Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stuttering and the Brain #1

Speech is a terrifying complex process. No surprise that some brains have difficulty doing this smoothly. Remember the movie The King’s Speech? Most people have a least one friend who stutters or have heard about stutterers such as Winston Churchill or James Earl Jones. Although stuttering continues to be somewhat of a medical mystery, some interesting information is emerging. First, it is a physical condition whereby speech is interrupted, but only communicative speech to others. If you’re talking to yourself, apparently you don’t stutter. It may run in families, too. About 70% of stutterers show some familial tendency. While stress can exacerbate stuttering in someone who has the trait, it doesn’t cause it. This can make it tough on a child whose peers make fun of his or her speech difficulties. Excitement and passion about the topic under discussion can also increase the stutter. Most stuttering begins between the ages of two and five. Someone recently sent me a youtube of an interview with Annie Glenn, Astronaut John Glenn’s wife, related to her history of stuttering and the HCRI therapy that helped her reduce the incidence.

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