National Stuttering Awareness Day breaks down stigma around speech impairment

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- October 22nd marks National Stuttering Awareness Day, and the Center for Hearing and Speech is working to educate the  St. Louis area on the truth about stuttering. Chief Speech-Language Pathologist Gina Cato discussed with FOX 2 this morning that stuttering is often surrounded by a number of misconceptions.

People stutter in many different ways. For example, while some people repeat sounds while talking, other individuals who stutter have silent blocks that cause hesitations and gaps in their speech. Society has developed a stereotypical perception of stuttering, Cato explained, and this misunderstanding can often lead to a misdiagnosis from the public. In the end, it is important to remember that stuttering is simply the disruption of fluent speech. And no matter how an individual may stutter, individualized treatment is available to help overcome these obstacles.

Some of the techniques taught during therapy that improve fluency usually involve reducing rate of speech and/or tension.  Just telling someone to “relax” or “slow down” usually does not help. In fact, some people who stutter actually learn to “stutter on purpose” as a therapy technique.  This is one technique that can help reduce tension in the throat or mouth during stuttering moments.

The Center for Hearing and Speech offers speech evaluations and therapy for individuals of all ages. Financial scholarships are also available.