The simple answer is YES and NO.
When a child under school age is showing signs of repetitive speech or a difficulty in producing sounds, then there is great hope the answer is YES. Many young children stuttering at age three go on to show no signs of stuttering by school age. However, a significant percentage of children stuttering go on and continue the dysfluency through adolescence and adulthood. With stuttering, the words CURE and AGE go hand in hand.
The Lidcombe Program was developed in Australia for the treatment of preschool age children. The program is initiated by Speech Pathologists with close parental interaction which increases to the point where treatment is mainly carried out by the child’s parents at home. It has been shown that children undergoing treatment are 7-to-8 times more likely to recover from stuttering than a child who has no treatment.
Can adult stuttering be cured?
Most adults who stutter have lived with their speech dysfluency for as long as they can remember. Currently there is no evidence of a permanent cure for stuttering. It is a complex condition with many characteristics affecting each individual in a unique way. There is still no complete answer to what causes stuttering. Most experts agree that it is due to a combination of factors – physiological, neurological, psychological and environmental. The precise ways that these factors operate together is not known; the combination is different from one individual to another. As the effect and manifestations of a dysfluency is very specific to an individual, so are the results of any treatment people decide to undertake.
Various treatments, programs and ‘snake oil cures’ can be sourced. Therapy programs based on the Prolonged Speech technique have been scientifically shown to produce good-to-excellent levels of fluency for some individuals. These therapy methods allow people who stutter (PWS) to manage their fluency rather than provide an ultimate cure. Two therapy programs available are:
- Smooth Speech
These speech fluency programs require individuals to undertake intensive therapy and adaptation of both breathing and articulation. These programs provide intensive therapy designed to reshape the participant’s speech and breathing techniques. Initial results following these programs show high levels of success in relation to rates of stuttering seen following treatment. Success long term depends on the individuals being prepared to:
- Maintain high levels of motivation
- Practise daily at home and seek out other recovering stutterers to practise technique
- Use technique at home
- Seek out cognitive therapy to reinforce the use of technique in the ‘REAL’ world
- Be willing to use technique in ‘REAL-LIFE’ situations.
There is no cure for adult stuttering but various scientifically-based therapies offer people excellent levels of fluency management if they are willing to adopt the technique.
For further information on stuttering, go to www.ezyspeech.com.au