Every year since 1998, October 22 has been marked as International Stuttering Awareness Day 2017. But in a country where most learning, language and speech disorders are taken lightly, stuttering has almost completely failed to receive any real attention. Every year since 1998, October 22 has been marked as International Stuttering Awareness Day 2017. But in a country where most learning, language and speech disorders are taken lightly, stuttering has almost completely failed to receive any real attention.
Stuttering can be defined as a disorder that is characterised by disruptions in the speech production process. There are plenty of reasons behind stuttering - brain injuries from a stroke (neurogenic stuttering), severe emotional trauma (psychogenic stuttering) and any abnormality occuring in the part of the brain that governs language.
While it is relatively easy to detect the symptoms of stuttering by listening, there are certain characteristics of stuttered speech that need to be evaluated by a speech language pathologist (SLP).
Particularly for young children, it is important to assess whether the stuttering is likely to continue and act accordingly. Some risk factors outlined by SLPs to keep in mind are:
• a family history of stuttering
• a stuttering that has continued for six months or more
• symptoms of other speech or language disorders
• fears or concern regarding stuttering on the part of both child and guardian
When does it typically start?
The first symptoms of developmental stuttering first appear between the ages two and half years to four years and is significantly more common in males than females. Some children may go through severe difficulty with fluency within days or weeks of onset while others encounter a gradual increase in disruption of fluency.
The question of whether the disorder to likely to continue is of less importance when it comes to older children and adults. Such individuals must undergo evaluation consisting of tests, observations, and interviews to determine the severity of each case.
How can you communicate better with someone who stutters?
While we focus most of our energy on treatment of speech disorders, we often fail to think about how we can personally communicate with them better. More often than not, people are unsure about how to respond or listen to people who stutter.
Firstly, trying to fill in words is as inconsiderate as interrupting. People who stutter are conscious about their difficulty and require more time to articulate their words, which becomes even tougher when the listener appears to be impatient. Allow them the time they need to finish what they wish to say.
Contrary to popular belief, stuttering can be helped when treated with therapy. SLPs usually work with the aim to lessen the severity of the disfluency. The idea is not to completely eliminate the disruptions (which is tougher to achieve) but to minimise its impact on communication. People who stutter are taught to identify how they cope with breaks, replacing them with different reactions that lead to more fluent speech and better communication.
Places in Bangladesh which offer speech therapy
Institute of Paediatric Neurodisorder & Autism (IPNA)
1st, 2nd and 6th floor, Block E,Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University,Shahbag, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh.Phone: 02-9663485
Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed
Available at CRP branches in Savar, Mirpur, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Barisal, Moulvibazar, Pabna, Mymensingh, Sylhet.
National Institute of Neurosciences and Hospital (NINH)
Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka 1207, BangladeshPhone: 02-9137305
Jatiyo Protibondhi Unnayan Foundation (JPUF)
Mirpur 14, Dhaka, BangladeshPhone: 01555555164
Block: E, Plot: 81, Bashundhara R/A, Dhaka 1229, BangladeshPhone: 01729-276556
1/15A Iqbal Road, Dhaka 1207, BangladeshPhone: 01783248423
Chattagram Maa-O-Shishu Hospital Medical College
Agrabad, Chittagong, BangladeshPhone: 0312520063