Prevalence of Stuttering

So what happens to those who persist in stuttering (not insisting, but persisting)? –After stuttering onset, 80 per cent stop stuttering by age 12 without speech therapy. There are those who receive speech therapy in grade school who stop stuttering and of course there are those who stop stuttering without speech therapy. Why? Don’t know! The plasticity of the brain until age 12 or so lends itself to spontaneous adjustments that rectify the central neurophysiological anomaly in the brain that speech therapy can hasten. Those who do not experience the fortuitous central nervous system adjustment continue to stutter. This is called prevalence of stuttering, that is the number of those who can be identified as stutterers. The incidence of stuttering (those who start to stutter) is about 5 times higher, or about 5 percent of the population, which reduces to the roughly 1 per cent of the population by age 12, as described above.

The persistent stutterers will continue to stutter for their lifetime, although showing variation in their degree of severity from day to day or from situation to situation. People who stutter (PWS), or stutterers, are not helpless, subject to the vicissitudes of their central fluency anomaly. That is, stuttering can be controlled, replaced and accepted, and in so doing the person who stutters, can become effective communicators. This is where the speech therapist can be of significant help. The speech therapist’s goal is to challenge the disorder of stuttering, or another way of putting it, take the ‘dis’ out of the disorder. Needless to say, the degree of success in therapy is largely up to the client. There is a certain order to the intervention for the stutterer’s fluency to become ordered or for enhanced fluency to occur. As inferred from the above, success in therapy depends on the client or ‘where the client is’ as far as readiness, or having commitment to change. What the therapist is doing with the client, changing the persistent disfluent speech pattern to enhanced fluency and/or an easier way to stutter, is largely dependent upon ‘where the client is’. The stutterer who is motivated and willing to undergo changing the way stuttering is thought about and what to do about it will be successful in reaching his/her speaking goals. Some may merely want to become more accepting of the way they talk; others to learn how to manage the moment of stuttering, to learn how to stutter more easily, and still others may want to maximize fluency. Different interventions pertain to the various goals of the client. Therapy is diagnostic. It takes the interaction between, client and therapist to find out the path of intervention. That occurs during the speech evaluation and actually may continue during ongoing therapy as well.

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