Stuttering is a disorder that falls under the classification of language and communication problems.
In particular, it is recognized as a fluency disorder with onset in childhood. What does it mean?
The human speech apparatus is made up of organs that have a vital function, as well as a linguistic one, and of all those structures that allow the articulation of words (tongue, lips, jaw, larynx). When we speak fluence we refer to the very articulation of the word, as the final result of the production process of the sounds of language.
In the presence of stuttering, fluency is hindered by an involuntary and discontinuous contraction that affects the speech system. Because of this spasm, the expression ofstutterers is “awkward”, that is, hesitant and full of repetitions of sounds and syllables, consonants and prolonged vowels and pauses within the same word.
Another typical element of stuttering is the physical involvement that the act of pronouncing words requires in those who suffer from it, resulting in excessive tension that can also manifest itself with tics, tremors, clenched fists. This factor, together with all the other aspects that can cause discomfort, can create a stressful situation with even serious social repercussions, that is a real phobia that leads the subject to avoid all social situations that could accentuate the discomfort.
The origins of stuttering can be traced back to childhood
The symptom picture of the disorder is clearly manifested in the earliest period of development, in most cases within 6 years. Stuttering can begin suddenly or insidiously and its causes are still debated today. Often we talk about hereditary factor, since not infrequently one of the two parents of stutterers has the same predisposition. However, this is not enough to explain its origins.
Various factors related to the emotional, sentimental and behavioral spheres come into play on the onset and evolution of stuttering, as well as on a possible recovery. Obviously, genetic predisposition can be a favorable terrain for onset, on which certain environmental dynamics (external pressures, judgments, negative behaviors) that play a fundamental role on self-perception and therefore on self-esteem are also grafted.
A vicious cycle of social anxiety and stuttering
The alteration that affects stutterers causes anxiety . Above all, depending on the social exposure it can vary its extent. For example, speaking in front of an audience or going to a job interview could amplify the disorder, generating an overwhelming spiral of anticipatory anxiety with respect to the appearance of the alteration itself that will, at the moment of elocution, aggravate it more. A similar episode could produce excessive frustration in the subject which, if repeated over time, turns into logophobia and escape from all social opportunities.
Statistical data tell us that in 70% of cases stuttering is resolved, in the remaining 30% it tends to persist into adulthood. Fortunately, different methodologies are valid, helping the stutterer to live more serenely, overcoming those traumatic elements at the origin of the block and its recurrence and going to manage all that emotional part connected to the fear of external judgment.
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