Stuttering – What is stuttering or Disfemia

Stuttering is a break in normal speech, such as repetition of words, syllables or sounds (example: “Ve ve ve ve will you go go please help me?”) or prolongations (example: “S___usanne”). It could also be that it’s so difficult to get the word out that speech stops completely. Blocking. Blocking means that the vocal cords, tongue or lips tighten too much and completely or partially close off the passage of airflow.

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Sometimes you can see accompanying movements such as stomping on the floor or facial twitching. You may also hear the voice rising. Sometimes a child who stutters gets upset and gives up trying to speak. Some stutter quite easily and therefore speak relatively effortlessly, while others may find it extremely difficult to produce words. Stuttering starts as a speech problem but can also develop into other problems such as speech anxiety, low self-esteem and confidence and insecurity in social situations.

What distinguishes stuttering from normal speech is the perception of lack of control. The WHO defines stuttering as: “…a disorder of speech rhythm in which the person knows exactly what he wants to say, but at a given moment is unable to do so because of an involuntary repetition, prolongation or blocking of a sound”. Stuttering is thought to be caused by many factors.

The interplay between heredity, psychosocial and spoken language factors is crucial to how speech, language and communication develop. Some research suggests that there is a certain hereditary predisposition to stuttering. It is said that stuttering “runs in families”. The likelihood of stuttering among close relatives (i.e. parents, children, siblings) is three times higher than the general population risk.


For men who stutter, studies show that 9% of their daughters and 22% of their sons will become stutterers, while for women who stutter, 17% of their daughters and 36% of their sons will become stutterers.

It can be said that there are no hard and fast rules for whether a child will start to stutter even if they have a close relative who stutters, and that many factors other than predisposition and genetics play a role in the onset and development of stuttering. during their speech-language development, many children go through a period of very non-fluent speech. This is most pronounced between the ages of 2-5, when language is developing rapidly. And it’s during this period that stuttering most often begins. Studies show that between 4-5% of children stutter during this period. Many spontaneously stop stuttering, but not all.

For some children, stuttering worsens and can develop into a dominant problem in their lives. It is therefore important that the best possible support for the child and the environment is put in place early on. More boys than girls stutter. Researchers report between 2:1 and 6:1 depending on the age groups studied. The difference is smaller in the youngest children, and almost as many girls as boys start stuttering. It is estimated that 0.7-1% of the adult population stutter. Gavin Andrews et al (1983), based on various studies, calculated the prognosis for stuttering as follows:

  • 25% of 4-year-old children who stutter will still stutter when they are 16 years old.
  • 50% of 6-year-old children who stutter still stutter by the age of 16.
  • 75% of 10-year-olds who stutter will still stutter by the age of 16.

The Special Education Act states that children whose development is at risk of being hampered by language or speech difficulties have the right to receive education, and their parents and institutions have the right to receive guidance. Education is provided by the municipalities’ pedagogical-psychological counseling services, commonly referred to as PPR, if you are between 0-18 years old. In some cases, the PPR office chooses to refer to speech institutes/communication centers, which are sometimes a municipal institution, sometimes a regional one. Here, young people and adults over the age of 18 are also offered education/logopedic stuttering treatment. In the last 10-15 years, a lot has happened in the field of stuttering in Denmark.

Many PPR offices and speech institutes/communication centers have in recent years built up solid knowledge about stuttering and how to treat it. However, there are differences in the scope of the various offers around the country. Some municipalities and regions offer extensive counseling, guidance and treatment, and for a number of years they have gathered good and positive experience in both early intervention and treatment of stutterers in all age groups. In other municipalities and regions, the services are not as extensive.

See the reports on regional and municipal services in the stuttering area. Advice, guidance and treatment are free of charge and are primarily provided by speech therapists, and in some parts of the country psychologists also participate in the work. For many years, it has been good practice to wait and see when a child began to stutter. This is probably because many of the children spontaneously stopped stuttering again. Unfortunately, the “wait and see” attitude also meant that those who continued to stutter were often abandoned or received poor help. Stuttering became a taboo subject.

Many of these children went on to have problems in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. There are still many examples of parents being told to wait and see, but this attitude is not prevalent among professionals working with stuttering. Despite the difficulty in distinguishing between normal non-fluent speech and stuttering in preschoolers, early intervention is key in the treatment of stuttering. Early, according to many specialists, means: as soon as possible and no later than six months after the onset of stuttering! One of the most important criteria for early intervention is parental concern about the child’s speech. Studies show that the reactions of those around you to stuttering can be vital in determining whether stuttering stops or gets worse. If parents are unsure or worried about stuttering, or if their child struggles to say the words or reacts to stuttering by, for example, making up other words or remaining silent, there are good reasons to contact the speech therapist at the child’s school or PPR office.

The purpose of early intervention is for parents to learn about stuttering and how to deal appropriately with a child who stutters. It may also be that the child can benefit from direct stuttering treatment. All to prevent stuttering from developing into a debilitating communication disability. It’s never too late to get treatment for stuttering! Many parents wonder if they are to blame for their child stuttering. It’s not the parent’s fault that their child stutters, but – parents have a big influence on how stuttering develops. That’s why it’s important to know how to respond. Show that there is plenty of time for the conversation. A child needs enough time to express themselves.

Show interest in what the child is saying rather than just noticing the stuttering. Don’t give advice. Don’t say “take it easy” or “start again”. Don’t ask too many questions. Adults often talk to children by asking questions: “What did you do today” or “can you tell me…” etc. Questions are difficult. They demand answers here and now, and the questioner controls the conversation.

It’s much easier and more fun if you can say whatever you want to say. The adult can comment or talk about the day’s experiences, and then the child is likely to start talking themselves. Keep eye contact. We usually look at each other when we talk to each other. That way we can check if the other person is listening. It’s important for the child to get feedback. Some people look away when talking to a child who stutters because they think it’s a shame or embarrassing. They think it helps the child to look away, but this is not the case, quite the opposite.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your child about stuttering. Show acceptance of the child’s way of speaking when you can see that they are struggling with words. For example, say: “I can hear that it’s difficult for you now”. Be a good speech model: Speak slowly and use simple sentences. The adult is always a speech model for the child. It is important for the child to hear how stuttering is talked about to others. It is reassuring to know what others know. Therefore: Always speak naturally and positively about stuttering.

Give others good advice on how to deal with it. Talk openly about the fact that your child currently stutters and that it can sometimes be difficult to talk. Therefore, listen and wait until the child has finished speaking with good eye contact. If in doubt about how to respond, those around you should ask the parents instead of guessing. (Source: Danish science for stuttering)

*Hypnosis therapy can be a good and effective tool to get rid of the stuttering problem. In the hypnosis trance, you are able to get deep down and find the root of the problem. With the right therapy and on good terms, the client will get the problem solved in a good and comfortable way. Nothing comes out of nowhere.

Book an appointment with Shinhypnosis and get help to get rid of your stuttering.

*We emphasize that hypnosis and treatments do not guarantee recovery from stuttering and that results may vary from person to person.

What is disfemia?

Disfemia is the professional term for stuttering. Disfemia is when a person experiences breaks in normal speech where repetitions of words, syllables or sounds characterize speech. The person may find it difficult to get the words out and that there is a form of blockage.

Why do people stutter?

There can be several reasons why someone stutters. It is often a combination of heredity, psychosocial and spoken language factors. There is some research suggesting that stuttering can run in families, but there are no guarantees that children inherit it from their parents.

Is stuttering persistent?

If you don’t intervene early when you discover your child has stuttering, or you have it yourself, it can persist for many years. The older you are when you start treating stuttering, the more years it will persist.

Can hypnosis help with stuttering?

For most people, hypnosis is a good and effective tool if you want to get rid of stuttering. With the hypnosis trance, you have the opportunity to get deep down and find the core of the problem. With the right therapy and on good terms, you as a client will get the problem solved in a comfortable way.

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