Stuttering Paper

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According to Singular's Pocket Dictionary of Speech-Language Pathology “stuttering is an articulatory or phonatory problem that typically presents in childhood and is characterized by anxiety about the efficacy of spoken communication, along with forced, involuntary hesitation, duplication, and protraction of sounds and syllables.” Stuttering can be witnessed in the rate, pitch, inflection, and even facial expressions of a speaker. The cause of this problem is not set in stone, which leads to countless theories as to why people stutter. Along with numerous theories as to why people have this disorder, there are also limitless treatment methods that can be used to help a speaker with a stuttering problem. Stuttering has been a controversial topic among professionals for hundreds of years, and we are still learning what works and what does not work for this curious disorder.

The etiology of stuttering is not certain to this day. Many professionals are torn between the psychological and neurological theories as to why people stutter. There are many theories which explain stuttering as a psychosomatic problem that can be dealt with by using psychotherapy. The “Repressed Need” hypothesis explains that stuttering is a neurotic symptom which is fixed in the unconscious. The repressed need is said to come from a longing for either oral or anal gratification. The stutterer is able to satisfy their anal erotic needs by the “holding back of words that may represent a hostile expulsion and retention of feces.” This theory is closely related to Freud’s Oral and Anal stages. Some theorists believe that stuttering is caused by the “Anticipatory struggle”. The anticipatory struggle hypothesis explains that p63 “stutterers interfere in some manner with the way they are talking because of their belief in the difficulty of speech.” The stutterer is so frightened of making a mistake during speech they in turn avoid, brake, or interject their words and sentences. Stuttering is thought to be a variant disorder, meaning it can affect a person in certain situations that bring them great anxiety or fear. Using a phone and speaking in front of a group of people are examples of this . Although many signs point to a psychological explanation for stuttering, genetic and neurological problems have also been tied to stuttering. Early theorists, like the Roman physicians believed stuttering was related to an imbalance of the “four humors”, and humoral balance treatments were used to treat stuttering until the late eighteenth century. A more modern explanation of a neurological problem that causes stuttering would be the “cerebral dominance theory”, that explains conflict between the two hemispheres of the brain is the cause of stuttering.

Stuttering has many different types of specified dysfluencies. Although there are hesitations and interruptions found in all speakers, the disfluency found in stutterers seems to be more severe. There are several forms of dysfluencies when dealing with stuttering including interjections, repetitions, and revisions. A stutterer can encompass one or many dysfluencies ranging from minor incidents to very extreme episodes of stuttering. Interjections occur frequently in both fluent speakers and dysfluent speakers. An interjection occurs with the speaker uses “uh” or “er” while speaking. Repetitions also are common for stutterers. Repetitions can occur in part of the word ,” wh wh what” in the entire word, “what what what” and in phrases, “ what do what do what do you want?” Revisions during sentences such as,”I was, I am going” also happen often, along with broken words; I was t---alking, and prolonged sounds like the “wa” sound in what are also usual in stuttering.

Like other speech disorders, stuttering mainly occurs in children who show no evidence of having any other type of disorder. Stuttering comes in many shapes and forms and can be slight to extremely severe, making the all characteristics of this disorder...
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