What cause stuttering? That is often the big question and this time we dive into answering that question. We had our fun with What type of stutterer are you? I used to be the Ninja post. We laughed and cried. Now it’s time to get serious. In this post, we dive into:
- An overview for the sake of understanding what cause stuttering
- Do you need to know your stutterer type?
- Stuttering origins – what cause stuttering?
- So where does this information leave us – an overview and conclusion
- Where to go from here?
An overview for the sake of understanding what cause stuttering
The table is adapted from Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature and shows the differences in the three types of stuttering we will examine.
|Characteristics||Developmental stuttering||Acquired stuttering||Psychogenic stuttering|
|Repetitions, prolongations, and block in all positions of words||+||+||–|
|Anxiety associated with the disorder||+||–||+|
|Consistent stuttering across fluency tasks (reading, speaking, repetition)||+||+||+|
|Bizarre quality to the dysfluencies||–||–||+|
|A symbolic significance to the current disorder||–||–||+|
Do you need to know your type and what cause stuttering?
Why is it important to know and understand your stuttering type? We believe that it has to do with the question of what cause stuttering. The cause of stuttering and your type are two sides of the same coin. But before we dive into that, it’s important to know that knowing your type and cause is relevant to your life as a stutterer. When we know our type, we understand ourselves better, and then we can be more successful in overcoming stuttering and deal with (impatient) people.
Your type of stuttering defines your actions, what you think and how you react to certain situations. A stutterer who is developmental will react differently to a certain situation than psychogenic stutterer. When you understand how you stutter and what cause stuttering in you, then you have an advantage over your stuttering. You are then able to take serious action to overcome it.
When you understand how you stutter and what cause stuttering in you, then you have an advantage over your stuttering. You are then able to take serious action to overcome it. Often it begins with the social norms that affect you.
So yes, you need to know your type, because it will make you understand what cause stuttering.
Your stuttering type is not what you hear
When most people think of stuttering types, they think of the symptoms of stuttering as in what they hear or don’t hear. Examples are:
- Syllable repetition
- Phrase repetition
- Broken words
A correct classification is developmental, neurogenic and psychogenic stuttering. It’s crucial to know the differences of symptoms and types because you end up treating the symptoms instead of the real the cause of stuttering. We will get back to the classification later in this post.
In fluent speakers, the left language-dominant brain hemisphere is most active during speech and language tasks. However, early studies on EEG lateralization already strongly suggested abnormal hemispheric dominance (Moore and Haynes 1980) in stutterers.- source
You cannot treat stuttering the same way regardless of the types and causes
Generally, a stuttering type is the enduring characteristics that differentiate one type of stuttering from another. When you set out to conquer you stuttering symptoms you are only battling the tip of the iceberg. Underneath is the real deal that will cause stuttering.
That’s the problem with most courses on how to overcome stuttering. The courses only take care of what is heard, not what lies beneath the surface. The course doesn’t treat the cause of your stuttering.
Stuttering techniques only works here and now
Organizational expert Peter Senge has a take on that:
It’s called shifting the burden. The symptoms of stuttering (repetitions and blocks etc) are immediately handled by a simple solution. This is where the course you follow says: Try holding your breath or try to stutter on purpose. It works here and now, but over time the effect disapears.
The primary cause of your stuttering is not considered because it’s remedy is very demanding and has no immediate outcome. The primary source of the problem is the cause of the stuttering.
Solving your stuttering is the same as talking to people in different ways. Some people like sweet talk and brushing. Other people are more direct. And if you want most out of them, you have to treat them differently.
Stuttering origins – what cause stuttering?
There are 3 causes of stuttering according to research.
When the cause of stuttering is developmental the right hemisphere is more active
This is the most common cause of stuttering. 5 % of children stutter at some point between the ages of 3-8. While most of them recover from stuttering. 1 % never recover before adulthood. This type of stuttering accounts for 80 % of all stutterers. The issue with developmental stuttering is that when it begins, it forms a snowball and becomes more and more serious. In developmental stuttering secondary behaviors are normal.
Whereas fluent controls activated left frontal brain areas involved in language planning before central areas involved in speech execution, this pattern was absent, even reversed, in stutterers. This was the first study to directly show a neuronal correlate of a hypothesized speech timing disorder in stutterers (Van Riper 1982).- source
It’s common in stutterers to attempt to mask and hide his stuttering. This is called secondary behaviors. Ways of doing doing secondary behaviors is avoiding eye contact, limp and head movements when talking, pause between words, avoiding words, and not speaking at all. Social norms play a large role in masking stuttering.