Speech Fluency

WHAT IS A SPEECH FLUENCY DISORDER?

Speech fluency refers to the rate and prosody of a person’s speech. A child with a fluency disorder exhibits difficulty producing fluent, relaxed speech. There are two main types of fluency disorders: Stuttering and Cluttering.

WHAT IS STUTTERING?

Stuttering is the most common fluency disorder. In stuttering, there is an interruption in the flow of speaking characterized by repetitions (sounds, syllables, words, phrases), prolonged sounds, blocks, interjections, and revisions, which often affect the rate and rhythm of speech. These disfluencies may be accompanied by physical tension in the jaw and face, negative reactions, poor self-esteem, secondary behaviors, & avoidance of sounds, words, or speaking situations (ASHA, 1993; Yaruss, 1998; Yaruss, 2004).

Symptoms may include:

  • word repetitions (e.g., “Why-why-why did he go there?”),
  • part-word or sound/syllable repetitions (e.g., “h-h-how are you?”),
  • prolongations of sounds (“Caaaaaaan I come with you?”),
  • audible or silent blocking (filled or unfilled pauses in speech),
  • words produced with an excess of physical tension in the jaw/facial muscles
  • Secondary Behaviors may include: distracting sounds (e.g., throat clearing, insertion of unintended sound), facial grimaces (e.g., eye blinking, jaw tightening), head movements (e.g., head nodding), movements of the extremities (e.g., leg tapping, fist clenching),  avoiding specific words/sounds (e.g., word substitution, insertion of unnecessary words, circumlocution), avoidance of social situations

WHAT IS CLUTTERING?

Cluttering is a fluency disorder that primarily involves a speaker’s rate. People who clutter often speak at a very rapid rate, making it difficult for others to understand them.

Symptoms of cluttering may include:

  • rapid and/or irregular speech rate;
  • excessive coarticulation resulting in the reduction of syllables and/or word endings;
  • excessive disfluencies, which are usually of the more nonstuttering type (e.g., excessive revisions and/or use of filler words, such as “um”);
  • pauses in places typically not expected syntactically;
  • unusual prosody (rate of speech)
  • children who clutter may also exhibit similar secondary behaviors to that of people who stutter
*information adapted from http://www.ASHA.org)*

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

http://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589935336&section=Overview

http://www.stutteringhelp.org/resources