Stammering affects 1% of the UK population, 5% of children up to the age of five will stammer at some point in their speech and language development. For stammerers, who struggle with their words and find it difficult to do something that most fluent speakers take for granted, it can be extremely stressful. So how can we reduce this ‘stammering stress’?
It’s natural for a child to stumble over their words when learning how to speak. Some experts believe that when they are put under too much pressure to speak fluently they may feel a certain amount of stress - as they are caught between the need to put words together in their own time and pressure from significant others. This unwanted speaking stress can be harmful to a child’s confidence and have a knock-on effect on other aspects of their personality development.
There is also growing evidence to suggest that stress and traumatic events suffered by a child, especially up to the age of seven, can have a major influence on their ‘emotional state’. As the child grows, this emotional state is crucial to speech and language development. If they go through more traumatic events or too much environmental stress then it will become very important for them to find an outlet for their emotions and a way to express themselves freely, or these higher stress levels may affect their speech.
Stammering in adulthood
It has long been understood that when a child enters adolescence with a stammer they would go on to stammer for the rest of their lives. This may be the case but the severity of the stammer can be greatly reduced by looking back at the events in childhood that undermined the child’s confidence and caused the stammer in the first place.
The key to reducing stammering stress lies in using physical techniques that allow for better speech but more importantly, to build self-confidence by releasing harmful negative emotions from past traumatic events. When we eliminate the negative emotion from those memories that we think about from time to time and those we can’t stop thinking about magic happens - we free ourselves from those past hurts. We can then begin to think about ourselves in a more confident light and the result is a reduction in speaking stress. As someone with a moderate stammer only a few years ago, this is what happened to my own speech and it continues to get better the more confident I become. It’s never too late to start improving one’s speech.
Published by Hove StressBusters