Treatments for stuttering
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Numerous treatment options are available for children, adolescents and adults who stutter, said Scott Yaruss, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh and co-director of the Stuttering Center of Western Pennsylvania.
Although specialists disagree on one best approach, there are many areas of common ground.
For example, for preschoolers close to the onset of stuttering, treatment generally involves working with parents and others in the family to identify factors that might be contributing to a child's speaking difficulties, such as time factors or other demands. These, do not cause stuttering, but work with a speech-language pathologist can help families aid their children in changing overall communication patterns through changing aspects of everyday life, he said.
The prognosis for young children who stutter is good: research shows that the most go on to develop fluent speech.
Beyond the age of 7, a child who stutters is more likely to have some speech difficulties throughout life.
Treatment for older children and adults who stutter must be individualized, Dr. Yaruss said, "There is no 'one- size-fits-all' approach that is universally effective."
Some people benefit from strategies that involve changes to the timing of speech production (using a slower, but still natural-sounding rate) while others benefit from modulating muscular tension while talking. Nearly everyone appears to benefit from cognitive therapy techniques aimed at reducing the speaker's concerns about speaking and stuttering.
The prognosis for older children and adults who stutter is good for minimizing the impact of the disorder on their quality of life, even if some stuttering persists in their speech.
First Published December 20, 2010 12:00 am