Please help! I’m working with a young man (24) who has come for help with his stuttering. He has also been diagnosed with OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder. He is seeing a counselor, who I have so far been unable to reach.
According to him, he stuttering began suddenly in March, about as severe as it is today – but, according to his mother, it began some time last year while he was in officer training in the army, which she noticed while talking to him on the phone. She claims that it got significantly WORSE in March.
Speechwise, his stuttering is very severe (SSI), with a moderate to severe impact (OASES). He has NO noticeable secondary behaviors; good eye contact, no word avoidance, etc., except that after repeating the same word very many times, he will get speech moving by increasing his volume and over-articulating (very unnatural sounding), which he can maintain without stuttering to the end of his utterance. He always repeats my question before answering (OCD?), and his stuttering is always part or whole-word repetition. Interestingly, he often repeats the final word of his utterance.
Today, I tried to see if he would adapt over repeated reading of the same word, and he was unable to. I tried DAF, and this seemed to have no effect. Choral speech did allow him to be fluent, but this was not 100%. Also, his stuttering is just as severe across situations, people, telephone, etc.
There is some conflicting information about past speech problems; he and mom both say that he had therapy around age 9 or 10, but he says that he thought it was for stuttering, which he says resolved after a few months of therapy. Mom says he had therapy because he had begun to pause mid-sentence during conversation, and then continue after a short while. She also said that this behavior was not corrected through therapy.
Initially, I suspected the return of developmental stuttering complicated by the OCD (hence the repeating of words to ‘get it right’, as he stated), and now I’m leaning toward psychogenic stuttering.
I welcome any and all suggestions, ideas, hypotheses!
University of South Carolina
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