Stuttering (also known as “dysfluency”) refers to a disruption in the normal flow and rhythm of speech. Stuttering often takes the form of repetitions – either in parts of words (e.g., “ta-ta-talking””), whole words (e.g., “I – I – I…”) or phrases (e.g., “where is the – where is the – where is the book?”). A person may prolong sounds (e.g., “s-s-s-soap”) or even seem to stop their voice in the middle of a word. Stuttering may sometimes be accompanied by associated characteristics such as body and facial movements, excessive body tension, irregular breathing or changes in voice.
Everyone experiences breaks in the natural smoothness of their speech sometimes. Normal speech may include between 2% – 4% interruptions in fluency. Young children, typically between the ages of 2 to 7 years, will often experience periods of dysfluency as they learn to talk. This can be a difficult time for parents and other family members, since stuttering can vary from day to day as well as across different situations. A speech therapist can help to identify the pattern of dysfluency and to provide ongoing education and strategies to increase fluent speech.
For adults with longer standing difficulties, speech therapy can provide the strategies and tools needed to improve communication skills within a supportive environment, where each individual can work towards meeting their unique goals. Increased confidence in speaking more fluently is an important focus.
For more information, please see: www.osla.on.ca/en/stuttering