Kassel stuttering therapy

A long-term study proves that with the help of the Kassel Stutterertherapie about 70 percent of the participants can speak fluently in the long run. In this therapy, patients gain speech control through new speech patterns. Breathing, voice and articulation train them to speak softly. The therapy, a three-week intensive course, is aimed at adolescents and adults and is accompanied by a computer program.

Learn control

Control is the magic word of all speech therapies for stutterers. In the case of Kassel stuttering therapy, patients gain speech control through new speech patterns. Breathing, voice and articulation train them to speak softly. At the same time they learn to break old patterns of behavior: stutterers avoid situations in which they could stutter. By actively shaping and controlling the statements, they replace the unpleasant experience of failure and helplessness.

Finally, the patients should prove their confidence in the new ability to speak in an emergency. After their three-week intensive on-site therapy, for example, they have to ask for directions in the city - a situation that stutterers usually avoid. In parallel with the therapy, the patients check their voice use with a computer learning program.

Lasting success

A long-term study by Professor Harald Euler of the Department of Psychology at the University of Kassel has shown that, especially in the long term, the speech disorders can be resolved with the Kassel Stutter Therapy. About 450 people between the ages of twelve and 65 participated in the study. Over 70 percent of patients can speak more fluently than before. They had to prove their ability to speak in different situations, for example in an interview with a passer-by or when making a phone call.

Before the therapy, those affected stuttered in about twelve percent of the spoken syllables, immediately after the therapy, they stuttered on average at one to two percent of the syllables. In the longer term, the mean stuttering rate has settled at three to four percent. The three percent limit is considered an inconspicuous limit, because even non-stutterers occasionally show speech blockages.

Brain activity changed with stutterers

Stuttering, as several studies show, is likely to be a neurological defect. In people who stutter their entire lives, parts of the left hemisphere may be altered. Doctors at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf found that connections between brain regions responsible for speech seem to be disturbed by stutterers. The neural connections between the centers responsible for planning and language execution in the left hemisphere are defective.

Delayed, therefore, are those brain areas that control the proper interaction of the tongue, throat, and vocal cords. In parallel with the long-term study by Professor Euler, the Frankfurt University Hospital, in collaboration with the Institute of Kassel Stutter Therapy and the University of Kassel, has been investigating the brain activity of stuttering patients and the post-therapy changes over the past three years.

Nine clients were screened before the start of therapy and one year and two years later using magnetic resonance imaging to visualize activated brain regions. As a result, disturbances in the left hemisphere detected in stutterers are compensated by activating neighboring brain regions more strongly after therapy. Whether the costs for the Kassel stuttering therapy are taken over by the legal health insurance, depends on the individual case.

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