When we talk about fluency, most people automatically think of people that stutter. However, fluency refers to the aspect of speech production surrounding the continuity, smoothness, rate, and effort when producing sounds in conversation. However, there are actually two main types of disorders falling under the umbrella term of fluency disorders, including Stuttering and Cluttering.
Stuttering is the most common fluency disorder, which is the interruption of the flow of speech by repetitions of sounds, syllables, words or phrases. Stuttering also includes other factors that impact the rate and rhythm of speech such as the prolongation of sounds, blocks where no speech is produced, interjections, and revisions. These disfluencies may also be accompanied by other non-verbal characteristics such as physical tension, facial and bodily ticks as well as avoidance of certain speech sounds or speaking situations. The average person may stutter in conversation 1% of the time or less however it becomes a fluency disorder when it occurs more frequently and significantly disrupts communication.
Cluttering is another type of fluency disorder, which is not as well known. It is a disruption in the speech rate caused by rapid or irregular speech rate. This results in an abnormal speech pattern and the reduction of speech clarity. Cluttering often also includes the deletion or collapsing of syllables. For example “I wanwatevision” instead of “I want to watch television”. This may include the omission of word endings, e.g., “turn the televisoff” instead of “turn off the television”. Other characteristics include more typical disfluencies such as revisions, interjections and unexpected pauses outside of their usual grammatical place after commas or at the end of sentences. For example ‘I will go to the (pause) store and buy apples’. Just like stuttering, these symptoms can be normal every now and then. However if they occur frequently and are significantly affecting an individual’s ability to communicate clearly then it falls into the category of a fluency disorder.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have speech pathology related questions, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.