International Stuttering Awareness Day 2018
International Stuttering Awareness Day 2018

About 70 million people around the world stutter. On October 22 we pay extra attention to speech defects. Since 1998, the ‘International Stuttering Awareness Day’ is organized every year on this day. Every national organization that is connected to the International Stuttering Association can create awareness on this day in their own way.

What is stuttering?

Stuttering is described as speech characterized by frequent repetitions, extensions of sounds, syllables or words, or by frequent hesitations and / or pauses. These differ from the normal disfluencies found in all speakers in that stuttering disfluencies may last longer, occur more frequently, and are produced with more effort and strain.

It also affects the mental health

So, stuttering can be audible, for example when blockages, repetitions and unwanted pauses occur during speech. It can also be visible, for example, particular movements are made with the face or limbs. In addition, stuttering can also be unnoticeable. A fear of speaking, shame, avoiding difficult words and feelings of unworthiness can play a major role in this. Especially the hidden symptoms can lead to learning problems, less performance and psycho-social problems.

What is the cause of stuttering?

No single, specific cause of developmental stuttering is known. What is known is that there is a lot of evidence that stuttering has a genetic basis. This means that there is a higher risk of developing stuttering if it occurs in the family.

Speaking is a complex process which involves timing and coordination of breathing and many muscles that are controlled by the brain. Everyone makes little ‘mistakes’ while talking because of its complexity but people who stutter experience problems in the timing and coordination of the speaking process. Lack of language skills and concentration can also play a big role in the development of stuttering or deviant speech behavior.

Situational factors

Stuttering is often provoked by stress. Somebody who stutters will then especially stumble when he/she is tensed. The timing of speech movements is deviant and this has an effect on a faster disruption of speech. Tension or anxiety puts the speech muscles under an even greater tension.

However, situational factors do not always have an effect, it depends on the person himself. In some people, stuttering is always constant and in others it is strongly linked to certain situations and/or people.

Advice for the listener

Pay in particular attention to what is being said, instead of the way it has been said. Behave like how you talk to anyone else. What you should not do is to speak louder and to speak in a verbose way. You can also ask the person if he/she wants you to complete their sentences. In this way, the person can tell you whether he/she feels comfortable with this.

NiceDay app: Do you stutter yourself or do you know someone who stutters? You can write about it in your diary in NiceDay.

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Britt Stoker

Hi! My name is Britt, psychologist coach at NiceDay. Through online coaching I can guide and help you with what’s on your mind. Loves animals, traveling, photography and delicious food.

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