Stammering also called stuttering is a person’s inability to speak a word or letter with a flow. It is an involuntary interruption in speech encountered while speaking words beginning with or sound like b, d, g, k, p and t. It is accompanied by red face, blinking of eyes and tremor of jaws while speaking. Although most common among small children between 3 to 7 years of age, it is also likely to persist in 1 out of 100 adults if not taken care of. Although stammering is a physical condition, there is no proper medication for stammering. The best way to overcome is through speech therapy. Person or children suffering from stammering could also develop some psychological conditions such as feeling ashamed and embarrassed; in those cases it is best to boost confidence by providing a relaxed environment without being judgmental. In very extremes cases, intense psychological therapy is needed. There are also a lot of physical condition that accompanies stammering such as jaw ache, shortness of breath and tiredness due to excess workload on mind and body. Generally, these physical conditions are not treated specifically but it is always important to maintain a healthy and protein rich diet to provide ample energy to the mind and body.
Stammering is very common among young children between 3 to 7 years and it also goes away with age without treatment. However, in case of elongated and prolonged stammering especially during teenage requires proper care and treatment. A speech and language therapist (SLT) is the best person to treat stammering. Though the whole treatment is based on physical exercise and everyday therapy that can be done at home, it is advisable to consult a therapist before starting the procedure. The reason being the different types of stammering and different therapy that is effective for that particular stammering.
A good speech therapist will recommend you to concentrate both on physical exercises for strengthening the organs such as tongue, lips, jaw and lungs along with speech therapy. One of the best way to overcome stammering is to provide the person a relax and friendly environment where he/she doesn’t feel hesitated to speak. Boosting confidence is also very effective in overcoming psychological conditions related to stammering such as frustration, embarrassment and shame. Focusing on controlled breathing also helps in treating stammering. Some effective speech therapy includes speaking slowly and calmly, repeating the words where you stammer and the vowels A, E, I, O, U and singing. Last but not the least is to add nutrition to your diet especially those minerals that boost mental alertness.
Although it is very common among young children, the treatment is only for those children who are not overcoming it even after 10 years. In some cases, when the stammering is more than normal for small children, it is advisable to consult a speech therapist whether or not the child needs treatment. The treatment is generally done after 7 or 8 years which can last for a few months or can go up to a couple of years and more.
All those children who are below age 6 don’t require the treatment for stammering as it is also a part of child’s development. Similar to the process of crawling before walking, almost every child has stammering in the initial stage before developing proper speech. So it is not advisable to treat small children for stammering.
As the treatment is based on therapy and doesn’t include any medication, there are no possible side effects of the treatment. However, if the psychological therapy is not yielding result over a long period of time it can further affect the mental health in a negative way.
Stammering is not a chronic disease but it can show slightest of possible occurrence in negligible amount in your speech. As for the post treatment guidelines, there is none except to continue with the therapy everyday and reducing it slowly rather than ending abruptly. Another important point to keep in mind is that it is not a disease but a condition, so practicing speech therapy often even after overcoming stammering is also recommended by many practitioners.
the treatment of stammering is a slow and gradual process. Minor stammering or stuttering can be treated in a couple of months through speech therapy. However, major stammering requires a lot more time to be treated completely. The speech therapy along with psychological therapy can start from 3 months and can last up to a year or two and even more.
the price of the treatment in India varies greatly depending on the city. In small cities the consultation starts at INR 200 per visit as compared to metropolitan cities where the consultation stats at INR 500. Some of the leading speech specialist can charge a whopping INR 2000 per visit. The Indian government also has free speech therapies clinic for minorities and backward classes.
The results of the treatment are mostly permanent. However, in negligible cases it shows the tendency of coming back which can be treated by continuing the therapy. If the therapy is effective and is continued for some time even after overcoming stammering, the chances of this disorder coming back is nearly impossible.
As for alternatives, there is none better than motivational courses. However, there are many people who prefer going under the knife for tongue surgery in order to treat stammering. Other non surgical alternatives for stammering include acupuncture, chiropratic treatment and electroshock.