A stammer is a disorder of speech. There are stoppages and disruptions which interrupt the smooth flow and timing of the speech. These stoppages may take the form of repetitions of sounds, syllables or words – like saying da-da-daddy. There may also be prolonged sounds – so that words seem to be stretched out – like saying mmmmmummy. It can also involve silent blocking of the airflow of speech, so that no sound is heard. As a result, the speech may sound forced, tense or jerky.
Stammering can be mild, and not cause much of a problem, or severe, when it becomes a serious communication disorder. The stammer can also vary for the same person. A person might find that they have periods of stammering, followed by times when they speak without a stammer. People who stammer may avoid certain words or situations which they know will cause them difficulty. Some avoid or substitute words to such an extent that people in their lives may not realize they have a stammer. This is known as covert stammering. The affected person may even avoid talking whenever possible.
Types of stammering
There are 2 main types of stammering:
- Developmental stammering: The most common type of stammering that happens in early childhood when speech and language skills are developing quickly.
- Acquired or late-onset stammering: relatively rare and happens in older children and adults as a result of a head injury, stroke or progressive neurological condition. It can also be caused by certain drugs, medicines, or psychological or emotional trauma.
Experts are not completely sure what causes stuttering. We do know that somebody with a stutter is much more likely to have a close family member who also has one, compared with other people. The following factors may also trigger/cause stammering:
As children learn to speak, they often stutter, especially early on when their speech and language skills are not well developed. The majority of children experience fewer and fewer symptoms as this developmental stage progresses until they can speak with flow.
This is when the signals between the brain and speech nerves and muscles are not working properly. This may affect children, and can also affect adults after a stroke or some brain injury. The following may cause neurogenic stuttering:
- Head trauma
- Ischemic attacks: Temporary block of blood flow to the brain
- Degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s
Stuttering tends to run in families. It appears that stuttering can result from inherited (genetic) abnormalities.
Sign and Symptoms
Stammering signs and symptoms may include:
- Difficulty starting a word, phrase or sentence
- Prolonging a word or sounds within a word
- Repetition of a sound, syllable or word
- Brief silence for certain syllables or words, or pauses within a word (broken word)
- Addition of extra words such as “um” if difficulty moving to the next word is anticipated
- Excess tension, tightness, or movement of the face or upper body to produce a word
- Anxiety about talking
- Limited ability to effectively communicate
The speech difficulties of stuttering may be accompanied by:
- Rapid eye blinks
- Tremors of the lips or jaw
- Facial tics
- Head jerks
- Clenching fists
Stammering may be worse when you’re excited, tired or under stress, or when you feel self-conscious, hurried or pressured. Situations such as speaking in front of a group or talking on the phone can be particularly difficult for people who stutter.
However, most people who stutter can speak without stuttering when they talk to themselves and when they sing or speak in unison with someone else.
- Family: The child is at higher risk if they have one or more family members who stutter in adulthood.
- Age: Children who begin stuttering before they reach age 3½ are more likely to outgrow it.
- Length of time stuttering persists: If the child’s stuttering habit lasts longer than 6 months, it is less likely that they will outgrow it.
- Gender: Boys are three to four times as likely as girls to stammer.
- Other speech and language deficits: If the child have other problems speaking and being understood, it is less likely that they will outgrow their stutter.
- Stress: Stress in the family, high parental expectations or other types of pressure can worsen existing stuttering.
Stammering can lead to:
- Problems communicating with others
- Being anxious about speaking
- Not speaking or avoiding situations that require speaking
- Loss of social, school, or work participation and success
- Being bullied or teased
- Low self-esteem
Diagnosis is made by a health professional trained to evaluate and treat children and adults with speech and language disorders (speech-language pathologist). The speech-language pathologist observes the adult or child speak in different types of situations.
The Homeopathy system provides a very effective and safe treatment for stammering. In fact, Homeopathy is known to have a range of natural medicines that are highly effective in bringing about good recovery in stammering cases. The appropriate medicine is selected based on individual case study. Homeopathic medicines can provide relief from the symptoms by fixing flawed nervous functions, improve motor coordination, and modify the vocal apparatus.
It works best in stammering cases when a person has to exert strain for a long time before a word is uttered.
It is wonderful medicine for stammering. Lachesis is well indicated when a person stammers over certain specific letters while speaking.
Lycopodium is one of the most effective medicines for stammering and shows remarkable results where a person stammers while speaking out the last words of a sentence. Apart from stammering, Lycopodium is also greatly helpful for persons with a weak memory, indistinct sleep, lack of self-confidence and poor self-esteem. Fear of public speaking may also prevail among persons in need of Lycopodium.
Spigelia is yet another reliable prescription among Homeopathy medicines for stammering. The characteristic indication for use of Spigelia is stammering on the first few words of a sentence followed by normal, clear, uninterrupted speech. A person who needs prescribing Spigelia repeats the first syllable around three to four times before he can go on to the next part of the sentence.
Causticum is well indicated in cases where stammering is noticed when a person is mentally or emotionally excited.
Lac Canium is the most appropriate among Homeopathy medicines for stammering to prescribe where a person starts to stammer when he talks fast.
Staphysagria has shown remarkable results in cases where stammering appears while talking to strangers.
It is indicated when the patient doubts that he will not be able to speak correctly.
Calcarea carb. is prescribed when stammering with tongue large, heavy and hard palate occurs. It occurs usually in fat, flabby persons who catch cold easily. There is a particular craving for eggs and indigestible things like chalk.
Bufo rana is indicated when stammering occurs on account of extreme anger.
Bovista is specially adapted to stammering in children and old maids.
Mercurius sol is effective for stammering which comes out of hesitancy. There is trembling of the mouth and tongue. It is also prescribed when the person may feel quite agitated at being asked a question and become overly excited, hurried and embarrassed. There is an overall hesitancy, lack of confidence and shyness.
Selenium is prescribed for stammering where the person makes mistakes in talking, says the wrong syllables and cannot articulate some words.