What are the Different Types of Speech Therapy for Stuttering?

Marlene Garcia

There are three major types of speech therapy for stuttering commonly used by speech pathologists who deal with language disorders. Speech fluency shaping teaches people to slow down their usual speaking habits and face situations that produce anxiety, such as speaking in front of a group. Stuttering modification therapy centers on the psychology of stuttering and encourages a person with the disorder to speak despite his or her difficulties. Electromyographic biofeedback speech therapy for stuttering employs a computer device to monitor facial muscles used when speaking. All three speech therapies for stuttering aim to reduce stress while treating the disorder.

Speech therapy for stuttering may include speech fluency shaping.
Speech therapy for stuttering may include speech fluency shaping.

Speech fluency shaping is a type of speech therapy for stuttering that generally provides a long-term solution to improve speaking ability. A therapist typically discusses the patient’s speech patterns with him or her and teaches the patient to prolong each sound or syllable. The patient receives encouragement to speak more frequently in social settings and stressful situations. This therapy might be an intensive program at the therapist’s office or home based.

Modification speech therapies for stuttering recognize psychological reasons linked to speaking aloud. Patients are commonly encouraged to speak often despite the stress it produces. At one time, experts who provided speech therapy for stuttering believed psychological or emotional problems created the disorder. That theory was dispelled over time.

Biofeedback speech therapy for stuttering uses a computer device that monitors how the muscles of the mouth work during speech. The patient is taught to tighten and relax those muscles to gain awareness about how they contribute to stuttering. With consistent practice, the patient might learn to control facial muscles to alleviate episodes of stuttering.

Stuttering, also known as stammering, affects people of all ages and is commonly seen in children between two and five years old. At this age, youngsters are learning language skills and may be unable to verbalize their thoughts. There may be a genetic component to stuttering.

Children typically outgrow the disorder. Stuttering occurs twice as often in boys as in girls, and is likely to continue into adulthood more often in males. Adults who stutter might be able to sing, read, and speak in unison without stammering. When they struggle to say words, sounds, or syllables, their eyes might blink frequently and their lips may tremble.

Other conditions also cause stuttering, including neurogenic disorders. A brain injury or trauma to the head might cause speech disorders that were not previously present. Speech might also be affected in someone who suffers a stroke. Head injuries and stokes may disrupt the brain's ability to coordinate signals to muscles and nerves that control speech.

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