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Understanding Stuttering

Understanding Stuttering

Nathan Lavid
Copyright Date: 2003
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  • Book Info
    Understanding Stuttering
    Book Description:

    Stuttering is an affliction that affects every ethnicity and every culture equally, some sixty million people worldwide. Five percent of children stutter. Typically this debilitating condition emerges when a child is between the ages of two and six. Twenty percent of these children will continue to stutter as adults.

    Although it is so pervasive, there is great misunderstanding about stuttering. Socially isolating those it strikes, the disorder prevents them from the kind of candid discussions that would help them gain an understanding of it. In turn, social isolation creates misconceptions.

    InUnderstanding Stutteringa writer who is both a practicing physician and former researcher on stuttering examines the medical roots of the problem and, hoping to bring alleviation, shares his findings.

    He defines stuttering as a medical condition that is neurologically based or inherited. In clear language he explains the basics of brain anatomy and function, tells of the latest scientific advances in diagnosis and treatment of stuttering, and explains the difference in acquired stuttering and Tourette syndrome. Using examples from his practice, he details effective treatments, including speech therapy and medications.

    He discusses the most promising new research and tells how the findings of this research will improve treatments and provide a possible cure.

    Understanding Stutteringconcludes with practical tips on how to converse with those who stutter and lists organizations that provide additional information and support.

    Nathan Lavid, a former faculty member at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, is in private psychiatric practice in southern California.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-043-2
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-2)

    The aim of this book is to present stuttering from a medical viewpoint and discuss effective treatment in layman terms. Recent advances reveal that stuttering is a genetic, brain-based condition that can be successfully treated.

    The book begins with explanations of how the medical condition of stuttering differs from the stuttering that affects us all. After defining what stuttering is, the population that is affected is presented. How stuttering presents in children, who is more likely to recover, and the associations of acquired stuttering and Tourette syndrome are discussed. Next, basic brain anatomy and function and how the brain processes...

  5. 1. Stuttering Defined
    (pp. 3-10)

    The first step in understanding stuttering is to differentiate the occasional stuttering we all experience from the medical condition of stuttering. Stuttering is a generic term that describes speech that does not follow normal, conventional rhythm. In this sense, we all stutter. When we are speaking too fast, angry, confused, nervous, surprised, or at a loss for words, we get “tongue-tied” and stutter. Over one hundred different muscles in the speech apparatus need to contract or lengthen with some synchronicity to speak without error. This complexity increases when breathing patterns are taken into account. Considering intricacies of speech production, it...

  6. 2. Who Stutters?
    (pp. 11-19)

    Developmental stuttering strikes children, typically emerging between the ages of two and six, and may continue throughout adulthood. Many successful and famous people have been afflicted with the condition. A short list includes writers Lewis Carroll and Somerset Maugham; moncarchs such as King George VI of England and King Louis II of France; scientists Robert Boyle and Erasmus Darwin; British mathematician Alan Turing, who created the theoretical model on which the modern computer is based and who deciphered the Nazi Enigma code during World War II; actress Marilyn Monroe; and contemporary figures such as country and western singer Mel Tillis,...

  7. 3. The Biology of Stuttering
    (pp. 20-45)

    Developmental stuttering is a genetic, brain-based condition. However, this understanding is only a recent phenomenon. Up until as late as the nineteenth century, a diseased tongue was considered the cause. For example, Biblical scholars believe that Moses stuttered and the book of Exodus (4:10) recounts how Moses was “slow of tongue.” In the Midrashim, a collection of Talmudic stories, Moses’ stutter is attributed to the burning of his tongue when he was a young boy. Ancient Greek and Roman physicians believed that developmental stuttering was caused by excessive moisture or dryness of the tongue. The famous Roman physician Galen (131–...

  8. 4. Treatments for Stuttering
    (pp. 46-68)

    There is no easy way, with present diagnostic techniques, to diagnose developmental stuttering in young children. Consequently, it is difficult to determine when it is appropriate to refer children for treatment. On one hand, one wants to make sure all children who need treatment receive it, and on the other hand, one does not want to cause unneeded worry and expense to families. Achieving this balance is not a science but an art. This art requires face-to-face evaluation with the family and is the reason to seek treatment advice from a professional.

    Once a definitive diagnosis of developmental stuttering is...

  9. 5. Searching for a Cure
    (pp. 69-76)

    The cure for developmental stuttering will arise from a better understanding of the brain processes that mediate the condition. The two most promising investigative fields are neuroimaging and molecular genetics. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a revolutionary neuroimaging tool that provides the most detailed information on brain functioning; molecular genetics is the study of how genes operate at the molecular level. Researchers worldwide are applying the latest advances in each of these fields in search of a cure.

    fMRI is the functional application of MRI. Unlike the structural images of MRI, which are obtained from magnetized hydrogen atoms, fMR...

  10. Appendix A: How to Converse with Children and Adults Who Stutter
    (pp. 77-78)
  11. Appendix B: Sources of Additional Information
    (pp. 79-80)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 81-81)
  13. Glossary
    (pp. 82-86)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 87-96)
  15. Index
    (pp. 97-99)