Stuttering is a speech disorder in which the person either repeats particular words and syllables while saying them or finds it difficult to begin certain words. Someone who stutters may also show physical signs of distress while speaking, for example, their eyes may blink rapidly.
a number of people who stuttered went on to have careers in public speaking, including Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart and Bill Walton who is a sportscaster on network television. For most people who stutter, though, the thought of speaking in public can cause a great deal of distress.
Children and stuttering
Over 3 million Americans have to deal with stuttering problems. Stuttering may result during a child's developmental stage. In fact, stuttering is most frequent in young children between the ages of 2 and 6. Most children outgrow stuttering. If the stuttering continues for longer than six months, however, a speech-language pathologist can help determine the root of the problem and suggest treatment.
Many forms of therapy involve learning new speech habits and/or unlearning problematic speech patterns. The National Stuttering Project suggests the following to help you understand your child or anyone who stutters:
* You might be very tempted to finish sentences or fill in words, but don't. It can be embarrassing and if you guess the wrong word, it can make things worse.
* Refrain from making remarks like: "Slow down," "Take a breath," or "Relax." Such simplistic advice can be seen as patronizing.
* Maintain normal eye contact and try not to look embarrassed or alarmed. Just wait patiently and naturally until the person is finished.
* Be aware that people who stutter usually have more trouble controlling their speech on the telephone. Saying "Hello," in particular, often presents a special problem.
* Stuttering sometimes makes it harder to understand. It is better to say, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand what you just said." This can be better than pretending you understood, or trying to guess what someone said.
* Set a relaxed pace when possible, using a moderate rate of speech yourself.
* Let the person know, by your manner and actions, that you are listening to what he or she is saying and not how he or she is saying it. Be a good listener.