Stuttering or childhood onset fluency disorder is treatable. Individuals may be predisposed to stuttering due to inheritable genetic mutations. Therefore, no speech-language pathologist (SLP) or speech therapist can guarantee a cure for stuttering.
So, why should you or your loved one visit a speech therapist? Why should you spend time and money attending speech therapy sessions, if there’s no guaranteed cure for stuttered speech?
These are all valid questions that all parents, individuals who stutter, and even children ask before enrolling for speech therapy.
To make your research easier, we have collected the commonly asked questions from all our users and our experts have answered them for you.
1. Why Should I Visit A Speech-language Pathologist?
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and speech therapists are trained professionals who can help assess childhood onset disfluency disorders and communication disorders.
The diagnosis of stuttering requires several parameters. The expert may want to assess the severity of disfluency along with the incidence of secondary behavior before they can chalk out a treatment plan.
You can expect personalized treatment plans. An SLP or speech therapist may also be able to explain why you or your loved one may need psychological counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Psychotherapy and speech therapy may work together to help a person overcome their fear, shame and embarrassment of stuttering. The person may be able to gain enough confidence to comfortably speak in public.
2. Do I Really Need Stuttering Treatment?
Have you been stuttering since you were a child? Or, have you recently begun stuttering out of the blue, and it has persisted for the past few weeks?
Both the cases demand the attention of speech-language pathologists. Stuttering in adults is multifactorial and the expert will need to rule out any health concerns before your stuttering treatment begins.
If you are unsure about starting stuttering treatment, then it’s time to consider if stuttering is taking a toll on the quality of your life.
- Keep you from speaking in social situations
- Cause you to avoid meeting friends or colleagues
- Stop you from speaking during meetings and presentations
- Cause anxiety and fear in public speaking situations
- Create a loss of self-esteem and self-worth
You may blame your disfluency for the opportunities you had to pass on. You may be avoiding phone calls and Zoom meets right now.
These are all signifiers that you need therapy and treatment for your speech disfluency.
Treatment will address the physiological aspects of stuttering along with the negative attitudes and emotions that have developed due to years of holding yourself back.
3. Can I Receive Stuttering Treatment Remotely?
Driving all the way to a clinic may not be the best idea during the pandemic situation. Does that mean you should not receive stuttering treatment?
Absolutely not! Several speech therapists are now offering video consultations for their clients. They are trying their best to continue the treatment of ongoing clients via remote consultations.
You can request sessions with a SLP or speech therapist. He/she will assess your stuttering, guide you and teach you speech exercises. They will monitor your progress.
Apart from video sessions, you can also opt for app-based stuttering therapy. Stamurai offers holistic speech therapy exercises, sessions with speech therapists and practice sessions with fellow clients.
You can keep track of your progress through the same platform.
It is entirely possible to receive stuttering treatment remotely as long as you have your smartphone, laptop or PC.
4. Does Remote Stuttering Treatment Work As Well As In-clinic Treatment?
The remote stuttering treatment you choose will influence your progress and success rate to a significant degree.
In-clinic setups typically require a clinician, who interacts with the client to determine the severity and impact of their stuttering. There is no reason why teletherapy or video therapy should pose a challenge to that process.
It will, however, depend on the clinician’s level of comfort with technology and assisting someone remotely.
Always inquire about the experience of an SLP or speech therapist thoroughly before you sign up for stuttering treatment. Today, most therapists, as well as counselors are offering their services via video calling.
You should be able to enjoy the benefits of stuttering therapy whether you choose an in-clinic setup or remote treatment services.
5. Will Stuttering Treatment Give Me 100% Fluency?
You will come across several ads for stuttering treatments and speech therapies that guarantee 100% fluency. These are exactly the ones you should take with a grain of salt.
No SLP or speech therapist can guarantee a cure for stuttering irrespective of their experience, training and methods.
The goal of stuttering therapy should be to ease your stuttering. That means you may be able to speak without the fear of blocks and stutter with ease.
For younger children, especially toddlers, it may be possible to reverse their stuttering and restore fluent speech through indirect (and, sometimes, direct) therapy.
A good SLP will teach your stuttering modification and fluency shaping techniques that will make speaking easier and less scary.
However, stuttering is a multifactorial disorder that has no perfect cure. Therefore, no stuttering treatment can guarantee 100% fluency or a complete cure to anyone who stutters, irrespective of their age.
6. My Preschool-aged Child Is Stuttering, Should I Take Him/Her For Stuttering Treatment?
Children as young as 18 months old may begin to show signs of stuttering.
Almost all children exhibit a certain level of disfluency while learning bigger words and forming complex sentences. Nonetheless, you should consider taking your preschool-aged child to a speech therapist or speech-language pathologist if s/he is at a high risk for developing stuttering.
Here are a few factors that increase a child’s chances of developing childhood onset disfluency –
- The child has been stuttering for longer than 6 months
- The child is male
- There is someone in the family who stutters
7. What Are The Treatment Options For A Toddler Who Has Just Begun Stuttering?
It is common for young children (toddlers) to show some typical disfluency when they learn and use bigger words. Typically, 75% of these children will revert to fluent speech within weeks or months.
However, if your child has any of the risk factors we have mentioned above, you may need to contact a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or speech therapist who has experience in treating children who stutter.
One of the most popular approaches to treating stuttering in youngsters is the Lidcombe Program. It is an operant conditioning program that takes an indirect approach.
The Lidcombe Program teaches the parents to reinforce a child’s fluent speech. It is an indirect approach of speech therapy that also teaches parents to correct the child’s stutter whenever necessary. It teaches parents how to reduce demands on the child’s speech.
Research shows that using less-direct means of speech therapy such as the Lidcombe Program has the best outcomes for children.
8. Can A Toddler’s Stuttering Go Away On Its Own?
Stuttering may appear any time between the ages of 18 months and 5 years. Around 75% of the toddlers who begin to stutter recover without professional intervention.
However, if your child has been stuttering for longer than 6 months (26 weeks), a speech-language pathologist might be able to help.
The longer a toddler stutters, the less likely they are to outgrow stuttering without any professional help.
Around 25% of the children who begin stuttering at an early age continue to stutter throughout their life. They have what experts refer to as childhood onset fluency disorder or developmental stuttering.
It is difficult to tell developmental stuttering apart from occasional childhood disfluency. Therefore, it is always safer to consult a speech therapist or an SLP if your child has been showing signs and symptoms of stuttering for a few weeks.
9. I Have Been Attending Speech Therapy And My Speech Has Improved. Should I Continue With My Stuttering Treatment Plan?
Speech therapy is a slow but steady process. Once you have learned a few of the stuttering modification and fluency shaping techniques, you should feel more confident and your speech will become comparatively smoother.
Stopping speech therapy suddenly may increase the chances of relapse. You may want to continue practicing your speech exercises daily for a fixed duration even when your speech shows significant improvement.
Close to 80% of individuals who stutter may relapse after completing stuttering therapy. It is neither uncommon, nor shameful. Relapses are common when someone who stutters discontinues practicing speech exercises, or fails to self-correct and monitor their speech.
Quitting stuttering treatment or speech therapy increases your chances of a relapse. Always talk to your SLP or therapist if you are feeling demotivated, bored or uninterested in the current therapy.
10. I’m An Adult Who Stutters. How Can I Access Stuttering Therapy?
Today, there are several ways in which you may find access to stuttering therapy. You may walk into a clinic, opt for video conferencing or choose an app you can use from the comfort of your home.
If you live in the city, you may find a speech therapy clinic or a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who can inform you about your stuttering treatment options.
Apart from that, you can also opt for starting your stuttering therapy on a recognized and authentic speech therapy app like Stamurai. You can continue learning and practicing speech exercises, and you can follow your progress on the same platform.
11. As an adult, what can I expect from my stuttering treatment?
Stuttering treatment will not cure your stuttering magically. However, here are a few things you can expect from your therapy –
- You will learn new methods to overcome your blocks.
- You will explore new ways to speak easily and with less effort.
- The SLP will teach you how to overcome the negative feelings that might bubble up as you feel a stutter coming.
- You will learn how to ask for help and where to find it for your stuttering-related fear, anxiety, shame and depression.
It will probably take a couple of weeks or even a month before you notice an improvement in your speech.
You may see a significant improvement in your fluency and confidence after an intensive round of speech therapy for a few weeks.
The SLP or speech therapist will ask you to practice your speech exercises to prevent a relapse of stuttering.
You may rediscover your self-esteem, and confidence after you begin with stuttering treatment for adults.
12. Is There Any Professional Help For Children Who Have Been Stuttering For A Few Months Or Years?
Stuttering treatment is available for children of all ages. The approaches of treatment may vary according to the child’s age, the severity of stuttering and level of distress they exhibit.
You may contact a speech therapist or SLP who exclusively works with children. You may need to contact a psychological counselor if your child is aware of their stuttering and they are in distress because of it.
If you have no idea how to reach an SLP, your child’s pediatrician may be able to help you find one and recommend you to their office.
13. Will Stuttering Treatment Help My Child Cope With Bullying In School?
Stuttering therapy will not only help your child speak with ease, but it will also provide key information about stuttering.
Attending speech therapy will expand your child’s knowledge about speech disfluency and how it impacts someone’s life. It will also inform your child about bullying and how to reduce the impact of bullying.
Stuttering treatment may reduce the child’s concerns about stuttering. SLPs can teach important desensitization techniques that can boost your child’s self-esteem, improve their self-image and increase their confidence level.
It is a holistic therapy that may even help the child learn exactly how to respond to bullying.
Several clinicians encourage their clients to set up presentations and talks in their classes about stuttering. It can inform their classmates and teachers about childhood onset speech disfluency, and reduce the instances of bullying inside school premises.
14. Will Stuttering Therapy Boost My Child’s Confidence?
Stuttering therapy can reduce a child’s stuttering severity. Research shows that children respond more quickly to treatment as compared to adults.
If your child’s low confidence, anxiety and self-doubt stems from their inability to speak fluently, then stuttering treatment may help in boosting their confidence level.
Stuttering treatment may help your child with the following –
- Overcome their fear and anxiety of talking
- Decrease the avoidance of words and situations that trigger stuttering
- Help them speak for themselves whenever necessary
- Address their low self-esteem that stems from stuttering
- Stand up to bullying in class or playground
Your child may require the help of a psychological counselor if they are old enough to feel distressed by their stuttering. If they show signs of agitation, frustration, avoidance and depression, it is advisable to connect with a psychological counselor while your child is attending speech therapy sessions.
15. Is There Any Guarantee That Stuttering Treatment Will Work For My Child?
There is no way to guarantee whether stuttering treatment will work for someone. Several factors influence the outcome of stuttering treatment in children.
Severe stuttering may require more frequent sessions as compared to mild stuttering. If your child stutters severely, but their speech therapist offers rare guidance (infrequent sessions), they might not benefit much.
However, research shows that early intervention in the case of childhood stuttering is particularly effective. If you begin stuttering treatment within a couple of weeks after your child begins stuttering, the chances of them recovering is much higher.
A child who has no family history of stuttering, and no co-existing developmental disorders have higher chances of recovering.
Therapy methods including indirect and direct methods are more effective in treating stuttering children than they are in adults.
16. Are There Any Apps For Stuttering Treatment?
Stamurai, a cutting-edge speech therapy app can guide you or your loved one in your journey towards easy and smooth speech.
It offers complete guidance, guided breathing exercises, and speech exercises.
Stamurai is a reliable speech therapy app that also offers the users a chance to confer with experts speech therapists. The platform also allows the users to get in touch with each other via WhatsApp support groups and practice their newly acquired skills on moderated WhatsApp Video calls.
When you choose an app for your stuttering treatment, pick one that offers 360-degree guidance and support.
17. What Is The Alternative To Traditional Speech Therapy For Stuttering?
Although there are no FDA-approved medicines for treating stuttering, some antipsychotic medications are effective in reducing stuttering. Olanzapine and risperidone show promising effects by reducing blocks in adults who stutter.
Ziprasidone is a new compound that is effective in treating stuttering. It is well-tolerated and has effects similar to asenapine and aripiprazole.
A new category of medications like the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitors are being reviewed as treatment options for stuttering.
You can find several apps that can either compliment your speech therapy or replace your traditional speech therapy. Apps like Stamurai are revolutionizing stuttering treatment by offering complete sets of speech exercises.
One can follow their progress on the app. They can get in touch with others who stutter as well as talk to speech therapists when they feel the necessity.
Mobile apps can bring speech therapy to the comfort of one’s home.
DAF and FAF devices are both assistive devices. A survey by NSA in 2009 showed that around 50% of those who use assistive devices managed their stuttering more successfully as compared to those who don’t.
However, experts recommend that even adults should use assistive devices under the supervision of an SLP or speech therapy expert.
It is most effective when it supplements traditional speech therapy.
Motivational courses are an interesting alternative to traditional stuttering therapy. They target the confidence of those who stutter. A survey has reported that 19% of participants have found motivational courses to be helpful in managing their stuttering.
18. Can I Relapse After Stuttering Treatment?
Relapsing after stuttering treatment is, sadly, quite common. Over 80% of people who have completed stuttering treatment may relapse.
It may happen due to –
- Lack of practice
- Lack of motivation or interest
- Failing to self-correct and monitor
The only way to reduce the chances of a relapse is by finding the right kind of support. People who remain connected with stuttering support groups, practice their speech exercises and attend counseling sessions regularly are less likely to relapse after completing their stuttering treatment.