Fluency Disorders (Stuttering and Rapid Speech - Balbuties & Cluttering)

Stuttering is a speech disorder that is characterised by frequent repetitions of sounds or syllables, single words, prolonged sounds and/or blockages. This means that secondary behaviours may occur, such as ticks (excessive blinking and/or unwanted head and/or limb movements).

Stuttering usually occurs between 2 and 5 years of age. According to available statistical data, stuttering occurs in 2.4% of pre-school age children and 1% of school-age children and is more common for boy than girls.

The exact cause of stuttering is not known. Family studies have shown that there is a genetic predisposition to develop stammering, but the environmental impact that ‘triggers’ stuttering (a stressful event for a child) cannot be ignored. It has also been shown that boys are more likely to develop a persistent stutter than girls who are more likely to recover faster (3:1 in school-age children). Some of the predictive factors in recovery from stuttering include: the early onset of stuttering (3 years ago), good language, phonological and non-verbal skills, being female and no previous family history. Stuttering is more common in children with poorer language skills, language processing (sound processing), rhythm monitoring disorders, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The problem of stuttering greatly affects the social and psychological development of a child, so it is important to react in a timely manner and provide assistance.

Rapid speech is a dysfunction in speech fluency that characterises in too-rapid, non-rhythmic speech segments followed by inappropriate pauses or mispronunciation of syllables or their omission and excessive normal fluctuations (Belić et al, 2015, according to St. Louis and Schulte, 2011). Rapid speech is characterised by reduced consciousness of the disorder, reduced concern for the aforementioned problem, and there may be poorer language skills, poorly intelligible speech, articulation disorders and attention problems and the like.