If the normal flow of speech is hampered in any way, it is called stammering. Stammering is an interrupted way of speaking, blocking of speech or repetition of the same letter or word.
It may be in the form of mind block, hesitation, blocking, taking more time to utter any word, repeating either any particular starting sound or the word itself, elongating more than normal and distracted sound due to unnecessary force. It is an in-coordination among respiratory, vocal cords and articulatory mechanisms.
Stammering is speech which is hesitant, stumbling, tense or jerky to the extent that it causes anxiety to the speaker.
There is a wrong belief amongst a section of the people that stammering means severe speech problem. It may be minor, medium or severe. The extent of problem varies from person to person and even varies from situation to situation for a particular person.
There is no difference between stammering and stuttering. Incorrect pronunciation is not stammering, it is called lisping.
CAUSES OF STAMMERING
Stammering develops mostly from the early age of a person. It is an acquired behaviour not inherited. It is usually caused by multiple factors and their interactions. Some of the causes that lead to the development of stammering are :
- Childish imitation of other stammerers either in the family or outside.
- An after effect of certain serious illness.
- Feeling of insecurity in the early age.
- Strict, rude & rough guardianship.
- Sudden physical or mental shock.
- Shy or introvert nature from childhood.
- Very fast speaking habit.
- Parental fights and misunderstandings.
- Disturbances and quarrel in the family.
- Fast thought process.
- Lack of co-ordination between thinking & speaking.
- Stiff competition in all spheres of life.
- If one is bilingual or multilingual, confusion may occur to the child while speaking.
- Side effects of strong medicinal action.
- Subjected to tremendous fear and tension from childhood.
- If the child is left alone for some time without parents or familiar people.
- When a second child is born in the family.
- Seeing horrifying scenes in real life or in movies.
- If the child is weak or sickly.
- When pressurized by parents to achieve difficult and high targets.
- When forcibly changed from left handed behavior to right-handed.
- The child tries to attract attention and stammers when neglected.
- If the teacher is strict and always punishes and terrorizes the child.
- Humiliation in front of friends and class mates.
- If one is frightened of every little thing.
- Hurting one’s head due to some accident, specially the back side of the head and
- If parents and family members all talk very fast, the child is unable to compete with their speed and thus faulters.
Whatever may be the reason for developing stammering, it occurs due to excitement tension fear nervousness hesitation anticipation of blocking and lack of confidence & courage to speak.
HOW STAMMERING DEVELOPS AND COMPLICATES
In most of the cases, stammering develops from an early age (from 3 to 10 years). Neither does it start by birth nor is there any physical defect. Plenty of causes are responsible for its occurrence. It usually starts with minor problems but gradually complicates due to certain circumstances, ignorance, conducive environment and wrong parenting.
When a child begins to stammer, the family members and others draw the attention of the child to it and make the child conscious of his dis-fluency. The child, at this stage, is not mature enough to deal with this sudden problem and the constant awareness of the difficulty make it even worse. Different advises and guidance from an array of people makes the child confused as to what to follow and what not.
The child feels guilty and helpless if the parents are over-anxious, sad and dejected. The problem gets triggered if they discuss these problems in front of the child. So the child starts hiding it by avoiding, substituting, hesitating and the confidence level dips down gradually. There is a lack of co-ordination between thought and speech as the child is battling in his mind to cover up his problem. Fear, nervousness and tension develop with the constant anticipation of blocking. Slowly the problem becomes so acute that the child becomes branded as a ‘STAMMERER’ for life.
My Experience in Treating a Childhood Stammerer With Acupuncture:
The Stammering of the person started at the age of five.