Sunday, May 6, 2012

National Stuttering Awareness Week


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By Diane Forrest, RN

In 2011 there was a movie that not only won 4 Academy Awards, One for Best Movie, Best Director, Best Male Actor and Original Screen Play, but also won another 76 awards and was nominated for 99.  This movie was The King's Speech.  It was the story how the King of England, King George VI had a speech impediment and how he worked with a therapist to correct his problem to become a more effective ruler.

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King George was not the first ruler to have had a speech impediment; in fact this is a problem that runs in families.   Other Rulers include King Charles I, King James II, and even the current Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II.

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Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak. Stuttering is also referred to as stammering.

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There are four factors most likely to contribute to the development of stuttering: genetics (approximately 60% of those who stutter have a family member who does also); child development (children with other speech and language problems or developmental delays are more likely to stutter); neurophysiology (recent neurological research has shown that people who stutter process speech and language slightly differently than those who do not stutter); and family dynamics (high expectations and fast-paced lifestyles can contribute to stuttering). Stuttering may occur when a combination of factors comes together and may have different causes in different people. It is probable that what causes stuttering differs from what makes it continue or get worse.  A friend of mine fell from a chair with a spoon in his mouth at a young age.  This accident cause a large cut on his tongue, and that resulted a period of stuttering for him.  However, with the help of his family and sisters, he was able to overcome this problem.

There are no instant miracle cures for stuttering. Therapy, electronic devices, and even drugs are not an overnight process. However, a specialist in stuttering can help not only children but also teenagers, young adults and even older adults make significant progress toward fluency.

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Approximately 3 million Americans stutter, some of the more recognized include:  James Earl Jones, Marylin Monroe, Bruce Willis, Mel Tillis, Tiger Woods, Vice President Joe Biden, Winston Churchill, Elvis Presley, Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton to name a few.

This week in National Stuttering Awareness Week!  To learn how you can help visit this site: http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4

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