What is Stuttering ?

How Can a Speech-Language Pathologist Help? 

As a pediatric SLP… Photo: CCC

Lori Savage Grayson, MMSc, CCC-SLP, provides Consultation, Diagnostic Evaluations, and SLP Intervention for Fluency Disorders at Children’s Communication Center. Ms. Grayson received extensive training at Emory University in the diagnosis and treatment of fluency disorders (stuttering and cluttering), participated in the Stutter Free Speech Summer Program (1981), and has successfully provided SLP services to young children, adolescents, young adults and adults in the clinical, medical, educational and work environments since 1979. Ms. Grayson is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) also listed on The Stuttering Foundation’s SLP Referral listing for the Tallahassee area.

Q: What is Fluency? 

A: Fluency is the smooth flow of speech sounds, words and sentences during one’s connected verbal expression (speech or talking).

Q: What is Disfluency?

A: Disfluency is the disruption of the smooth flow of one’s talking. Each person experiences various disfluencies throughout a day, for example pausing to think of a word or repeating a sound or word, but the conversation will not be disrupted by these minor disfluencies.

Children often experience disfluencies during their early language development years (18 months to five years) and may exhibit hesitations, use of filler words (um, er, uh), or easy repetitions of syllables or words. These “normal” disfluencies tend to appear during language development spurts and resolve or taper off as they gain their new skills, possibly returning during the next language learning phase.

However, if the type and frequency of disfluencies increase, communication interaction is disrupted, secondary behaviors develop or speaking situations are avoided then a Consultation or Diagnostic Evaluation should be considered to determine if a Fluency Disorder is present. There are two types of Fluency Disorders, Stuttering and Cluttering and they can co-exist.

Q: What is Stuttering?

A: Stuttering is a disorder of speech fluency characterized by involuntary disfluencies (repetitions, prolongations or no sound, called a block) which disrupt the flow of one’s verbal expression. Stuttering can also include physical body tension (face, neck, shoulders), an anxious feeling, embarrassment, and sometimes annoyance. This may occur in a one to one speaking situation and/or during more specific situations such as public speaking, reading aloud, or phone use. No one style of stuttering exists. Each person will have his/her own stuttering pattern, it may be mild or severe, it may differ based on the environment, the time of day or the communicative partner.

Stuttering typically occurs during childhood and may improve completely or may reappear or continue into adulthood.

Q: What is Cluttering?

A: Cluttering is a disorder of both speech fluency and language processing which disrupts the flow of ones’ verbal expression and is characterized by an excessively rapid and irregular speaking pattern. Other characteristics include a disorganized verbal expression pattern (may include word-finding challenges) and decreased speech intelligibility, often described as mumbling. The person who experiences cluttering does not appear to be aware of disfluencies, uses more typical disfluencies such as interjections or revisions, does not exhibit stress related to speaking, and may evidence learning or attention/distractibility issues.

Contact us to learn how your family would benefit from SLP services with Ms. Grayson.


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