If you or a loved one has a stutter, you’re not alone.
But if you’re wondering “where can I find a speech therapist for stuttering adults near me”, you’re in the right place.
At New Horizons Wellness Services, our adult speech therapists treat clients of all ages who are in need of support in the areas of speech, language, cognition, oral motor, fluency and social communication.
Our goal is to empower clients to gain the skills and communicative confidence that they need to thrive at school, at home, and in every facet of life.
Which leads us to the topic of stuttering, which you’ve likely heard about at some point.
It might have been from a movie (such as the King’s Speech), a TV show, or perhaps you or someone you know stutters.
Speech language pathologists are the professionals who typically work with individuals who stutter.
They can help at all ages – a speech pathologist for kids or teenagers starts from age two and up, but stuttering can affect you into adulthood.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Stuttering And Disfluency
You may hear the word “disfluency” associated with discussions about stuttering.
Disfluency is the breaks or disruptions that often occur during speech.
All speakers demonstrate a natural level of disfluency in their speech.
In fact, even seasoned speakers with no speech or language disorder may use interjections such as “um” or “like”, or have slight repetitions in the beginning of words.
Often, you may hear children at a young age use higher amounts of disfluency, which is sometimes due to the amount of language they’re learning at the time.
But stuttering is different.
What Are the Symptoms Of Stuttering?
There are two things that set stuttering apart from typical disfluency.
First of all, they tend to happen more frequently.
As well, those who stutter generally have low self esteem and low self image when it comes to their speech.
Disfluency can manifest itself in a stuttering disorder in several different ways.
That can include:
- Prolongations – <em>ssssssssss-snake</em>, for example
- Multiple repetitions of a full word, or a speech sound within a word
- Pauses or silence within words
- Difficulty beginning to speak
Additionally, we often see what we call secondary behaviors in people who stutter.
This refers to behaviors that are used to attempt to “escape” a moment of stuttering.
This might look like someone turning their head, blinking their eye, or pressing their fist against a table.
Those who stutter also often have low self esteem as a result, and may have social anxiety.
What Causes Stuttering?
There is not enough research to tell us what causes stuttering definitively.
However, many experts think that it likely has a neurological basis.
Stuttering is not related to intelligence or cognition, nor is it caused by anxiety, though individuals may experience anxiety as a result.
What we do know is that roughly 1% of the population stutters.
Factors that contribute to the development of stuttering include:
- Genetics – having a family history of stuttering
- Child development – children with accompanying speech or language problems are more likely to stutter – including childhood apraxia of speech and Down syndrome
- Sex – stuttering is more common in males
- Stroke – while adjusting to life after a stroke you may find you developed a stutter – this is called neurogenic stuttering
While environmental factors don’t cause stuttering, certain factors may contribute to the frequency and severity of stuttering, such as high levels of competition for speaking.
How Can Speech Therapy For Stuttering Help?
So what do speech pathologists do exactly to help individuals who stutter?
There are various approaches taken with preschoolers, often, which involve providing both direct and indirect feedback about their speech.
All approaches include a home program, where parents are encouraged to implement treatment strategies at home.
For children eight years or older, speech therapy takes a comprehensive treatment approach.
We’ll work with your child to help them manage their stutter, first of all.
While there is currently no known cure for stuttering, there are therapeutic practices that can help manage it.
In some limited cases, adults report their stutter disappearing suddenly, but the reason why this happens is not well understood.
In most cases, those who stutter beyond age eight will stutter for the rest of their lives.
Beyond that, though, we’ll also work with your child to teach them self acceptance strategies.
Often, stuttering can come with negative emotions.
Your child may become frustrated that they can’t get their ideas across.
They may also develop social anxiety as a result of the shame they may feel around their speech.
The number of therapy visits your child may need varies from person to person.
But typically, treatment ends once your child is able to self manage their stutter and the fears and anxiety that come with it.
This approach includes a home program where both you and your get strategies to practice outside of sessions.
Book Your Appointment With New Horizons Wellness Services Today
An important take away from this article is that speech therapy treatments for stuttering shouldn’t focus on “fixing” or “curing” the stuttering.
This is a speech therapy myth – there is no evidence of any reliable or research based way to do so.
However, there is hope.
Speech therapy for stuttering focuses on improving your or your child’s quality of life.
By helping you or your child feel more comfortable with their voice, you can enjoy social situations much more easily.
If you or your child has a stutter, we can help.
Book your appointment with New Horizons Wellness Services today.
Yours in Health,New Horizons Wellness Services
13333 SW 68th Pkwy,
Tigard, OR 97223
New Horizons Wellness Services provides a true multidisciplinary approach to mental & physical health treatments for children, adults and families.