Fluency Disorders/Stuttering and Cluttering)

Stuttering is a disorder characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called “disfluencies”. Stuttering is a communication disorder in which sounds, syllables, or words are repeated (li-li-like), prolonged (lllllike this),or speech may completely stop (blocking). Blocking is when the mouth is positioned to say a sound, sometimes for several seconds, with little or no sound coming out. After some attempts, the person may complete the word.Interjections such as “um” or “like” can occur, as well, particularly when they contain repeated (“u- um- um”) or prolonged (“uuuum”) speech sounds or when they are used intentionally to delay the initiation of a word the speaker expects to “get stuck on.” These disfluencies disrupt  the normal flow of speech. There may also be secondary behaviors such as: rapid eye blinks, tremors of the lips, unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak.   Stuttering can make it difficult to communicate with other people, which often affects a person’s quality of life.

Cluttering (also called tachyphemia) is a communication disorder characterized by speech that is difficult for listeners to understand due to rapid speaking rate, erratic rhythm, poor syntax or grammar, and words unrelated to the sentence. Speech sounds like bursts that are filled with misarticulations and disfluencies. The person with cluttering may experience a short attention span, poor concentration, poorly organized thinking, inability to listen, and a lack of awareness that his or her speech is unintelligible.

Stuttering is a speech disorder and cluttering is language disorder. A stutterer knows what he or she wants to say, but can’t say it; in contrast, a clutterer can say what he or she is thinking, but his or her thinking becomes disorganized during speaking.

Stutterers are usually disfluent on initial sounds, when beginning to speak, and become more fluent towards the ends of utterances. In contrast, clutterers are most clear at the start of utterances, but their speaking rate increases and intelligibility decreases towards the end of utterances.

Stuttering is characterized by struggle behavior, such as overtense speech production muscles. Cluttering, in contrast, is effortless.

Cluttering is also characterized by slurred speech, especially dropped or distorted /r/ and /l/ sounds; and monotone speech that starts loud and trails off into a murmur.

Clutterers often also have reading and writing disorders, especially handwriting.

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