Monday, May 7, 2012
Stuttering Doesn’t Have to be a Barrier
Written by Beth Phillips
Singer Carly Simon and actors Emily Blunt and Nicholas Brendon didn’t let stuttering stop them from becoming successful. More than 3 million Americans stutter, according to the Stuttering Foundation of America. And although there are no instant cures, there are a variety of successful approaches to treating the disorder.
Many children go through a stage of speech development when they are dysfluent. Parents may be concerned when they hear these dysfluencies that stuttering will develop. Jim Dembowski, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, assistant professor in the Department of Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, said parents who notice stuttering that persists beyond three to six months or is particularly severe, should seek help from a speech-language pathologist. A speech-language evaluation can determine if the child is experiencing normal dysfluencies or if the dysfluencies are true stutters.
Dembowski said in addition to working with a speech-language pathologist, parents can
help their children to be more fluent by:
• Speaking in an unhurried way, pausing frequently.
• Reducing the number of questions they ask and pausing before answering.
• Using body language to convey they’re listening to their child’s message.
• Helping family members take turns talking and listening.
Stuttering is usually harder for adults to overcome than for children. However, the speech of adults who stutter is often substantially improved with therapy, even when stuttering is not completely eliminated, Dembowski said. Many adults who stutter find that working on their stuttering improves their social interactions, their employment prospects and their overall confidence as communicators.
To set up an interview with Dembowski, call (806) 743-2143 ext. 226.
For more breaking news and experts, follow @ttuhscnews on Twitter.
Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 743-2143.