Stuttering and COVID-19

Hello! I am an SLP graduate student and have very limited experience with PWS, but a client of mine (an adolescent) reported that they began stuttering around March/April when the world turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know anxiety and emotions are closely related with stuttering and I am wondering if anyone has observed an increase in PWS since the pandemic started? 

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Stuttering and COVID-19 — 2 Comments

  1. HI AgeSLP2B (sorry I was not sure how to address you),

    Congrats on on being SLP student. That is awesome!

    With respect to your client. There is something called psychogenic disfluency. This is rare, but it usually occurs from repeated emotional trauma. I’m not saying that is what your client has, however I’m offering some education here. My hunch is there is more to this client than simply just “starting to stutter.” He might have a deeper psychological history.

    As for your question about in increase in PWS since the pandemic, I have not heard of that. Again, there might be more to this young man than COVID hitting and his speech changing. He might have had a history of other psychological challenges that were exasperated by the COVID world chaos and then his speech changed. A question might also be, if he is no any kinds of medication has that changed recently.

    Thanks! Keep asking questions!
    With compassion and kindness,

    • I am in agreement with Scott, that I would be prompted to look more into what is going on in this kiddos world right now. Does stuttering run in this family at all? There is psychogenic disfluency, occurring from trauma. There are also some people who stutter who will tell you that it runs in their family but that they didn’t begin to stutter until something traumatic happened. There is also stuttering that went undiagnosed but just started becoming noticeable. I have more questions and more thoughts- I am wondering if there are missing pieces here. We don’t always know the cause- there is no exact known cause for stuttering, but certain types of disfluencies (like psychogenic or even malingering, when a person is faking a stutter) that we can better pinpoint. I hope that you can get this individual the help he needs regardless. 🙂 Also, Scott makes an excellent point about medications. Medications can also cause stuttering… so, I would be prompted to ask parent if there have been medication changes lately and if stuttering behaviors started when that happened. Parent/guardian would need to contact physician if that were the case. Be well!

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