Running Head: Stuttering
Stuttering: How Distracting is it?
Stuttering affects about 1% of the American population. It is a communication disorder which repeats, prolongs, and/or has abnormal stoppage of sounds. This can be difficult for people to communicate with each other and delay communication learning (NIDCD, 2012). Stuttering is thought to be caused by as many as four reasons including genetics, the development of the child, nerve functions in the brain, and the lifestyle of the family (Stuttering Foundation, 2013). This study will investigate whether stuttering affects the way non-stutterers retrieve information. Background
Stuttering, or stammering, varies in cultures but children from higher social and economic class tend to have more stuttering dysfunctions (Leung & Robson, 1990). People not only stutter with the verbal communication but physically too; meaning the body can’t be controlled at times. This includes excessive blinking of the eyes, squeezing eyes shut during a stutter episode, loss of eye contact and/or side-to-side movement of the eyes (Zebrowski, 2003). In ancient Greece it was said that someone who stutters had a dry tongue which could be fixed by chemicals or surgery in the mouth. In the 19th Century it was believed that the mouth had a defect that needed disfiguring, nonreversible surgery to fix it. Finally by the 20th Century it was believed that instead of stuttering being a physical defect, it was a psychological disorder which still stands today (Barclay & Lawrence, 1998). Some people start stuttering when they are very young, around ages 2-4, while others start later on between 8-12 years old. Mostly males start a stutter later on in their childhood versus females (Davis, Howell, Williams, 2008). After preschool years, it isn’t likely the children will naturally recover from stuttering and it will cause the child to be scholastically and socially challenged because of the disorder (Nippold. Packman. 2012). People deal with the disorder in many different ways because the patient feels ashamed, guilty and embarrassed. Mental distress occurs in many different ways between stutterers which causes them to have lower self-esteem and keep away from anything uncomfortable or causes anxiety, and makes them feel trapped (Bryngelson, 1935). Not only does it cause severe anxiety, but social phobia is connected with stuttering also (de Carle, Pato, 1996). Research Questions
RQ1. Do people retain more or less information when a person who stutters is talking? RQ2. How does it make non-stutterers feel when a person stutters? (Uncomfortable, angry, sad, etc.) Thought Process
Data collected from 28 different speech therapists who all stutter said there is no link between intelligence and stuttering. (Van Riper, 2008). There is nothing that says a person who stutters is not smart, but that does not mean the thought process isn’t slowed down while in the middle of stuttering or trying to say a sentence. The exact cause of a stutter is currently unknown but information is still being collected. Talking requires interaction between language and hearing centers in the brain and airflow through the physical apparatus that produces speech - diaphragm, larynx, vocal cords, tongue and lips; but somewhere there is a malfunction that causes stuttering (Carroll, 2002). Stutters can be known to take normal situations of tension and anxiety to the next level which in turn could cause the stuttering. For example, speaking in class or taking phone calls. Stutterers are typically able to whisper or sing without any stuttering or if they are talking to a close friend which wouldn’t be very high pressure on the stutterer (Carroll, 2002). It has also been found that the language a stutterer uses is less complex than the non-stutterer (Ferguson, Onslow, Packman, Spencer. 2008.).
There are many different ways to treat someone who stutters. It starts with speech therapy...
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