When most people think of issues with fluency of speech, stuttering is the first thing to come to mind. However, there is another common fluency disorder which receives far less attention: cluttering.

Cluttering does not necessarily involve repetitions of words or sounds as stuttering does; however, it is no less detrimental to fluency and intelligibility. A clutterer’s speech often contains frequent disfluencies, most notably, revisions and interjections, almost as if the speaker is interrupting himself. In addition, the individual may speak in short, rapid rushes of speech, separated by pauses. These pauses may seem oddly placed, and either unconventionally short or long. The language skills of a clutterer may also suffer, with the speaker often seeming unsure of exactly how to get their message across.

Because cluttering is not as neatly defined, nor as immediately obvious as a stutter, many clutterers do not receive the help they need until they have already struggled with the disorder for quite some time. In order to receive help, a clutterer will first undergo evaluation by a speech-language pathologist also referred to as a speech therapist. The speech therapist will listen to and analyze the speaking patterns of the individual and identify their particular areas of difficulty. In treatment, the primary goal is often to slow the rate of speech and teach appropriate conversational pausing patterns. The speech therapist may accomplish this with a variety of methods, including visual cueing (e.g. having the patient read aloud with pauses written into the text) or auditory cueing (e.g. using a delayed auditory feedback device to assist the client in timing their speech rate). With intervention by a trained speech-language pathologist, clutterers can often improve their fluency and learn to produce fully intelligible speech.

If you or a loved one is having difficulty with speech, language, communication, or swallowing, they may need the help of a speech therapist. Contact Speech Associates of New York today to find a professional speech-language pathologist who can help you communicate to your fullest. Remember, early intervention is the key to maintaining and developing strong communication skills. Call us today at (212) 308-7725.

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