By Allison Elium, M.A., CCC-SLP
During National Stuttering Awareness Week, I aim to empower and advocate for people who stutter, as well as educate the general public about stuttering in general.
Today, I'd like to spread awareness about neurogenic stuttering, a type of stuttering that is not often discussed. You've likely heard of developmental stuttering or childhood-onset stuttering, but did you know that stuttering can develop late into adulthood? Neurogenic stuttering typically occurs after an injury or disease to the central nervous system, presenting in people who have never stuttered previously.
One of my current clients was open to sharing his story here to help spread awareness. At 79, he began experiencing neurogenic stuttering due to Parkinson's. Here is his story:
"One year ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson's and launched into a program to slow the progression of the disease. I experienced a succession of symptoms and worked with my neurology team on a combination of medication and physical therapy which has produced good results. But I then acquired the symptom of stuttering. This proved to be very embarrassing in casual conversations with friends and family. I sought speech therapy in the hopes of learning about techniques for coping with the condition. I have not been disappointed. I learned about the “Hard attack” and the “Easy onset of vocalization.” The techniques of stop and reset combined with easy onset has proven to be very helpful to me and has helped in the restoration of my confidence to speak in public."
For more information about neurogenic stuttering, please refer to the Stuttering Foundation. If you or a loved one has a sudden onset of stuttering following a stroke, injury, or degenerative disease; please speak with your doctor, neurologist, and speech-language pathologist to determine a diagnosis and receive help.
Allison Elium, MA, CCC-SLP is the owner of Wildflower Speech Therapy, PLLC, a private speech therapy practice in Austin, Tx. Allison specializes primarily in stuttering and speech disorders in children and adults. Read more about her approach here.