The psychological fear extends to the functions of the processes involved in speech like incoordination among respiratory system, vocal cords and the articulatory mechanisms like tongue, palate and lower jaw. The resultant speech is tense and jerky, accompanied with hesitations and stumbling of words.
The extent of stammering varies from mild, moderate to severe and the speaker may use some coping methods to hide the severity of stammering. Usually, the onset of stuttering occurs in early childhood and rarely during adolescence or adulthood.
Stammering: When and Why
As it is said, Stammering is in the mind, not in the mouth, and most of the stammering therapy is targeted towards behavior modification and learning new and so-called normal ways of speaking. But first the speaker needs to relax.
It is well known that stammering occurs more in situations which cause stress in the speaker. Some such situations include:
Answering sudden questions
Answering oral exams
Before exams, during interview, because of fear and tension
During argument or fight
If parents are strict
When over-excited, irritated or agitated
New or unknown environment
Disturbances in the family
If the person is accused of something
Speaking in public
Speaking to person with authority
Stammering occurs less in certain situations:
When relaxed, happy or having achieved something
When speaking to children
When the speaker is assured that listener is attentive to the speaker
With people the speaker is comfortable with
Emotions and Feelings of the Stutterer
Apparently, stammering seems to be a speech disorder, but stammering occurs more in stressful situations, making it a psychological problem. The stressful situation disrupts the fluency and the speaker gets more distressed. In an attempt to stop stammering, even before the stutter actually occurs, there is an increase in the tension built, making the stutter much more obvious. If the speaker accepts this fact, the correction and relaxation becomes much easier.
There are mixed feelings experienced by the stutterer. The person thinks that it is a disgrace to be a stutterer. Further, stutterers are frustrated about not being able to express themselves, present their ideas or even defend themselves. In a gathering, this problem seems to bring in a lot of embarrassment and humiliation. Feelings of helplessness, shame, depression and self-hatred, all happen at the same time. This leads to an inferiority complex and the person withdraws from the public presence.
As observed by the famous speech pathologist Van Riper, The more one stutters, the more he fears certain words and situations. The more he fears the more he stutters. The more he stutters the harder he struggles. The more he struggles, the more penalties he receives, and the greater becomes his fear.
In an effort to reduce this tension, people even take to drinking alcoholic beverages or tranquilizers. However, one needs to understand that the effects are temporary and the side effects can make it worse.
It is time to take charge of emotions by making positive changes in attitudes and feelings, about self and reactions of others. Relaxation can help benefit speech and also general health and well-being. The more relaxed the person is, the less will be the stuttering.