Stuttering is treatable

One percent of adults in Germany stutters. That does not sound like much, but these 800, 000 stutterers are under tremendous psychological pressure, they are insecure and often isolated. The patients are usually faced with the big problem of having to decide on very different forms of therapy. Aristotle, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, "Mr. Bean, " Rowan Atkinson, Bruce Willis, and Dieter Thomas Heck all had the same problem: stuttering. And they are prominent examples of how stuttering can be handled. However, the experts do not talk about healing, because patients seldom manage to talk completely stutter-free.

Stuttering is loss of control

Stuttering is the loss of control of the vocal tract, not a mental disorder. There are three different types of stuttering: the clonic stuttering, which repeats individual letters during speech, the tonic stuttering, which breaks the flow of speech, virtually blocks it, and a hybrid of clonic and tonic stuttering. When stuttering, the body tenses, the facial muscles cramp, the breathing becomes irregular, the patient blushes and sweats. Many stutterers are masters at avoiding words and situations, leading to great mental stress at work and in their free time. If negative reactions of fellow human beings are added, ridicule or even rejection, then all too often the isolation follows.

Stuttering begins in childhood

Stuttering begins at an early age, namely between two and five years of childhood, when the child develops very fast linguistically, physically, mentally and emotionally. But even until puberty stuttering loses in most adolescents. Boys are affected four times more often than girls. The reason why some children start to stutter is unknown. However, it is now known that a predisposition to stuttering can be inherited, as stuttering people are approximately three times more likely to have family members who stutter than relatives without these symptoms. Interestingly, stutterers speak much more fluently when they whisper, talk in time or in chorus, or when they sing. However, when communicative pressure arises, as in telephone calls or job interviews, or especially in children at school, the stuttering occurs increasingly. If parents recognize the symptoms mentioned in their children, they should immediately seek advice from speech therapists and speech pedagogues - wait for the problem to solve itself, is no use. For schoolchildren, not all parents know this, stuttering means a hindrance in the legal sense. This means in a specific case, a compensation for disadvantages such as alternatives to oral exams - the Federal Association stutterer self-help eV advises, among other things, with corresponding problems in the school. In children, the chances are very good that the symptoms will be lost again.

Therapies for adults

This is different with adults, who usually have to continuously treat their stuttering for a lifetime. Basically, this is particularly important in the orientation of possible therapies, distinguishes two approaches: the so-called "Fluency Shaping", in German "learning to speak fluently". Here special techniques are learned, which change the speech in itself, by being strongly alienated at first. The vowels, for example, are stretched extensively, breathing is controlled, and speech movements are carried out without overuse of the muscles. Gradually speaking becomes more natural again, but remains a very conscious, because controlled process. The second therapy is a stutter modification, also known as the Non-Avoidance Approach or Van Riper Therapy. Words that use stuttering are not bypassed, but pronounced consciously and in a controlled manner using speech techniques. This method assumes that one's own fears and negative expectations are reduced in advance. Both approaches are considered effective, only the right one, the therapist must determine individually. Hypnosis or psychotherapy are useful, if at all, only for short-term improvements and accompanying speech therapies. Medications, usually for muscle relaxation, work only as long as they are taken and are not without side effects. The health insurances pay for such therapies, which, if they are serious, should be designed for a longer period; they should also offer exercises outside the therapy room - on the street, in specific situations. Aftercare and a relapse program are important - and they can not promise a cure, because they do not exist. But a good and long-term therapy leads to a significant improvement to the freedom from symptoms.
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