Left-handednesscan lead to stuttering. The left hemisphere specializes in linguistic functions, the right - in visual-spatial tasks. Meanwhile, stutterers have a much more active right hemisphere of the brain, especially when perceiving verbal utterances, while fluent speakers have the dominant left hemisphere. Teaching left-handed children to use their right hand leads to the development of additional areas of speech also in the left hemisphere. As a consequence, we deal with the incompatibility of impulses flowing simultaneously from both hemispheres, which may disturb the fluency of speech.

Emotional states of stutterers

Research on communication in stuttering shows that children who stutter at a younger school age exhibit lower language proficiency than their peers who do not stutter. Children who speak inconsistently tend to make grammar mistakes much more often and have a poorer vocabulary.
In the description of the personality of stutterers, there is a tendency to neuroticism and frustration. However, they are not frustrating people, nor are they neurotics prone to introversion or depression. Their disposition is primarily influenced by the fact that they are subjected to long-term communication stress, which can significantly reduce their mental resilience. But here, too, there is a very large individual differentiation. Much depends on life experiences, temperament and environmental influences.
A child grows out of stuttering over the years. A frequently observed phenomenon in preschoolers is developmental disfluency in speaking, which is a normal stage in some children during the period of speech development. Developmental speech disfluency actually decreases with the age of the child as the child improves the language system (provided that it is not perpetuated by inappropriate reactions from the environment). We observe a different situation in the case of early childhood stuttering. Here, as the child grows older, periods of disfluidity lengthen and periods of temporary improvement are shortened. In such a situation, prophylaxis is not enough, as in the case of developmental speech disfluency, specialist treatment becomes necessary.
Stuttering therapy should begin with a visit to a speech therapist. He has many methods at his disposal, but their effects depend primarily on the patient's involvement and the cooperation of his family. In some cases, pharmacotherapy is used as a support for speech therapy exercises. It consists in taking medicationsanti-depressants, anxiolytics to remove anxiety associated with speaking.

Where to go for help

Therapies used by speech therapists

» Methods of shaping the fluency of speech - rhythmization of speaking, speech support by gesture, dragging vowels.
»Apparatus support methods , using delayed auditory feedback and transposition of speech frequency (echocorrectors, metronomes, digital speech equalizer, maskers of auditory control).
» Breathing methods - in the speech of stutterers, they often appear breathing disorders; it is usually irregular and shallow. These methods emphasize the coordination of movements that make up the speaking activity: breathing, phonation, articulation. By performing appropriate breathing exercises, the patient learns to remove the tension of the respiratory muscles, mainly the diaphragm, which, when stretched, increases the feeling of nervousness. short-blast (p, b, t, g) during pronunciation at the beginning of a word. This is because their implementation is the most difficult for a stutterer. This technique aims to develop the patient's ability to gently control the contraction of the speech organs, which reduces the pressure in the mouth, and as a result reduces the tension in the muscles of the lips, tongue and soft palate.
» Psychotherapeutic methods - relaxation, sociotherapy, drama.
» Pharmacological treatment - in justified cases, in cooperation with a doctor, antidepressants, antipsychotics, dopamine antagonists, drugs lowering muscle tension are used, antiepileptic drugs.

Singing helps cure stuttering

We don't stutter when we sing. The resolution of stuttering during singing is based on the regularity according to which Polish vowels are the main component of syllables, i.e. they are syllabic sounds. They are therefore characterized by the possibility of dragging them, unlike consonants, which cannot produce syllables. In singing, vowels gain a natural advantage over consonants, so disfluency disappears.

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