22 October, 2013
by Seema Adlakha
Speech is learned behaviour therefore,any such disorder can be cured by Therapy.
Therapist first analyses the degree of the problem then Therapy is planned accordingly.
The idea behind the Therapy is to give these people the confidence to face Life.
Once fluency in speech is attained , it does not necessarily remain permanent. This requires what is called
“Maintenance Therapy“. The person with disorder withdraws from the clinic but remains in touch with the therapist. The Psycho Therapy plays a crucial role at this juncture. Group activities like enacting a play
or putting up other performances , are encouraged. The opportunity for public speaking proves to be
extremely valuable. Psychotherapy is therefore , an important part of speech therapy.
Main aim is to build up an inner self-confidence because the disorder nearly impairs the person’s confidence.
About 30 percent of the boys/girls had started off by imitating somebody in their class or neighborhood for fun.
They had been applauded for this mimickery but very soon the disfluency became a part of their own speech.
Some people often recover from a prolonged illness like typhoid with some impairment of speech.
A major trauma or fear often caused by very strict and dominating elders — parents or teachers — gives
rise to stammering . Children also sub-consciously imitate somebody in their environment who stammers
i.e. they learn to stammer unknowingly. If parents react with undue panic or harshness and try to
immediately rectify child’s speech, the problem is likely to take a deeper root.
Yet, one should not ignore the early symptoms.
The disorder is more common among boys than girls, the ratio being almost 5:1.
It is also more common among the upper and upper middle classes, the reason being
that among these classes there is greater pressure to put up a show, to pretend to be what you are not.
This duality of personality begins to show up in speech disorders.
On an average it takes few months to be fluent. But the time taken actually depends on the severity of the problem if care is not taken then a person can relapse into the stammering habit again.
People stammer not because of the malfunctioning of the speech organs nor is it an ailment which can be
corrected by medicines or surgery. In fact, speech being a learnt behaviour and stammering can sometimes start as an innocuous prank in childhood .like imitating someone who stammers , which then gradually develops into a Habit. Another reason could be after a prolonged illness like typhoid or meningitis.
Since the mental vocabulary keeps expanding ,the person tries to talk in a normal pace but his vocal organs
do not match the speed of thoughts and hence the stammering .
There could be other psychological reasons like lack of attention, inferiority complex because of comparison with a Peer group etc., which leads to disfluency in a child. It is a problem which can be handled with proper therapy and co-operation from both the person who Stammers and his family.
This type of collective therapy is most effective because the person feels that it is just not him but there are Many like him who stammer and are trying to overcome it. And the ones who have stopped stuttering play a
Motivating role in making others believe that even they can be fluent one day.
The same method of treatment does not work for all, so the therapy should be customized according to the age , Degree and family environment.