Fluency (Stuttering and Cluttering)
Fluency is characterized by the flow of spontaneous speech. Everyone experiences dysfluencies, at times. These dysfluencies can present as pauses, interjections, revisions, and short word or phrase repetitions. Stuttering is a dysfluency but is characterized by tense breaks in speech that occur for long periods of time with tension. This disruption in the flow of speech can cause the speaker or the listener to react negatively. Listed below are the common types of dysfluencies that stutterers exhibit. The speaker may also exhibit excessive use of fillers, e.g., uh uh uh.
1. Prolongations – Prolonging a sound, e.g., I waaaaant to eat or He sssssaid I should eat.
2. Blocks and Stops – The stuttering will experience getting ready to speak but the word does not come out.
3. Repetitions – The stutterer will repeat part of a word, a whole word or phrase over and over, e.g.,Part Word – I c-c-c-can’t play.Whole Word – I can’t can’t can’t can’t play.Phrase – I can’t I can’t can’t can’t play.
4. Secondary Characteristics – eye blinks, nasal flaring, foot and finger tapping or other facial and body tics.
Cluttering is also a form of dysfluency and is characterized by a fast rate of speech and disorganized speech.
Tips for Teachers and Parents
1. Don’t tell child or student to slow down
2. Avoid completing your child/student’s words or thoughts
3. Speak in a natural rate with frequent pauses to provide an appropriate auditory model.
4. Provide a relaxing environment free of stress
5. Participate in fluency enhancing activities such as reading aloud, singing songs and rhyming.
Tips for Students
1. Practice easy onset.
a. Think of the phoneme /h/ as much as possible to eliminate tension along vocal tract and mouth. /h/ is a phoneme that does not require closure along the vocal tract or mouth. It is an easy production and may trigger easy speech.
b. Practice yawn-sigh approach for easy phonation, relaxation and proper breath support for words, phrases and sentences.
Slowly inhale through the nose (fill your belly up with air)Slowly exhale or let air out through your mouth (empty your belly slowly while producing words, phrases or sentences).
2. Continuous Phonation-use the pictures below to describe your speech and facilitate discrimination of continuous phonation. Connect words so that no spaces are between them.
3. Use Turtle Speech (slow rate) Say a word slowly while slowly moving your finger along the line between the turtles. Increase the distance between turtles as you use phrases and sentences.4. Light contact- gently say sounds with relaxed tongue, lip, and jaw.
1. Read out loud
2. I Spy
3. Scavenger Hunt using verbal cues with targeted tips
4. Singing and rhyming
5. Board Games using words, phrases and sentences while employing relaxed speech
* If your child or student is diagnosed with dysfluencies or if you have any concerns please contact your school’s Speech and Language pathologist.