Do you find it difficult to say words and syllables without repeating them? Does this disrupt the normal flow of your speech? If yes, you have a speech disorder called stuttering. The disorder is characterized by prolongations (llllllike this), repetitions (li-lil-like this), or abnormal stoppages of syllables and sounds. You may also exhibit struggling behaviors, such as tremors of the lips or rapid eye blinks. Stuttering can interfere with your daily life and put you in difficult situations.
Why Do People Stutter?
There are actually many different reasons why some people stutter. Here are some main explanations:
1. Developmental Stuttering
This usually occurs in young children who may still be learning language and speech skills. Some scientists are of the view that this type of stuttering occurs when a child's verbal demands are greater than their speech and language abilities. This type of stuttering may also run in families.
2. Neurogenic Stuttering
This type of stuttering occurs after a head trauma, stroke or other type of brain injury. Due to these injuries, your brain fails to coordinate effectively because of problems transmitting signals from brain to nerves and muscles.
3. Family Factors
Why do people stutter? A look on certain family factors may help find an answer. Your child is more likely to stutter if you stutter as well. Although there is no adequate scientific evidence to confirm this, about 60% of all stutters have someone else in their family with the same problem. Similarly, there are cases where stuttering in children is the outcome of high family expectations and a fast-paced lifestyle.
4. Psychological Factors
Some who have suffered an emotional trauma may end up developing stutter – this is called psychogenic stuttering, although this is a rare cause of stutter. Whatever the reason, stuttering may get worse for people due to several psychological factors, such as embarrassment, stress, etc. What it means is that low self-esteem, anxiety, stress and nervousness do not always cause stuttering on their own, but these issues can make stuttering worse.
When Stuttering Needs Medical Help
Now you know the answer to your question, "Why do people stutter?" it is equally important to learn when stuttering needs medical attention. For most children, stuttering is usually part of learning to speak, and it is more common in children between 2 and 5 years of age.
You need to talk to your doctor if your child stutters and his/her condition has not improved with time. You should see medical attention if stuttering persists for more than six months, occurs with other language problems, occurs with visible struggle to speak and muscle tightening, and affects the ability to communicate in social interactions.
How to Deal With Stuttering
You can take different steps to improve your condition and help your child overcome their speech problems. Here are some suggestions.
1. Relax Your Body
Anxiety can make your stuttering worse, so it is important to calm your nerves and relax your body. Relax your shoulders and try to release any tension in your neck, back and arms. It also helps to buzz your lips for a few seconds before you start speaking.
2. Relax Your Mind
Your stuttering will become worse if you think too much of it and hold yourself back all the time. Learn to let things go and do not over-think. You have to understand that stuttering may be annoying but it may not bother others as much as it bothers you. Meditate to improve your condition.
3. Read Books Out Loud
You have to develop a habit of reading out loud to overcome your stuttering issues. It will definitely take some time until you can develop the skill, but you should push yourself hard. This exercise will also help you learn how to breathe properly while speaking.
4. Try Breathing Exercises
Why do people stutter? Because they don't know how to breathe properly while speaking! Breathing exercises will help get your speech back. This does not have to be very difficult either. Always take a couple of deep breaths before speaking – make yourself think as if you are diving down into water and need to take deep breaths. Breathe deeply through your nose if you are in a social situation and feel a little bit embarrassed about deep breathing. Also, learn to breathe deeply through your nose when you stutter – many people forget it and this makes stuttering even worse.
5. Put Rhythm into Speech
Rhythm helps to control your stuttering. So many people who stutter otherwise face no such issue when they sing. It happens because the words in singing are prolonged. You can use the same technique when speaking. Putting a little rhythm into your speech will make a huge difference.
6. Take Your Time
Do not bash yourself when you try but fail to overcome your stuttering. You will make mistakes when trying new things, so do not be very hard on yourself. It is okay to make some mistakes, so long as you continue to try.
7. Don't Shy Away from Seek Medical Help
So many people stutter but do not see a speech therapist because they feel bad about it. There is nothing wrong in talking to a speech therapist because they identify the underlying cause of concern, share exercises, and give you tips on how to resolve your speech problems.