How Can I Stop Stammering? The King's Speech Stammering Inspiration
What is the difference between stammer and stutter?
Stammering and Stuttering. Stuttering and stammering. For those who do not experience this speech impediment, understanding just what it is, and the differences can be quite a mystery. Believe it or not, they are two terms for the same condition.
A stammer is the English term and a stutter is the American term.
What is a stammer?
A stammer (or a stutter) is often defined as a speech disorder, or speech impediment in which the flow of speech is involuntarily altered. As a result, sounds are prolonged and words are repeated. Some call this faulty wiring in the brain.
- What are prolonged sounds? Prolongations are the unnatural lengthening of sounds, for example,"mmmmmmmilk".
- What is repetition? Repetition is the occurence of a particular 'unit of speech'. Whether it be a sound, a word, a phrase or a syllable. For example, "to-to-to-tomorrow".
Like fingerprints no two stammerers are the same and they should be treated as individuals. You also need to remember to see the person, not the stammer. Amazingly, 1% of the world’s population stammer, which equates to approximately 600,000 in the UK, 3 million in the USA and over 200,000 in Australia alone.
Generally speaking stammering usually begins between the ages of three and five, with over 90 per cent of cases evident before the age of eight. One in 20 children will have a stammer at some time, but most recover, with or without help. Only 1% of adults stammer. It is very common for young children to stammer when they are developing speech, however in many cases its departure is as sudden as its onset.
It's four times more common in boys than in girls. In families where a person has a stammer, there's an increased risk that other members will also have the same problem.
Remember that the bulk of the condition is hidden from the listener. Liken it to an iceberg. The physical symptoms make up about 10% of the disorder. The embarrassment, frustration and shame, the other 90%, is hidden below the surface.
The King's Speech
Stammering recently took the spotlight in the "The King's Speech," a period drama which received 12 Academy Award nominations. In its story, is the depiction of King George VI and how he struggled with the condition in the years leading up to World War II.
The King's Speech - Stammering
- LEWIS CARROLL Alice In Wonderland author
- ARISTOTLE Philosopher
- CLAUDIS CAESER Roman Emperor
- ISAAC NEWTON Scientist
- KING GEORGE V1 King of England
- MARILYN MONROE Actress
- THEODORE ROOSEVELT American President
- SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL English Prime Minister
Stammering Success Stories
Researchers remain baffled by how stammering actually begins. Whilst there is no known cure for the condition it has not limited stammerers from succeeding. In fact, the number of stammering success stories is numerous and "The King's Speech" did a wonderful job of bringing to the table the conversations which many families had previously hidden.
One such example is a recently published autobiography by Stuart Nelson, entitled 'Stammer Your Way To Success'. The story of a young boy who suffered the humiliation, bullying, physiological terror and a total lack of self confidence whilst growing up in a Melbourne orphanage yet he was able to reach the highest of heights, succeeding at an international level in the world of Television and Advertising. The story is extraordinarily moving and yet it freely and openly discusses the emotions, fears and successes that can be achieved.
Common Misconceptions About Stammering
Stammering can be “caught” through imitation or by hearing another person stammer
- False: Stammering is not contagious. Genetics, brain development and a child's environment are said to be contributing factors to the development of stammering.
Stress causes stammering
- False: Stress does not cause stammering but it may make things worse when the person is feeling stressed.
Nervousness causes stammering
- False: Stammering and nervousness are not actually related. Being nervous does not cause stammering and stammering does not cause nervousness however those who do stammer may definitely feel nervous and this may exacerbate the situation.
It helps to tell a person to “take a deep breath before talking,” or “think about what you want to say first.”
- False: Giving advice to a stammerer does not help and in particular it will potentially only cause the person to become more self-conscious, resulting in further stammering.
When You Don't Stammer
Did you know that stammerers do not stammer when:
- Taking on a role of 'an other person' in a play
- Talking on an un-connected telephone (yes, a pretend phone)
- Talking to animals or babies
- Talking to themselves
What Increases A Stammer?
- Demands for explanations and being pressured
- Excitement and Confusion
- Talking to an authority figure
- Anxiety and Stress
Is There A Cure For Stammering
Stammering cannot be cured.
Stammering can, however, be controlled to the point where it is virtually undetectable.
Stammering is not a condition that should label you and more importantly if you do stammer, or know someone who does, make sure that their life is not made to be any different from another's. Stammerers have achieved great success and will continue to. With the wonderful depiction of life in 'The King's Speech' and in stories shares in books such as 'Stammer Your Way To Success' there surely will be lot's more open discussions in the years to come.
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Note: content and advice provided is purely based on research; please seek professional advice for any concerns.