Cluttering, also known as stuttering, isn’t cute on an adult although we have to admit that it’s the cutest thing on a toddler. Indeed, social difficulties are among the challenges that people with cluttering issues face starting in their tween years! These issues become even more pronounced, if not more painful on many levels, during the adult years when cluttering becomes a deterrent in one’s romantic pursuits, professional advancement, and personal happiness.
But there’s neither reason nor excuse to let cluttering have adverse effects on your adult life! You should seek speech therapy as soon as possible. You will be able to correct your rapid and irregular speaking rate, among other symptoms, so that your communication skills become significantly better.
Get a Definitive Diagnosis First
Before considering any type of treatment for your speech issues, you should first get a definitive diagnosis from a speech language pathologist. While there are definitive markers for cluttering, many of its signs and symptoms can also be attributed to other speech disorders.
The speech therapist will likely need two or more sessions to make a definitive diagnosis, as well as make consultations with other professionals like neuropsychologists, psychologists, and special education teachers. Your issues may be rooted in physical and psychological causes thus the wholistic approach is often necessary.
Seek Professional Treatment
In general, treatment for cluttering addresses the underlying issues and/or the contributing factors for it, mainly on the factors that contribute to fluency. For this reason, every treatment is customized to the person, especially as adults have different priorities in treatment.
In typical cases, nonetheless, the first goal is the reduction of the speaking rate, a relatively challenging goal for a person with cluttering issues. You may, for example, respond well to a delayed auditory feedback device in timing your speech rate but another may not do so well.
You may, on the other hand, be less responsive to the speedometer approach. Basically, the speech therapist uses the speedometer analogy – if you exceed the “speed limit” in your speech rate, you will be given “speeding tickets” for doing so. You may be asked to deliberately pause when talking and assisted in finding the appropriate pauses in between words and sentences.
You and your speech therapist will also apply other appropriate techniques aside from slowing down your rate of speech. These include working on your phrasing and pausing, working on over-articulation, and shortening your sentences. Since speech starts in your brain, you will also work on your relaxation and awareness of your speech.
Even when you have reached your speaking goals, you should seriously consider maintenance speech therapy for many reasons. You can lapse back into your old patterns of speech without realizing it! You can decrease the number of therapy sessions but it’s important to continue with it until you and your speech therapist have agreed that cluttering isn’t an issue for you anymore.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
Hearing Aid Prescription, and Speech Therapy