On this page, you can find brief descriptions of stammering, cluttering and some other fluency disorders. If you have any concerns about your own speech or that of a loved one, you are welcome to contact us to find out how speech therapy can help.
Stammering (or stuttering as it is known in American English) is an involuntary speech behaviour, characterised by disruptions and stoppages in the forward flow of speech. It is typical that stammering varies from situation-to-situation and over time. It is ok to stammer and many people do, indeed, live well with stammering. Others, however, may experience stammering as a hindrance, ranging from a minor irritation or frustration to a significant burden, emotionally, socially or physically.
Stammering often begins in childhood, most commonly between the ages of 2 -5 years, when it is described as developmental stammering. Developmental stammering usually resolves over time, either with or without therapy. However, for some, stammering continues into adulthood and throughout life. There are also some conditions which can lead to the onset of stammering in adulthood.
The term 'cluttering' gives some clues as to how cluttered speech sounds. Cluttered speech can be difficult for the listener to understand. It may include some or all of the following features: sounds fast, jerky or disorganised, syllables or sounds are omitted or seem squashed together, unusual patterns of pausing, no clear 'thread' to the story or conversation.
Cluttering may be present whenever the person speaks or may only be present sometimes. Some people who clutter are unaware of their speech patterns, whereas others are very aware of their challenges, and still others may be aware that something is hampering their conversations with others without knowing quite what that 'something' is.
Just as with stammering, cluttering is more than just the physical speech symptoms. Some people who clutter cope well with the challenges, whereas others may experience negative social and emotional effects.
Cluttering is present from childhood, but may often not be diagnosed until later in life.
Other speech dysfluencies
Speech dysfluencies, such as hesitations, pauses and revisions, are a normal feature of speech and cause brief disruptions to the forward flow of speech. Normal dysfluencies tend to feel comfortable for both the speaker and the listener. There are other conditions or situations which may give rise to either an unusually high number of normal speech dysfluencies or to less typical forms of speech dysfluency. If you are concerned about speech dysfluencies, a speech therapist can offer advice and help.