Handwriting and Typing in People who Clutter/Stutter

Hi Experts! I am a first-year MS-SLP student who has recently learned about the differential diagnosis between fluency disorders. My question involves the handwriting and typing of people who clutter and people who stutter.

Something I was interested to learn about was that handwriting and typing could be affected in people who clutter to the point that it is disorganized and often illegible. This interested me because I have also learned that cluttering and stuttering often co-occur. However, I have not found that stuttering has this same handwriting/typing issue. Instead, a fluency enhancing technique we have learned for stutterers is speaking while writing.

I am wondering if any research has been done specifically on the handwriting or typing of those classified as “Clutterer-Stutterers?” Is this something that only appears in pure cluttering with no presence of stuttering? Has there been any research on the handwriting or typing of those classified as only a stutterer?

Thank you,


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Handwriting and Typing in People who Clutter/Stutter — 4 Comments

  1. Hello Taylor,
    Thanks for your question. To my knowledge, there is no research specifically on handwriting in stuttering and/or cluttering. However, one thing that is noticed anecdotally is that some, and I emphasize some, who clutter may also have similar symptoms in their handwriting that mirror some of the decreased intelligibility in speech. However, we do recognize that not all with cluttering (or cluttering/stuttering) exhibit this symptom, and it is not part of the diagnostic criteria for cluttering. It’s just something that goes along with some who also clutter (whether pure cluttering or cluttering/stuttering), just like some who cluttering may also have ADHD, but others do not. In some who would be diagnosed as cluttering and also have these symptoms, perhaps there could be a relationship. I don’t think that relationship can be seen across the board, but may express itself more in specific individual. But there is so much more we need to learn about cluttering, and more research is needed!

  2. Hi Taylor,
    I agree with Kathy on this. There is, to my knowledge, no empirical research on handwriting differences in cluttering and stuttering.

    Of course, we face the problem of definition. Kathy wrote about that in the post entitled, “Cluttering.” I suggest you read that.

    Every person who clutters does not have totally disorganized, unreadable handwriting, and OF COURSE, every case of such handwriting does not come from a clutterer. The issue here is probability of these problems, and I suspect that the early anecdotal accounts from Weiss and others are correct in that cluttering is MORE LIKELY associated with poor handwriting.

    Maybe you would want to change the situation and do a good study on handwriting and fluency disorders. You could sample handwriting from individuals with fluency disorders and a control group. And if you wanted to rule out notoric problems with handwriting from language, you could do both handwriting and typing. Wouldn’t that be exciting? Just a thought… 🙂


  3. Taylor,

    There are a couple of examples you might find interesting on the Stuttering Home Page (http://www.stutteringhomepage.com)

    The earliest example of research about writing and stuttering that I’m aware of is the following 1909 article by Scripture which I have added (http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/history/scripture/scripture.html) Penmanship Stuttering by E. W. Scripture, Ph.D., M.D., visiting physician for Speech Defects to Randall’s Island, New York City, reprinted from Journal of AMA, May 8, 1909, p. 1480-1481 (http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/history/scripture/scripture.html) The article also mentions Fraenkel’s treatment for locomotoataxia which may be explored, too.

    There is also a lot of early research about “laterality” and stuttering including trying to change handedness from left to right, which supposedly caused stuttering. The experiments included handwriting. (Some information about that is on http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/Infostuttering/folkmyths.html). Bryngelson explains an early study he was doing in an audio online on Voices: Past and Present (https://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/voices/voices.html). He stopped his experiment when, he claims, his subjects started to stutter. I have never found any other reference to this study except his words on the audio.

    Regarding cluttering, there is disagreement about its definition, but it is interesting the Deso Weiss in 1965 included “writing” in his definition of cluttering. Definition: “a verbal manifestation of a Central Language Imbalance which may affect all channels of communication including reading, writing, rhythm, musicality and speech.” We tend to focus and research primarily on the “verbal manifestation.”

    You might be interested in seeing examples of both penmanship and typing of Peter Kissagizlis in the first (2010) ICA online conference article by Peter, An Interview with Peter Kissagizlis: Cluttering and Me. The direct URL is http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/ica1/papers/kissagizlisc.html

  4. Hello Taylor!
    As mentioned above, there are still more work and research which need to be done within our field. I just want to tell that I did a clinical research project (multiple case study) related to cluttering and motor control many years ago. I was collaborating with Andrup, who is a physical therapist, but who has retired. Based on previous clinical experience I decided to divide the item 33 in the session “Motor Coordination-writing problems” in the Daly’s PCI screening test into two items: “Impulsiveness” and “Clumsy and uncoordinated” (34 items instead of 33 items). We included four children who clutter in this study. Later on, I did a similar clinical study with 10 adults who clutter. I know that we cannot make any conclusion on limited information and limited number of participants, but at least I saw a tendency that the group of individuals who had a high rate of “uncoordinated movements” and did have poor motor control for handwriting too. In addition, I found that some individuals in the group with poor motor control did have additional disorders/challenges (comorbide disorders). (ADHD and impulsiveness was correlating in the group with high rate of impulsiveness).

    I did present the result in Eindhoven, at the second international conference on cluttering, but unfortunately I did not find time for reporting it properly. I do hope that others will find time for continue to do more research within this topic; motor control and cluttering.

    Regarding stuttering and handwriting, I have not seen or recognized any associations, but those observations/experiences are not based on systematic data collection.

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