MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Cutting the tongue and stuffing
a dishtowel in a child's mouth were two ways people treated stuttering just
a few decades ago.
We've come a long way since the Stuttering Foundation started
shattering misconceptions about this mysterious disorder 60 years ago.
Today, we know that people who stutter are just as smart as those who
don't, that early intervention in children is the best way to prevent
stuttering, and that there is some preliminary evidence that stuttering is
genetic. Some have suggested that stuttering isn't a very common problem.
However, one percent of the world's population stutters, including more
than 3 million Americans.
"It wasn't such a long time ago that parents were told to remain hands
off when their child began to stutter," says Foundation President Jane
Fraser. "We now know that early intervention with very young children
offers the real key to prevention. This represents a huge change in
thinking about the way we tackle the problem in 2007."
For 60 years, the Foundation has trained clinicians and published
authoritative books and videos for speech therapists and the general
In the 1940s, founder Malcolm Fraser was told that stuttering was "all
in his head." However, current research indicates that there are true
physiological differences between those who stutter and those who don't.
People have long suspected that stuttering ran in families, but thanks
to recent genetic research, we now know this for a fact. Dr. Dennis Drayna
of the NIDCD suggests that genes play a role in as many as 50% of all
people who stutter.
"While the Foundation's ultimate hope during the past 60 years has been
to find a cure, its focus and energies are devoted to providing real help
today for people of all ages," emphasizes Fraser.
For more information and local resources for all 50 states and
worldwide, visit the Stuttering Foundation's Web site at
www.stutteringhelp.org or call 800-992-9392.
Myths About Stuttering
Myth: People who stutter are not smart.
Reality: There is no link whatsoever between stuttering and intelligence.
Myth: Nervousness causes stuttering.
Reality: Nervousness does not cause stuttering. Nor should we assume
that people who stutter are prone to be nervous, fearful, anxious, or shy.
They have the same full range of personality traits as those who do not
Myth: Stuttering can be "caught" through imitation or by hearing
another person stutter.
Reality: You can't "catch" stuttering. No one knows the exact causes of
stuttering, but recent research indicates that family history (genetics),
neuromuscular development, and the child's environment, including family
dynamics, all play a role in the onset of stuttering.
Myth: It helps to tell a person to "take a deep breath before talking,"
or "think about what you want to say first."
Reality: This advice only makes a person more self-conscious, making
the stuttering worse. More helpful responses include listening patiently
and modeling slow and clear speech yourself.
Myth: Stress causes stuttering.
Reality: As mentioned above, many complex factors are involved in the
onset of stuttering. Stress is not the cause, but it can certainly
SOURCE The Stuttering Foundation