Acquired stuttering

I’d like to ask the professionals their views about the speech therapy provided for people with acquired stuttering/stammering. I am active on Facebook groups for people who stutter and an admin for the Women who Stammer Facebook group and it’s my impression that more people with acquired stutters are joining the groups, so it may be more common than is generally thought. I’d be interested to know if you think more people are coming to you with acquired stutters and in your experience are they getting speech therapy which is helpful for them?

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Acquired stuttering — 2 Comments

  1. Hi, Christine. Thank you so much for your question. I am not only seeing more clients with acquired stuttering, but also seeing more clinicians asking treatment questions regarding acquired stuttering techniques. Speech therapy can be beneficial for acquired stuttering specifically seen in brain injury; I myself have an acquired stutter from a hypoxic brain injury at the age of 36. My brother is a person who stutters since the age of 6, so being a speech pathologist with an acquired stutter it has been quite the journey. If you wish to work on becoming more fluent per se and you have adult onset stuttering (less common) or stuttering due to brain injury, then fluency strategies like fluency shaping techniques can be beneficial versus if you are looking for communication confidence, speech therapy can be helpful for that as well. I do recommend seeking the help of a stuttering specialist, or a speech pathologist with experience in this area. If interested in therapy, do you need assistance locating someone in your area or country of residence?

  2. Hi Christine,
    Acquired stuttering is definitely something that is being more widely recognised. The term covers not just stuttering as a result of a brain injury, but also stuttering linked with other neurogenic conditions (such as Parkinson’s Disease); psychogenic conditions (including PTSD) and even side effects of medications. There is limited available research on acquired stuttering, and often papers present case studies rather than large studies, so it is difficult to know how common acquired stuttering actually is.
    Speech therapy can absolutely be of help to people with acquired stuttering, but the clinician needs to consider the person’s individual needs and reason for the stutter. For example, if the stutter is a side effect of medication, liaison with the relevant doctor may be useful as alternative medications without side effects may be an option. Some aspects of therapy used more typically to work with people whose stutter has been present since childhood (developmental stuttering, the kind we usually talk about) may be of help, consideration also needs to be given to the fact that for the individual with an acquired stutter, their experience of fluency and stuttering is different to that of someone who has lived with a stutter longer term. Therapy may therefore need to spend some time considering any change in self-image and communication style associated with the onset of stuttering that has changed the person’s interactions with friends, family and work colleagues for example.
    I think more people with acquired stutters may be seeking help and support from a range of sources – speech and language therapy, support groups and online communities as there is possibly more awareness nowadays that help and support is available. This can only be a good thing, as it will lead to more shared knowledge about acquired stuttering that can hopefully lead to a better understanding of this type of stuttering.

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