Counseling, Support, And Advocacy for Clients Who Stutter.

For most people, speaking is as natural as breathing. However, 1 percent of adults and 3 percent of children in the world who stutter cannot take fluency of speech for granted (Bloodstein, 1993). Fluency refers to the effortless flow, rate, rhythm, and patterns of stress and intonation in speech production. Fluency disorders may be caused by cerebral accidents, Tourette’s syndrome, and other medical conditions, but the most common fluency disorder is stuttering (Cooper, 1997). Stuttering is characterized by disrupted synchrony of respiration, phonation, and articulation and is usually accompanied by excessive muscular tension (Hulit, 1996). On average, three times as many males as females stutter (Bloodstein, 1993). The listener is apt to perceive a speech disfluency as stuttering when the speaker repeats a sound or syllable, prolongs a sound, makes an unusual pause between sounds or syllables of a word, or repeats a monosyllable word. Perception is the operative word; a determination of overt stuttering is therefore based on the listener’s interpretation of the sounds, words, or phrases that are vocalized (Conture, 1990).

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