Did you know that over three million Americans stutter? In an effort to bring public attention to stuttering, each year on October 22, organizations around the world observe International Stuttering Awareness Day. In support of this campaign, Speech Associates of NY is dedicating this week’s blog to discussing some basic facts about stuttering, tips for communicating with a person who stutters, and how a speech therapist can help.
How Many Children Stutter? An estimated 5% of children will experience a period of stuttering that lasts for six months or more. Of that 5%, approximately three-fourths will grow out of their stutter, leaving just over 1% of children who have a persistent speech disfluency. There’s no way to tell for sure which children will grow out of stuttering, but there are some factors that play a role, including family history, age of onset, and gender.
Tips for Speaking with a Person who Stutters: A person who stutters may have difficulty getting out the words they want to say, but clearly they want to be respected and listened to just like every other person. Listen in a respectful and patient manner, don’t interrupt, and never ever attempt to finish a person who stutters sentence for them. You may feel like you’re helping, but this comes across as rude and impatient and can be extremely aggravating for the speaker. Slowing down your own speech and giving plenty of time for the other person to formulate a response are also helpful strategies.
How Does Speech Therapy Help? The main goal of speech therapy is to help the individual feel comfortable saying what they want to say in any situation. This doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating a stutter. Rather, the goal is often to develop the confidence to speak regardless of whether you stutter while saying it or not. However, speech therapy can also involve techniques and strategies to decrease the intensity or fluency of a stutter, decrease secondary behaviors like twitching or blinking, and to more easily get out of a stutter if one occurs. Speech therapy for stuttering is highly individualized, as the techniques used to reduce a stutter can vary from person to person, depending on their particular type of disfluency and personal preference.
Do you stutter or have a child or family member who stutters? Share your experience in the comments section below!
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!
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