Stuttering in general
Causes of Stuttering
There is no single cause of stuttering, but many different factors that lead to it.
There are two causes that have been proven by science so far. First of all, stuttering can be inherited, which is proven on the basis of statistic data on families. Secondly, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) certain studies have discovered different neurological causes: alterations in the brain (anatomical and functional) lead to a situation where the vital parts for speaking (vocal folds and organs of articulation) can’t be controlled or coordinated properly, thus resulting in stuttering symptoms.
Further causes have not yet been scientifically proven. Concerning the severity and the influence of stuttering on other areas of daily life, the psychological factors play a major role. But this disorder, stress or an experienced trauma is not considered a cause per se. These psychological factors are considered to be reinforcing factors.
The often mentioned “breathing disorders”, “educational errors” or “imitation” have even been scientifically disproved as a cause of stuttering. When communicating with our patients, it is therefore very important for us to point out that parental behavior is not to blame for a person’s stuttering!
Such things as psychological disorders, stress or traumatic experiences are also scientifically refuted as a cause for stuttering. Surely a trauma may be the triggering moment for stuttering, and excitement or stress also influences the severity of stuttering. But there has to be predisposition beforehand (as aforementioned) so that the stuttering can then be triggered.
More detailed information can be found in our literature section.
“Curing” of Stuttering
The topic of “cure” plays a recurring central role in connection with stuttering, as many affected people wish “that it should go away completely”. Although this hope is very understandable, it reaches its practical limits.
While spontaneous remission can still be quite probable in childhood, it decreases significantly with increasing age of the stuttering person. You’ll find statements in the scientific literature that such a remission is possible up to the age of about 10, while other studies set puberty as the final point.
If stuttering persists in adolescence and adulthood, then unfortunately we have to assume that remission is highly unlikely, based on current data. Plainly said, a cure for stuttering does not yet exist!
Therapies for stuttering during childhood focus on remission as a goal, because the window of speech development allowing this. Apart from that, important components of each stuttering therapy should always strengthen the joy of speaking and reduce the behavior of avoidance. A therapy should enable a good handling of stuttering, present a good toolbox for everyday live and of course give the stutterers enough room and time to learn the techniques for a more fluent speech. But whether the stuttering “goes away completely” or not, lies not only in the hands of a therapy, but depends on numerous accompanying factors (see above).
Even for adolescents and adults, a cure via therapy-only is not yet known and thus not considered realistic. A stuttering therapy gives affected persons an opportunity to better control their speech and to speak more fluently, it enables a self-confident way to deal with stuttering, but nonetheless in most cases stuttering will always be a part of life.
Therefore, despite the considerable successes, the Kassel Stuttering Therapy can’t and doesn’t promise a cure. On the basis of today’s data, that would simply be wrong and untrustworthy! Nevertheless, we can promise you a more fluent speech with more speech control and (self-) confidence.
Immediately after their therapy, most affected people usually have a phase of very good speech control and high confidence. But for us at the KST Institute the decisive factor is not only this short-term success. For us it is crucial to give people the long-term effectiveness of the therapy and the practicability of the learned techniques in everyday life. This lifelong success and ongoing result of the therapy is what we’re aiming for, that’s why our aftercare is an important building block in our therapy concept of the Kassel Stuttering Therapy.
A short-term success most often only results in a short-term “bridging” of the speech flow disorders. This is of course relatively easy to achieve through special breathing techniques, but has no sustainability. On the basis of such techniques only, we can’t objectively see a sustainable improvement for the stutterer and thus we do not speak of a successful therapy. Although these techniques and tools should be part of any concept aiming seriously for a sustainable result.
More about “Therapy Successes” can be found in “Successes”.